My Way IS the Highway

Bullet

Ever since man invented the wheel, he has been passionate about it. That passion has manifested in different people in different ways. Some people are head-over-heels with their cars while others swear by their motorbikes.

I haven’t been untouched by this passion. Since childhood, I used to love motorbikes. As I grew older and could discern different models from each other, I realised that my heart lay in Royal Enfield’s Bullet.

My grandfather rode it when he was in the British army, my dad rode it in his youth, and I was adamant to carry the tradition forward.

So I bought myself a top-of-the line Bullet. Bullet Machismo 350. And that’s when I became a Bulleteer.

Unlike the lower models whose thump is too loud and annoying, Machismo’s thump is just right and sounds music to the ears (okay, I may be a little biased here). Listen carefully and you can hear the sound of tappets, the chain rolling, the silencer thumping, all rolled into one smooth melody. Powerful, yet sophisticated.

Its been 5 years since I have been riding her and I have been maintaining her rather well as you can see in this picture. My neighbours see me spending half an hour every morning cleaning and scrubbing it before I leave for work. Once an elderly neighbour finally walked up to me and said, “You take care of it as if it were your son-in-law” (Indian tradition has it that son-in-laws were really respected and cared for). I responded with, “No, I take care of it as if it were my WIFE”!

And my relationship with my Bullet has been like that. We have taken care of each other well and, occasionally, like a real wife, she has hurt me (I have two burn marks on my leg caused by its silencer) and has been burning a hole in my pocket (with rising fuel costs and frequent maintenance)! But, overall, I am quite content with her.

Unlike those who race their plastic toy bikes on the roads to derive pleasure, I simply ride it at an easy speed because the ride IS the pleasure. As I once read on some social network page on Bullet, “You may zip ahead on your toy bike. Your girl still can’t take her eyes off me“. Riding it slowly one feels like a king for whom the peasantry gives way and the commoners turn their heads to get a glimpse of the majestic.

Of late, I converted her to a single-seater as the rear seat has rarely been used in the past 5 years. And a single-seater Bullet looks all the more beautiful.

Given my passion for engines and everything mechanical, I have been trying to tinker with it in order to keep it ship-shape. As a result, I have become friends with a lot of repair shops around as I keep asking them about the Bullet’s internal mechanics.

Most of the roads in New Delhi being chock-a-block with traffic, I relish the early morning ride to Gurudwara every Sunday as I can always enjoy the open roads and the cool weather. Tomorrow being a Sunday, I am already looking forward to the ride. And I am hoping to ride the recently opened highway from New Delhi to Agra soon. If its even close to what is being said about it in news, I am sure I am going to love it.

This blog post won’t be complete without mentioning an incident that happened about two years ago. I was riding along the Upper Ridge road when I realised another rider on my wing. Both of us looked at each other’s ride, admired it, and then gave each other a thumbs up almost synchronously. My ride: Bullet Machismo 350. His, ditto.

Ride on, my friend.

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