More from Motoring

Much has been said about the unity of motorcyclists. The spirit of biking brotherhood (sisterhood, too) allows a multitude of like-minded individuals to come together over a common cause. I’d use the word ‘religion’, but I don’t like the implications it brings with it. The more motorcycles there are, the stronger the group, and this phenomenon has spread across India. The invincible solidarity of a motorcycle group is as sacrosanct as anything can get, and nothing can affect it. At least that’s how it appears from a distance. However, the more time you spend around motorcycles and the people who ride them, the more you see how perceptions and opinions vary, and how they transform into judgements
and differences.

The need to belong to a specific unit is bound to foster some sort of unfavourable reaction to other factions. It’s human nature, after all. Religions, countries, even football clubs — it’s most likely that people who divide themselves into these groups and fight over them just don’t get it, and it’s a shame. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are people, too, although the divisions they make among themselves are much less fatal than the ones mentioned above. Nonetheless, the truth remains that difference is the only unity in the spirit of biking brotherhood.

Cruisers are often the butt of all slow jokes

Cruiser-bound riders are the butt of all slow-jokes by the crotch-rocket brigade, even though the superbikers’ tyres might have chicken strips the size of poultry farms. Iron Butt-adventurer-types scoff at those who go around in circles on a racetrack, claiming that their substantial odometer readings are the real measure of riding. Anyone who’s bought a bike that costs more than Rs 5 lakh somehow gets a factory-fitted accessory that enables looking down upon the 150cc crowd. Elsewhere, motorcycle riders never fail to point out how scooterists have nothing between their legs. And, as usual, Royal Enfield riders are made fun of by everybody else.

I don’t have a problem with people calling each other names. In fact, I quite enjoy watching folks deprived of any useful amount of grey matter having a go at each other. What gets my mind overheated, though, is when these ‘hardcore bikers’ start saying unwarranted things about motorcycles. Calling motorcycles
names is the stupidest thing a motorcyclist can do. A motorcycle is only as capable as its rider, and these hardcore-types would do well to let that sink in a bit. Buying a Ducati Panigale does not make one a WSBK champion.

Motorcycling is about having fun with them

Motorcycling isn’t about ‘belonging’ to a bunch of people — it’s about belonging to motorcycles, learning what each kind has to offer, and having fun with them.
Having said that, I must also state that riding in a group can be a lot of fun. Anything to do with riding a motorcycle is bound to be. However, more often than not, motorcyclists who truly get along rarely belong to ‘groups’ or ‘clubs’. The only time riding in a bunch makes sense to me is if you’re a motorcycle racer who has to beat the rest to the finish line and rub their faces in it. And — if you exclude the competitive aspect of racing — the level of focus and concentration makes it one of the purest forms of riding. Rolling along towards the horizon on a cruiser and kicking up a rooster tail in the dirt is the same, too. Because, in the
end, whether you’re on a track, a highway or a trail, the truth remains the same — it’s just you and your motorcycle, and there isn’t a greater unity than that.