MINDREVVIN’ by Amit Chhangani
Biking is a potion that can keep you young forever. A recent ride sent me 8 years back in time…
Ah, that sweet, throbby note of the punchy Fiero engine. No sound in the world is as sonorous – I can feel the pulse of the first love of my life as she breathes. As I shift my weight across the breadth of that narrow seat while riding to Pachgani, I feel like a mushy teenager, going all gooey in his heart. Someone seems to have wiped 8 years off my life. I am once again the 19 year old reckless teenage lad hanging off his bike who never had a worry in the world. There’s hardly any grip on those skinny tyres, but do I care? I am going all nostalgic as I climb up the curvy road. This is the same road I brought my childhood friend for a ride to when I first came to Pune. It was raining as heavily as it is raining today and I almost crashed into the valley while charging downhill overenthusiastically. Nothing seems to have changed. The bends are still as inviting, the tar still as smooth, the bike doesn’t seem to have aged a day, nor do I. Can’t figure where I had lost my real self for so long – it suddenly feels so special to be alive.
We are riding for the cover story of the inaugural issue of Motoroids2. The conditions are perilous, and the weather unrelenting. We are drenched in water head-to-toe and frozen to the spine. None of us have a fancy, fast bike under his bum, nor are we on a record bashing run. There isn’t really a big purpose to this ride, but isn’t that the point? Does there really need to be one?
We’re riding just for the heck of it and loving every moment of it. And that’s the real essence of biking – experiencing something inexplicably ecstatic in something that appears so trivial and usual from outside the helmet. The agitation within me that has been chewing me up for years together seems to have been laid to rest. The inference is simple – biking is a therapy. It’s a liberating, soothing, intoxicating exercise. If you have not ridden for long, just pick your bike up on any given day, rainy or sunny, kick it alive and ride it for as long as your body allows. You would somehow find some sense in my words.
After climbing up the beautiful windy road leading to Mahabaleshwar, all soaked and crumpled on the skin, I stop for a moment before stepping into the restaurant where we are supposed to take a halt. I think of asking my fellow teammates if they were alright, as I am freezing myself. The brilliant smiles on their faces give me my answer even before I can utter a word.
An hour later, even after being subjected to some torturously cold ice cream in a chilly weather, with heavy rains and unsettling crosswinds making riding extremely perilous, the team is not in a mood to call it a day. Nor am I. We ride through some of the worst weather ever, through some really hazardous road conditions, at speeds that would be excruciatingly boring in normal state of affairs, and for a painfully long period of time. Surprisingly, I am still having a whale of a time behind that half-fogged visor as marble sized raindrops patter loud over my lid. I am a little concerned about the rest of the team members who have taken a 70km longer route along with me courtesy an overflowing river blocking the road back to Pune. As we take a halt for a top-up after the taxing ride, I apprehensively take off my helmet to see what shape the team members are in. And this is when the wide grins on their faces authenticate forever what I have always believed in – riding can never be boring.