Submitted by Shreyas Tiruvaskar
It was a hot summer morning in the year of 2016. Had I been home, in Mumbai, I would be
in my bed with the ceiling fan roaring at its full speed, relentlessly trying to counter the hot,
humid summer rage of Mumbai. But no, the place I was in, I was surprised not only
awake but also totally geared up checking the ignition and clutch wire of my
Thunderbird-350. (Actually, my Dad’s Thunderbird-350) . I was on an Off-Road Ride in the
Valleys of Himalaya. “Knee-guards, son!” , came a flying pair of knee-guards towards me. I
looked up and wondered, ‘How does he always catch me’. My dad had that smirk on his
face, hinting that he won’t let me slip with my careless attitude as long as he has got that
Hawk-eye vision. Our leader of the pack, Captain Cheran, started the morning briefing, and
within 10 minutes on the clock, without wasting a second, our entire pack of 14 Royal
Enfield Bulls with a backup van on the tail, were on the trails of Himalaya, challenging,
admiring, respecting and appreciating the grandness of that entity.
It was just a third day of the 10 days long schedule and we were already acclimatized with
those altitudes and road conditions. It was going to be a long, long day, as we had to cover
over 200 kilometers, the weather was not looking favorable, my dad’s back-pain from his
railway accident was exacerbated by the cold, and worst of all, I was under the impression
that ‘I own this’ as I had become familiar with the track too quickly. Overconfidence always
comes around and bites you in your rear when you are least expecting.
So till 11 in the morning, that is, for straight 4 hours, dad was riding the Thunderbird and I
was riding pillion. At one point, his back pain was beyond his tolerance, so he decided to go
and sit in the backup van as he could lie down in the back seat and relax a bit. Now I was
riding solo. The road had been very rocky and unfit for speeding, for almost 2 hours,
continuously. Then came a patch where the road was in a very good shape, freshly
constructed, but full of sharp C and U-turns. When I felt something other than stones and
pebbles, that is, the smooth road, under my tires, after so long, there was this adrenaline
rush and on one straight patch, I did two consecutive up-gear shifts and went full throttle!
Captain Charan saw me speeding up like anything in his rearview mirror and cursed me for
that foolish move, but there was nothing more he could do at that point.
It wouldn’t have been more than 10 seconds…that straight patch suddenly ended, and the
great Himalaya threw a sharp C turn at me. I was at around 80-90 kilometers/hour, in 5th
gear, facing this sharp C turn and thinking that I’d hit the brakes to slow down. Hit The
Brakes!? What was I thinking! You can not hit the damn brakes to come down from 90 to 30
in the span of 2 seconds and 5 meters!
As soon as I hit the brakes, it dawned upon me that I’m going down, and going down hard.
The worst part was, as it was a C turn, there was a 100 feet deep valley a few meters dead
ahead of me. In that situation, I had two options. Either I throw my body away from the
bike and fall down, but safely, as I was perfectly geared up (Thanks to dad), but then there
was no guarantee that bike would not go down the valley because of that incredible speed.
Or I could take the bike on my body as I’m falling down, and the friction would stop both
me and the bike from falling down the valley and turning into ashes. But the catch was, the
frictional force would be between the road and my body! The increased weight due to that
beast-like bullet would increase the friction, surely, but it was my back and legs who were
going to bear that tearing amount of friction!
Of course, I chose the latter option and in result had lots of burn marks, but no serious and
fatal injury, again thanks to dad that he made me wear all those safety gears. Luckily, the
bike was not gravely damaged, and after some repairing, it was back on track. I got a nice
due scolding as I got up after the fall. I deserved it. Beginning of this trip, I was under the
impression that Highway riding, mountain riding, high-speed riding is same as the city
riding where simply applying brakes when in trouble, invariably works. During this trip, I
painfully learned that it was, indeed, untrue. I got to know about many techniques,
nuances, subtleties of riding.
This was my first long ride and I was just 18 back then, naive and inexperienced. But this
was the trip which made me connect with my Bull like anything. It was like a partner in
crime, a friend in need, and a stairway to heaven! After that, I did many rides, with groups,
solo, long, one day, different terrains, coastal, cross-country, international and what not. I
have grown so much after that first ride, I have gained experience, made different friends
from places, witnessed the roads, nature, the waters, the sands, the mountains, the
summits. But one thing has been the same, the Thunderbird-350 of mine. And I owe this
special bond I have developed, the incredible, mesmerizing times I have had, to one and
one organization only, the A-1 Auto Transports! Whichever place I have been to, far from
Mumbai, where riding to that place from Mumbai is not possible due to time and economic
constraints, A-1 Auto Transport has been there as a rock-solid support. The
professionalism, the care they show and the economic costs are so good that I can daresay
that I have begun to blindly trust A-1. It has been more than 20 times I have experienced
the services of A-1 and not a single time have I been disappointed.
They have been with me as I grew as a human, and hence have a very special place in my
heart. I hope that the quality of service stays the same and they develop more and more
beautiful memories and relations like these.
Submitted by Shreyas Tiruvaskar
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