Monday, June 18, 2007


I got my beast - the ‘red-eye’ on Valentines’ day this year… since the day I’ve got her, I kept bragging about the looks of the TB, the thump of an RE and the sheer power of the bike and how ‘heavy’ it is for sissy guys…
Well, last Friday was the day I had to eat my words!
We have very limited parking spaces in the office I work, and if you are not lucky enough and on time, the parking lot usually gets filled to the brim and then you got to park your bike out in the sun, on the mercy of the passersby. Last Friday my ‘monster-in-law’ was visiting us and I had to go to the airport relatively early in the morning with the wife to pick the old lady up see that they reach home safe and then come to work. Well, thanks to the ‘perfectly timed’ schedules of the airlines and the amazingly smooth traffic on the Bangalore roads, I reached my office around 2hours late! And guess what? The parking lot was full! Even the external parking spaces were full! I finally had to leave the bike on the side road completely unattended eating dust and sweating in the sun…
The entire day while crunching numbers I kept worrying about the bike sitting out in the sun, call it instinct or the sixth-sense I kept feeling very uneasy about my bike the whole day… in the evening around 8 I decided to leave for home and meet the mom-in-law for the first time in Bangalore to leave a good impression in her mind about me… I run out dust my bike and start up her meaty engine, the thumps cooled my head quite a bit and I rode her off out on the main road and then disaster strikes!
The rear tyre was flat and it felt like I was riding in wet concrete drying fast… this was my first puncture on the TB and I was slightly unprepared for this! It was too early for a puncture, the bike was only 5months old, run under 4000kms and I always keep the tyre pressure checked. But all that is pointless… I had a flat and I had to get this fixed! I check my watch again, not too late to find a puncture repair shop and just get it fixed right-away. I get off the beast, keep the engine running and in the 1st gear while I pushed her (a trick I learnt while in school on a much lighter luna) but the 200kilos drain your energy too soon! When the evening is too humid and you’ve had an exceptionally long day, sweat drips too easily and irritation becomes second nature…
Anyways, I tow the bike for 20minutes out of the campus and ask the security guard if there are any puncture shops where I can get the bike fixed, he told me about the Hero Honda showroom on the main road just a few hundred meters ahead, I towed the bull to the showroom and park her up near the service station entrance, now excuse me bragging but a bull looks ROYAL amidst those sissy little HH bikes! The showroom guy told me that they don’t do punctures but apparently there was some small puncture shop on the other side of the ring-road in one of the bye lanes… my dilemma was how to take this 200kilo beast to the other side past the dividers and the median in this rush-hour traffic? I turn on the headlamp and the turn-signal and push the bike sluggishly across the road to the divider, found a slightly lower part and revved the engine real high so that the front tyre jumped across, the trick was to get the rear tyre over! It was really scaring, the sounds the tyre made while crossing over but after 4-5minutes of struggle I managed to get the bike on the other side. There again the towing started afresh, once I entered the bye-lanes I asked the locals there for the puncture shop, one of the enthusiastic kids there decided to escort me and the ‘red-eye’ to the shop… made me walk for 10 more minutes and then we reached the alleged ‘puncture shop’ it turned out to be a small time garage who didn’t have the puncture repair kit! He told me to go further 1km and I will find a tyre repair shop there… whew, by now, I was sweating quite a bit and was feeling a bit dehydrated (hazards of s sedentary work life) anyways, I finally managed to reach the tyre shop only to realize that it was a wheel-alignment shop and not a puncture repair place… the guys working there saw me and were quite amused to find a hefty looking guy all drained in sweat and pulling on the beast, completely out of breath… they told me to go onto the airport road where I was bound to find the puncturewallah at a gas-station, only problem is that it was around 1.5kms and I already had towed the bike close to over 2kilometers…. What to do? I pushed my babe further on towards the gas-station… finally, well after 9pm I reached the gas-station completely drained and breathless even to speak! I just signaled the rear-tyre to the puncture shop guy and sat there for a breather… after around 5 minutes I got my breath back and was able to talk to the guy, he said that the shop is past closing time and he will return the bike only the next morning! Darn, all this circus and then wait? I requested and literally begged the guy to fix the issue then and there, after 15minutes of haggling and a promise to pay 20bucks extra on his tab; he agreed to fix the issue immediately.
This is when I realized that my wallet was completely empty! I forgot about the money I gave the cab guy in the morning to drop my wife and her mum, and hadn’t done a refill! I went around looking for an ATM to draw some money, thankfully by now my guardian angels were back from their break and I found an ATM not more than half a kilometer away… took some cash and bought a bottle of cola to replenish my system of the water and sugar that I had lost over the last hour. I went back to the puncture shop to find the guy still trying to pull the tube out of the tyre to check the status, luckily there was only one really messy puncture on the tube which the guy fixed in less than 30minutes, upon finding the reason for this really nasty gash on the tube, he came across a U-clip lodged deep into the tyre like a knife! The culprit was successfully removed and placed in my pocket to remind me of the experience in the future. It all cost me around 30bucks 10 for the puncture and 20 that was promised earlier.
After the whole episode I realized that being a biker is not all about how you ride the bike all the time but how look all the different adversities head on in their eyes. It’s about grabbing your life by the handlebars and being able to sort the issues out without getting all worked up and stressed out. There has to be equilibrium between your bike’s weight and your stamina to push it in similar situations… I learnt it the hard way that it doesn’t take too much to be prepared for situations to arise and how to keep a cool head when the situations finally arise.
Bikers usually are portrayed as big, bulky surly guys who scare most of the ‘common’ crowd on the roads. But, I guess, bikers are polite, courteous and very helping people! They do learn out of their experiences how to keep their cool and be humble and have humility. Someday, I’ll start growing grey hairs and I’ll also be one of the wizened bikers who have enough experience on and off the roads to sit and talk with you for hours together on different subjects and still not tire you down.
Thanks for reading, ride safe and always wear a helmet! You might not get a spare for your head.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Running on 'empty'

just heard an awesome song that reminded me of the feel of riding wild and free on my beast... chasing the horizons and claiming more and more of the land that i run... well, here is the song. its called Running on Empty by Jackson Browne

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one
I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on
Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I’m running behind
Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive
In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don’t know when that road turned onto the road I’m on
Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I’m running behind
Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don’t know about anyone but me
If it takes all night, that’ll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave
Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don’t know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too
Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I’m running behind
Honey you really tempt me
You know the way you look so kind
I’d love to stick around but I’m running behind
You know I don’t even know what I’m hoping to find
Running into the sun but I’m running behind