Showing posts with label bikes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bikes. Show all posts

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bangalore Cycle Day


This month’s edition of Feel Bengaluru Cycle Day was at Indiranagar, on July 27th. I had known about the movement and wanted to participate earlier, but the previous venues were far off.  This time, the venue was closer to my place, so I participated, and boy, was I glad for it.

We were at the venue at 6:30 in the morning, I was still checking my watch because I am usually in bed on Sundays, till 11, but today, I was up at 5:30 itself. There was already a long queue for the rental cycles, but we got in line anyway. The crowd had started to build up, people of all ages were on multi-coloured bi-cycles of all manner of sizes and design. We had to stay in line for almost an hour for our bikes, but it was worth the wait.

My only rant about the event was about the rental lines, there was a lot of line jumping in the queue. People jumped in and where out with bikes in no time. We could see the line did not move, but all the bikes ran out of the first two trucks ! We were beginning to feel we would not get a bike at all, but it all worked out good for us. The queue was still growing, I am sure lot of them did not get bikes even after being in queue for more than an hour :-( .

The main ride was flagged off at 8:30 AM, a whole swarm of cyclists were unleashed, no one seemed in a hurry; after all , it was a ride, not a race. The Bangalore cops had shutdown motorized traffic on the bike route, and so , the entire ride was pure fun. With the motorists out of the way, it seemed like we OWNED the roads.  There were guys on skateboards, and kids on little kiddie bikes, and there were the pro-bikers, on their big mean carbon fibre bikes. It made for a good spectacle though, we could see pedestrians and motorists watching us on the side lines.

Bangalore Cycle Day is Citizen’s event, run in co-operation with Bangalore’s finest (cops) and various social gatherings. It is held on the last Sunday of each month, each time, they identify a different part of the city to host the event. A bike route is prepared, and arrangements are made to block out motorized traffic in the area for the 30min bike ride. Various groups have sponsored parts of the event, there are about 250 bikes people can rent, they just need to hand in their original photo id cards as collateral. People are encouraged to , and do, bring their own bikes. After the main ride, there are street events for everyone to join in. Since the roads are pretty much free, grids for various traditional and modern board games are chalked right on the roads. You can sit and enjoy a nice game of chess, snakes and ladders, and various other traditional games I couldn’t name. No body is in charge, but everybody is. You just need to turn up at the event with family and friends , and just have a good time. And did I mention, the entire event is FREE ! (though I’m sure people would gladly pay).

An uncle turned up with a rope-n-top, and I tested my old top skills. I was happy I was able to set the top spinning again! There was a skateboad group , HolyStoked collective, and they were giving away lessons on the sport. Kids were taking up hulla loops,scootering,skipping, and drawing on the streets, and ..slow cycling.  All in all, there was something for everyone, though I think the organizers did not expect so many people to show up. The place was jam-packed !

Bangalore , and other Indian cities as well, needs more such citizen’s events. Kids nowadays don’t have the luxury of open fields and trees like we enjoyed in our young days, for them, games mean video games. Catching up/hanging out means facebook & google hangouts. Even for us grownups, we need a reason to step out , get some exercise, and meet people face to face again. What’s the point of toiling away life at the office desk, when you forget for whom it is for. And the streets, for once it was nice to see people gather on the streets for all the positive reasons. Nowadays , to “take to the streets” means to revolt, uprise or revolt against something. But for Cycle Day, taking to the streets was full of positive vibe.

I wanted to stay longer, but it was already 10:30, and hunger pangs got me. So off it was, and I’ll be back for the next event soon. Here’s hoping other localities and cities of the country follow suit and organize such events too, starting a “chain reaction”.

Thanks to Decathlon & ATCAGS, for sponsoring the bikes, you guys are doing a fantastic job.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Royal Enfield Bobber – The Himalayan Outlaw


The country Nepal is probably most famous for that rather large hill they call Everest. Known to the locals as ‘Sagarmatha’, or ‘Goddess of the sky’. The thing they are probably least famous for is their killer death metal bands. Oh – and building custom motorcycles. As we recently learnt, there’s a reason for this. Any type of of motorcycle modification is strictly prohibited by the Nepalese Government. Not one to thrive living inside the rules, Sergey Egorov decided to chance it and build one of the first truly custom bikes in Nepal. This is the story about the bike named ‘Himalayan Outlaw’ or as we’d like to call her if we magically got naming rights, ‘Goddess of the street’.

Sergey tells us the details of this outrageous crime he committed. ”This Royal Enfield custom bobber has the classic 350cc engine with a 5-speed gearbox, left-hand side gear shift and electric self start. The standard RE carburetor was upgraded to 26mm Amal MK1 concentric carburetor (specially ordered from UK) with S&B performance filter. Woodsman style exhaust system has a stylish look and a heat shield installed on it (to protect leg from pipeburn). The crankcase breather box was relocated and upgraded with K&N filter matching style with the carburetor filter. The gearbox cover was custom painted and has handmade mirror-polished stainless steel plate on it, so you can engrave your name or bike name there. Custom made stainless steel sump guard protects the engine bottom. The original (donor bike) production year is 2006, so the condition of engine is perfect.

From the front side, the bobber has custom made 1” black powder coated drag bars, triple tree and risers. The fork tubes, front suspension and front 18’’ wheel are stock RE. The back end consists of custom made swing arm which is 5’’ longer than stock one and vintage styled covered 13.5” gas shocks (UK made). The pride of the bike is legendary Avon MK-II 130/90 tire on 16’’ wheel rim. The bike has stock front hydraulic disk brake and stock back drum brake .

Fuel tank is a Harley-Davidson sportster tank. Comfortable West-Eagle solo seat has a suspension with the hydraulic mini shock. All nuts, bolts and washers in this bobber are the highest quality stainless steel product ordered from USA. Rear strutless fender is custom made from 2mm steel blank.”

Luckily, this simple and understated Royal Enfield bobber didn’t cost Sergey his freedom. In fact he managed to make it out of the country alive after selling the bike for a very reasonable price of $12,000. The only real crime commited here was that only one bobber was built.

To hear and see more, check out this little video Sergey put together.