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Motorcycle Diaries: Riding to Goa on an Enfield

Last updated on: December 7, 2012 10:25 IST

Motorcycle Diaries: Riding to Goa on an Enfield

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Akhtar Shaikh/Rediff.com

Akhtar Shaikh participated in Rider Mania joining hundreds of Enfield riders on a trip to India's beach paradise -- Goa. He shares his experiences with us. Over to Akhtar!

This July, in the 33rd year of my life, I finally became an Enfield owner. I've been riding bikes all my life but never once had I owned a Royal Enfield. It is, as any rider in his/her sane mind would tell you, a dream bike -- to own and ride.

So after saving up for over a year, I finally managed to buy myself that sexy beast whose sweet sound is a balm to the wandering soul.

In less than four months I have covered over 4,000 km on my Classic 500 but I was yet to participate in a real community ride -- one that involved a l-o-t of fellow Enfield riders.

I finally got my opportunity this November in the Rider Mania.

So what is Rider Mania all about?

Riders from across the country come alive at India's beach-paradise, Goa every year in the month of November. The event includes unique biker action, great food, non-stop live music and lots of fun. This year the event was held on November 23, 24 and 25 at Vagator in Goa.

The Rider Mania is the biggest biker event in India which is hosted by BOBMC Member clubs annually. In this event, Royal Enfield riders across the world gather together to share three nights and couple of days in Goa.

To enter this fest you need to first register your name and your bike on Royal Enfield's official website.

This year there were 1087 registrations.

Have an interesting travel experience to share? Send us an email to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: My Travels) along with a few pictures to go with your write-up and we will publish the best ones, right here on Rediff.com and India Abroad.


Photographs: Akhtar Shaikh

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Motorcycle Diaries: Riding to Goa on an Enfield

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Many different groups, all across India rode together to Goa. From Mumbai there were several groups riding to Goa. I was in the Royal Enfield Bandra/Nerul Showroom Group that had about 30 riders.

Also riding with us were Siddarth Sinhal, the Nerul showroom manager and Harshil Desai, the Bandra showroom manager.

It was in many ways a safe ride because we had mechanics as well as an SUV that would assist us in case of a breakdown.

We did have a breakdown at Pune but the thing about an Enfield is that it is a very, very reliable machine.

The Journey Begins

Unlike popular perception, riding is a disciplined sport. Real riders never break signals nor do they overtake when not necessary.

Our journey started on November 22, at 4am and at the meeting point we received our lineup number sticker so that everyone followed the queue.

It was here that I learnt for the first time that the leader of the group was known as the eye of the group (in our case it was Harshil Desai). and the tail-rider is the heart (in this case a noble gentleman called Anil). These two people have a very important role to play. They keep a check on whether everyone is together; that no one is overtaking and everyone is riding at a constant pace and maintaining an appropriate distance.

Then there are two other riders who won't ride in the line but rather ride alongside you; they are the wings of the ride (in our case Ronak Wadhwani and Shridar) and their job is to ensure no one overtakes or tries to do anything smart, basically get everyone to tow the line so to say.

After the registrations were done, our journey finally started around 5 am. We reached Pune in two hours flat. We halted at Pune for some more riders to join us.

Have an interesting travel experience to share? Send us an email to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: My Travels) along with a few pictures to go with your write-up and we will publish the best ones, right here on Rediff.com and India Abroad.


Photographs: Akhtar Shaikh

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Motorcycle Diaries: Riding to Goa on an Enfield

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While waiting for more riders to join us at Pune, we took a break and had our breakfast -- vada pav and cutting chai and then took off in the direction of Satara. We rode non-stop along NH4 (Pune-Bangalore Highway) and reached Satara in the next one hour.

Another 20-minute break followed after which continued on the smooth highway all the way to Belgaum.

After an hour-long lunch break, we took a right off the NH4 to head towards Amboli Ghats on a far-from-smooth road. After crossing the Amboli Ghats, we took a much-needed break and via Sawantwadi reached our destination -- Goa!!

Its was an amazing ride and we all were very tried and wanted to sleep early because the next day we wanted to enjoy the amazing Rider Mania fest.

Have an interesting travel experience to share? Send us an email to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: My Travels) along with a few pictures to go with your write-up and we will publish the best ones, right here on Rediff.com and India Abroad.


Photographs: Akhtar Shaikh

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Motorcycle Diaries: Riding to Goa on an Enfield

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November 23 was the first day of the Rider Mania fest. The atmosphere was electric as everyone chanted 'Rider... Rider... Rider Mania'!

The one good thing that the organizers did was that if anyone missed the registrations, they were allowed to register at the venue. Once you went at the venue-counter they checked your name and gave you a blue wrist band. Without the band you were not allowed to enter the festival venue.

The fest was attended by Indians and foreigners alike. Like our group, there were several other groups that had come from all over the country.

There were people from all age groups. There was a food court where yummy Russian and Italian dishes were served and stalls that sold bike accessories and equipment. There was also a workshop where you could repair your bike and do the servicing on your own.

At the centre was a large stage where a live band was playing middle of the ground there was huge stage where a live band was playing.

With all this around you, it is impossible to not forget the world and its worries. That's what I did too. I forgot there was a world outside the one I was in at the moment and just like that became one with the crowd.

Have an interesting travel experience to share? Send us an email to getahead@rediff.co.in (subject line: My Travels) along with a few pictures to go with your write-up and we will publish the best ones, right here on Rediff.com and India Abroad.


Photographs: Akhtar Shaikh

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