India Bike Week: Blame it on the Bikes

It’s 6:00 am. I am cursing all those people who are tucked in bed snuggled under a warm blanket. The only warmth I have on this cold winter morning is the 650cc V-twin motor purring between my legs. I am outside the McDonald’s at Kalamboli, on the Mumbai end of the Mumbai-Pune expressway, waiting for the other bikers to arrive.

But more than that, I’m waiting for the McDonald’s to open so I can get some hot coffee. I spot around five bikes coming my way. The early morning calm is broken by a mixed sound of Enfields and Ducatis that come in one by one. Half an hour and a healthy dose of caffeine in my veins later, I set off.

The plan is to take the coastal route from Mumbai to Goa, which is hosting India Bike Week (IBW), a festival for biking enthusiasts, with attendance from all over the country. As we’re about to start, a big man on an Enfield 500 pulls up next to me. This is Vir Nakai, the man who has organised the ride to IBW. He glances at the Aquila that I’m on, looks at me, and says: “My uncle in the US has a lawn mower that sounds better than this”. I sink into the Aquila’s already low seat, smile politely and follow the convoy.