Odyssey Unplugged

Then there’s Hide Okamoto, who couldn’t be more different from Ravi if he tried. Hide is from Tokyo, and he’s been a motorcycle test rider – yes, on a full-time basis – since age 16. Over the last three decades, he’s tested the whole spectrum of bikes that you and I only dream of. The latest being the Vyrus C3 series.

His less glamorous work includes consulting for TVS Tyres, which he’s done for over a decade now. Hide knew nothing about the Odyssey till a few months ago. One fine day, in Tokyo, he met an RE dealer (yes, an RE dealer in Tokyo), who told him about the Odyssey and said he was looking to send someone from Japan for the trip.

Adventure junkie that he is, Hide volunteered right away. He rented an RE Classic 500 and has managed fairly well on it so far. He says he likes it. I assume he’s just being polite, but he explains, “This bike is meant for road use only, but over the last 1,000km, I’ve driven it on everything except roads”.

This is a proper road motorcycle, definitely not built for terrain like this. Hide is so impressed with the RE Classic, he’s thinking of buying one when he goes back. His biggest disappointment is that after all these years of coming to India, this is the first time he’s discovered masala papad.