Limit your expectations, human.
Expectations were sky high from the first orange ride by KTM ajmer. So excited I was for this ride! I couldn’t even sleep properly the night before the ride. Adrenaline’s side effects you see. Helmets were made compulsory by the organisers for both pillion and the rider, a welcoming step. Time was decided to be 8 Am. And the destination? A hotel in Beawar. Which is around 50 kms in distance from the showroom itself. After a bone chilling ride at 6:45 am on Flash (My Jupiter) itself, I reached Samarth bhaiya’s home. My mentor, as I fondly call him. Thanks bhaiya, for accepting me as a pillion to the ride.
It was the first time I rode this early in the morning, and oh boy! I loved it! The cold breeze hitting your body, the red hue in the sky before the sunrise, empty roads. It wasn’t a bad start to the day. Perfect is the word. After hitting Samarth Bhaiya’s home, we set off for the showroom on his Duke 390. And I, personally, adore his steed. It feels like there’s a chord between me and his Duke. Or it’s just my love for Duke doing the talking. As we reached the showroom, all the riders were already assembled, and dressed in neon orange tees. What a sight it was, the whole environment was draped in orange! After filling the formalities, a paaji briefed all the riders and pillions. He taught us the basics of group riding, signs and all. All in all, a good session it was. Samarth bhaiya was chosen as the lead rider. No one else could do it better than him. I was disappointed a bit when I got to know that Samarth bhaiya has to ride alone. He was the lead rider after all. And I didn’t know anyone there. But then, Azhar bhaiya came to rescue. He was riding alone, he said I could accompany him as a pillion. He was a bulleteer. Nothing beats the thump of an Enfield! Talking about the rides, there were around 16 KTMs, a Royal Enfield, a CBR, and a Yamaha Fz-s. Firstly, it was decided that only KTMs will be allowed. But due to the sheer lack in numbers, other bikes were invited too.
It was the time for the flag off. All the riders geared up, except some stupid asses who weren’t wearing even a helmet! *Shame shame* Engines were revving, exhausts were screaming on top of their voice. Eargasmic sounds engulfed the environment. Manish Verma ji, general manager of KTM Ajmer waved the flag. The wheels started rolling. A special mention to the approach of KTM Ajmer towards safety. An ambulance was accompanying us all the time, in case if some mishap happens. Well done organisers, well done!
It was decided that the group will ride in a single file, and no one will overtake each other except the bikes who were carrying photographers. And the photographers, you were doing a darn good job! Clicking the ride from every angle possible. First break was taken for clicking some photographs, some wanted to pee too. Disadvantage of riding in winter, you have to pee umpteen times! There was a bullet waala keeda who wanted to switch place with me, and I accepted whole heartedly. Now, I was a pillion with Austin bhai, who rides a sexy Duke 200. And and and, he’s just 16 years old, rides with all the safety gears, and rides pretty well too. Way to go, pal!
It was a six lane highway we were riding on. The group was doing pretty decent speed. The speedometer was hovering around 90 km/h. We all were riding in the single file formation as decided earlier. Except some true born racers, who were overtaking each other ignoring the code. Another halt, this time not for photographs, but to give those true born “racers” some piece of their mind. After getting some cold scolds from Samarth bhaiya, we were back on the track. And this time, they were disciplined a bit. Discipline is the only requirement when it comes to group rides. And boy, the formation was looking better than before. Everyone was riding in a single file. The whole highway was rumbling, all thanks to the screaming exhausts of the KTMs and the loud thump of the Enfield. Favorite music track? KTMs cruising on a highway.
After maneuvering in the city for a while, we reached our destination, Hotel Shankar Palace. One thing, KTMs do attract a lot of attention. And bikers fully geared on KTMs? Even more attention. After a group photo session, we were served chhole bhature, aaloo ke paranthe with curd, rasgulle. Won’t write more about the food part now, otherwise the saliva dripping in my mouth will start making its way out of it. It was just so freaking delicious. Thank you organisers.
Wrapping things up at the Shankar Palace, the group was divided in two. One went in the other direction, and one, back to Ajmer. I was with Samarth bhaiya now, and we were riding towards Ajmer. Maintaining around 90’s on the highway. And this is the thing I noticed, Samarth bhaiya is well aware of his surroundings. Like a good biker should be.
Reached the showroom again, met Azhar bhaiya there, again. He left earlier than most of us. Had a good talk with the folks. Then, the lot who had gone in the other direction joined us at the showroom, just after a few while. And a bad news joined us too. Two people, who were on a RC 200, crashed. Even after warning them about KTM’s stiff suspension, they didn’t slow down on the speed breaker. Lost their balance and crashed in another motorcycle coming from the other direction. Thank the lords, no critical harm was done, either to the riders or the bikes. And guess what? The pillion on the RC 200 wasn’t wearing a helmet. And the rider? Well, he was wearing a half face helmet. Which is as useless as Aquaman in the Justice League.
Got to know many good lads. Austin, Yash and Anshu to name a few. It feels good to meet those people who share mutual love towards two wheels. We then rode towards our home.
It’s a universal law, the more you expect from something or someone, chances of getting disappointed increases. I ain’t saying that I’m disappointed, I’m quite happy actually. Who wouldn’t be? When it comes to your first group ride! Got to interact with some intellectual riders, experienced how it feels to cruise on a highway, had some delicious food! But, it doesn’t mean that there weren’t any disappointments. People were expecting a session about bikes, where the officials would teach us the basics about KTMs. We were expecting some games too as promised earlier. But none of it happened. And then, the news of RC 200 crashing.
As I’m penning down the first person experience, there’s a satisfaction in my heart. That finally, I’m living the kind of life I once dreamed of. All in all, a good experience it was.
And experience is all I crave.