Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Himalayan Odyssey '09...day 1
The 6th edition of the Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey-2009 saw it all: be it 45-degree heat, gentle drizzle, snow fall, flat tyres, mind-numbing cold or bike crashes coupled with the adversities brought forth by hostile roads.
My journey commenced from the Vishwa Yuva Kendra in Delhi, as I entered its premises with a hundred strangers staring at me. We, the bikers, were there for medical and bike checkups, which were followed by a briefing about the best trip which was to ensue later. A formal introduction was part of the trip’s prologue. I knew that much was being articulated in the South Indian tongue, along with the fact that I had never seen so many Royal Enfields, riders and the variety of helmets they sported at one place. We were given strict instructions from one of the group leader KD a.k.a Kanwardeep Singh Dhaliwal about never riding without helmets and hitting anyone in case of a crash or a road rage incident. Waiting for the fellow riders and being together through out the trip was part of the discourse.
A rider from one of us interrogated, “What if they hit us?” The pat response was, ‘Then we will hit them too.’ The message was crystal clear: we were a bunch of like-minded people. I could see that most riders had invested in professional and branded riding gears.
Day 1: flag-off (Delhi to Chandigarh)
We were challenged to be on time. It was made clear that the flag-off always started on time, while the commencement was never delayed by more than five minutes. Some couldn’t sleep and many woke up early, as it was the trip they had been waiting for since months and also years . The flag-off was scheduled to start from India Gate. It included a customary group photograph, sacred chants sung by Lamas (monks) and a quick bite.
We were flagged-off at 07:30 am exact, and not a minute late.
It was basically the revving and thudding of 62 bikes with different silencers that made us as well as the onlookers go crazy. The trip troubles began already, with 44-degree heat and everybody wrapped in riding gears-one of which already coming in handy as a rider brushed by a bus and skidded off road. Thankfully, his riding gear, in which he had invested 30 thousand, saved him from excruciating bruises. We entered the city in a formation of two and the wide roads made the ride pleasurable.