When it comes to one’s most esteemed possessions, the motorcycle certainly sits in a high rank. Especially the first one we acquire. Though as we evolve as a refined man we ascertain that for comfy transportation we need four wheels, young men are always nutty enough to deal with with only two. There is an immense sense of triumph when we take it for the first jaunt on it and complete the assignment without falling over.
I bought a tiny moped when I was fifteen. I vividly remember that I spent the entire day on which it arrived looking at it. I didn’t even have a learner’s license when it was given to me so I couldn’t drive it. Weirdly the government doesn’t allow boys below fifteen to drive anything other than a bicycle, but the crones can get away from every sign at a velocity of ten with a determined expression. The local policemen were always delighted to nick a few quid from the enthusiastic school boys’ pocket money. When I was captured by the traffic warriors for the first time I didn’t comprehend what they were on about for half an hour. I couldn’t just drive away because they had in their possession my ignition key with my unique pink key-chain. After an extensive hush they started giving me an incredibly dreary sermon on traffic dangers and age constraints. Finally when my dad arrived at the cop’s corner, the place at the corner of a major interception where they had installed a permanent counter to aid their income, he was furious as he had to pay the man in suit five hundred quid of his hard earned bread. The cops on the other hand must be doing well; I mean five hundred quid here and five hundred quid there, they must have earned a fortune from other people’s misfortunes. I didn’t fancy making it rhyming there anyway.
Talking of my wagon, it was a TVS champ 50CC in RED. Though it was one of the most revolting things that money could buy, it was the best thing to me at that time. I had been beseeching my father for about a year to get it. And there was a vast conversation between my father and an uncle of mine concerning the speed of the thing and how hazardous it might turn out to be for me, for some half-wit astrologers had reckoned that some star was not where it ought to be and as a result I would almost certainly be run over by a lorry and quashed like a dumb highway toad. The damn thing couldn’t go fast at all, I once tried to give it all the beans for fifteen minutes on a long stretch and it only managed to achieve fifty, on a downward slope. It’s a shade faster than walking pace.
There was an assortment of troubles it came with though. The starter key could be taken off even when it is in the on position. It once fell from the slot as I was racing a scooter driven by a girl I adored. She was a remarkable thing, tall, had slightly curly hair and deep eyes. I would describe her as slightly divine. But boy, she could drive like hell. The green scooter perfectly suited her personality I thought. It was like a tiny nuclear powered rocket in her adroit hands and its engine was a good twenty cubic centimeters bigger in size and that mattered. Anyway talking of problems, as I needed to drive fast all the time to keep up with her I needed to deploy my brakes occasionally. There is always an elderly gentleman waiting to come on your way around every single corner in Indian roads and he would usually be a floweriest. Talking of braking now, she could do that with a tender pull of a lever. My brake shoes on the other hand were in fact my own pair of shoes if you know what I mean. I mean I had to help the brakes to stop the wheels unswervingly by rubbing the wheel or road whichever is easier, depends on the type of footwear and terrain and the process of choosing one is rather complicated to explain in this column. Another snag is that I never knew I was driving fast, relative to the Indian speeds. The speedometer always showed twenty nine. It took ten minutes to start the thing running, but I would already be doing twenty as per the Speedo. When it rains it is almost impossible to do it. You can push the whole thing running alongside and then crank the mill with the press of the clutch. I had run miles just to start the engine, if I can call it an engine. It could be called powerful if it was used in a motorised razor.
However horrific might be your first set of wheels I am sure that would be the most excellent thing you had ever driven. Let me explain. When you are immature you don’t have dough and you end up driving a pile of awfulness. But if you grow up you can buy an atom bomb for a few hundred thousand quid that is capable of accelerating from none to grave in three seconds. But when you are old you have a tummy and it looks disgraceful driving around in a two wheeler. Everyone becomes boring with age. So you are not going to drive any faster that you did on the bicycle. Or you may end up buying an eco box if you are hard hit by the fuel crisis and you need to save the planet for some unexplainable reasons, in which case you can’t move faster than a cow.
The first bike is sure to turn into a relic in everyone’s life. Yes, there may be a number of drawbacks to it but mostly it when you look back appears to be wonderful, wonderful and wonderful. There is a certain way you drive it, only you can or it would drift left continuously. There is a certain way you stop it and only you know it. Same is the case when it comes to starting it. It is something on which you learn driving, you have your first wound and became a member of the club. It may be slow, dull, cheap and useless. But only one thing matters, it is or it was yours.
- New Bikes Teach Kids to Ride (online.wsj.com)
- Why Disk Brakes Are Better Than V Brakes on a Mountain Bike (highballblog.com)