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The Wild Hogs : The Royal Enfield Ride

The unshakable riders at Friends Of Royal Enfield shares with AutoLife their recent epic back-breaking 5000km road trip experience on their trusted iron horses to attend the annual Rider Mania 2014 event in Chennai, India.

 

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What’s your idea of a road trip? A quick run to Pokhara, an adventure ride to Mustang or maybe be an east-to-west tour of Nepal from Mechi to Mahakali. But with hard-core touring experiences from every nook and corner of Nepal to the highlands of Tibet, Bhutan and India, these seasoned riders at Friends Of Royal Enfield (FORE) are a bit of different lot. FORE is a united motorcycling club of Royal Enfield bike owners who are dedicated to promoting motorcycle tourism between Nepal, Tibet and India. Over the years, the club has been organizing various long distance rides for Royal Enfield enthusiasts. So here is the story on their most recent and best adventure yet, when they rode all the way to Chennai from Kathmandu for the annual Rider Mania 2014 event.

 

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The Rider Mania (RM) is the biggest annual event of Royal Enfield motorcycles in India hosted by Brotherhood of Bulleteers Motorcycling Consortium (BOBMC) member clubs in India to commemorate the spirit of motorcycling. Ever since its inception in 2003, this annual gathering of Royal Enfield motorcycle owners has been held in various parts of India. It is events like Rider Mania that exemplify the brotherhood that every biker talks about. FORE had their first experience of the Rider Mania back in 2013, when they rode to Cherrapunji to attend the event. No sooner had they returned from Cherrapunji, the enthusiastic riders at FORE had made up their mind to give continuity to this adventure and attend the next Rider Mania event. The 2014 event was hosted by the Madras Bulls in Chennai on 18 and 19 January, 2014.

 

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After some concrete planning and a fund raising event on 20th December, 2013 at Jazz Upstairs to support the ride, a total of 12 riders (including a mechanic) on 8 Royal Enfield motorcycles set out to travel from the Himalayas to the Indian peninsula on a whopping 23 day ride. Breaking the morning silence at the crack of dawn on the 5th of January 2014, the pack gathered at the Himalayan Enfielders workshop and thundered out of the valley on their trusted Royal Enfield motorcycles. Of course, a quick stop at the NASA Bullet Club headquarters in Tinkune was in order, where a brief farewell meeting had been organized by the hosts to lend some financial support to the riders. After being escorted till Naubise by a group of like-minded Royal Enfield enthusiasts, the 8 Royal Enfields rumbled in tandem towards the Indo-Nepal border at Sunauli. By noon, they had completed the roughly 300km ride to Sunauli for Day 1.

 

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The next day marked the beginning of their Indian adventures and the whole gang was visibly pumped up as they entered international territory and began ripping through the great Indian plains. And adventure it was in its truest form, because throughout the week-long ride from Kanpur, Guna, Dhule till Pune, the pack literally lived life on the road by crashing for the night by random roadside Dhabas. Pune was a break from the adventure and after rejuvenating themselves in modern amenities, the riders continued towards Goa. All along the route, slight mechanical glitches were a common affair on their Royal Enfield’s, but easily solvable with the group’s extensive knowledge of their motorcycles and with the help of their skilled back-up mechanic Khurshid Mohammed.

 

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But en route Goa on January 12, one of the motorcycles had taken its toll and broke down completely with an engine failure. It was impossible to get the motorcycle back to life with the limited spares at their disposal, and rather than letting that dampen their spirits, the jolly group decided to call it a night by lighting a bonfire and camping in a safe area right by the roadside, with their bikes strategically placed to reflect their presence to the oncoming highway traffic. The next morning, they towed the sick Enfield all the way to Goa. And as they say, the breakdown rather turned out to be a blessing in disguise. With the dead Enfield being worked on at a local workshop, the group could now afford to relax, enjoy and laze around by the beaches in one of the most fun and happening tourist place in India.

 

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Fuelled by the cheap booze and unlimited fun in Goa, the riders were fully refreshed after the two day break. On January 15, they got back on the highway leading to Karnataka and cruised towards Mysore for the night. The next stop was Bangalore, where the evening progressed sharing riding experiences with the members of Wolfe Pack MC at the host Ravi Patel’s home. With the plan to reach the Rider Mania event ground at Mahabalipuram in Chennai a day in advance, the group set out of Bangalore early in the morning. But another breakdown meant stopping for the night at Pondicherry. So the group missed out on the opening day activities of Rider Mania on January 18, and managed to reach the event ground only by the evening. However, there was still a lot in store as the riders set up ‘Camp Nepal’, surrounded by Buddhist prayer flags and the Nepali flag proudly fluttering amidst the sea of more than 1200 avid Royal Enfield riders from India. Music being an integral part of the festival, the evening was spent grooving to the live music performance by professional bands. The next day was spent enjoying the various activities like dirt track racing, slow race, figure of eight competitions, beer guzzling competitions, arm wrestling, custom bikes competition, etc and mingling with the riders from all corners of India. FORE was the sole club attending the event from outside of India and were awarded with the title of ‘Hardest Riders’. One of the riders Dzongden Kang Sherpa too won another award as part of Rider Mania’s ‘Motography Contest’, where riders with the most likes on BOBMC Rider Mania’s Facebook page were rewarded with special prizes. It was an amazing experience for the riders from FORE to have been able to ride all the way from Nepal on their beloved Royal Enfields and swap stories with the like-minded riders.

 

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Highly satisfied with the Rider Mania experience, the riders began the journey back and reached Bangalore on 21st of January. If they could have had their way, the riders would have happily made the ride all the way back home. But with professional and personal commitments on hold back home, it was decided to take the train back from Bangalore till the Indo-Nepal border at Gorakhpur, for a faster return trip. So on 23rd January, the bikes were loaded in the train cargo and the group made another epic 60- hour train ride to Gorakhpur. After Gorakhpur, the ride continued with the joy of being back on home turf. The last night halt of the trip was then made at Narayanghat, where another memorable evening was spent with the member of Bullet Bike Zone Club.

 

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Finally, the riders were back in Kathmandu on January 27 and on arrival headed straight to where it all began – Jazz Upstairs. It was the end to a fantastic ride and one hell of a journey from the high mountains of Nepal to the beaches by the Indian Ocean. And what better way to end the epic experience than with a well-deserved toast to the ride! But as the drinks flowed till the wee hours of the evening, another promise was made – to ride to Chandigarh for Rider Mania 2015, when it will be hosted by Road Survivors of Chandigarh. And apparently, these guys take their promises very seriously.

 

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