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Classic Reunion

Word & Photos: Sagar Naral

 
Never has there been a moment that I haven’t jumped in excitement whenever a bike ride is mentioned in front of my face. It has always been like that classic ‘Godfather’ kind-of-offer, which I can never refuse. So when I was invited to join like-minded riders on the 1st Annual Enfield & Vintage Rider’s Reunion, I just happily geared up and rumbled ahead, fittingly on my trusted Royal Enfield Classic 350cc. The 1st annual Enfield and Vintage Rider’s Reunion was a ride event set in the windy hills of Nagarkot and hosted by the Vintage Motorcycle Club, in association with Castrol, Minsk, General Petroleum, Kantipur Hotline, Rak Airways, Smoking Joe, Maya Nepal Rehabilitation Centre, Ryderz Of Bhaktapur, Piston Lounge & Bar and Hotel Funky Hill. AutoLife Magazine was the official magazine partner for the event and I was riding along to cover the event, highly confused whether this really was going to be work or pleasure.

 

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Come 31st May, I found myself in the company of constantly rumbling and thundering motorcycles at the Piston Lounge and Bar in Soalteemode. After a complimentary breakfast at the lounge, we set off flaunting the official event T-Shirt, Stickers and Flags that read “Ride‘Em Don’t Hide‘Em”. Before riding off, each of us participants were given our time cards which would record our departure and arrival time, to be calculated later for determining the rally winner on the basis of the TSD (Time Speed Distance) format. After the official flag off by Mr. Rabi Thapa from Sacred Summits Pvt. Ltd, all of us sequentially hit the roads.

 

We rumbled down the six-lane Arniko Highway and gathered at the Taumadhi Square in Bhaktapur for our first pit-stop of the event. A welcoming folk musical program organized by the locals was in order at the venue, followed by a much appreciated felicitation with vermillion and flowers. The ride then continued towards Nagarkot at the Hotel Funky Hill. Upon arrival at the Hotel, we were provided with refreshments and the rooms were allocated to all the riders. Lunch quickly followed up and it was time for some rest. No sooner had I dozed off into a quick nap, I was immediately awake from the constant revving of motorcycles. It was the stunters from Ryderz of Bhaktapur, who were setting up the right mood in front of the hotel with their variety of motorcycle stunt performances. Enfielders did their part as well, with a couple of them burning their tyres on the tarmac into a thick layer of smoke. I couldn’t help but recall my younger days when I recklessly practiced stunts myself and crashed my bike a handful of times. Their performance left most participants amused and wanting for more. After the stunt show, a DJ session was in store for all the music lovers. I though personally like to kick back and chill with a bottle of beer, and that was what I did. But that was not the end. Later in the evening, a Live Band performed various Nepali and English numbers and every one tuned in to the groove. The evening soon ended in a good note and we called it a night.

 

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The next morning, everyone was pumped up again. The road was abuzz with the participants riding around the hills of Nagarkot and admiring the majestic views. Riders could also be seen participating in some of the challenging and interesting motorcycle games organized at the venue. It was then time for the respective winners to be awarded. As everyone gathered for breakfast inside the hotel, the deserving winners of the ride were declared. Tika Ram Rai was declared as the winner of the TSD Rally with Joseph Barker and Bigyan Pokhrel as the respective runner-ups. In the Best Customized Motorcycle category,  Joseph Barker bagged the award with a prize that included a trip for two to Thailand. His clean modification on a 1970 Royal Enfield included a series of modification done with some custom Harley Davidson motorcycle parts and a suicide shifter. Another award was for the Best Fully Restored Motorcycle, which Mohan Gurung easily deserved for his efforts with a 1952 BSA Bantam. The bike was an eye candy to all. Along with this, Julian Shrestha and Pradip Kapali, the owners of Vintage Club, donated a set of books and stationeries to a local school in Nagarkot from the money collected from the registration fees. Also, some amount of money for buying dustbins with the aim to keep Nagarkot clean was donated to the local authorities.

 

It was an end to the fantastic trip, but the party still hadn’t ended. The DJ Session continued and people started dancing to the music, syncing in with the perfect afternoon weather. Well, me? I went outside and sat amongst the bikes that really mean so much to me. Remember those childhood days when you found yourself in a toy store and simply wanted everything on display? Yeah, that was exactly like that moment. It truly felt like home right there, sitting amidst the sea of motorcycles that ranged from vintage Royal Enfields, BSAs, Yezdis, Yamahas, Rajdoots, Vespas, Hondas to a slick Ducati SportClassic GT1000.

 

So that was it! The amazing ride was over. The evening trickled in and I thundered by way back home to Kathmandu, with renewed dreams and wishes, navigating through the dust and debris lying all around.

 

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