Chikoo Shakes for the Bisons!

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Riddhi rode for the first time on the highway with the Bisons, and she shares her experience of riding with the club at the recent ride to Bordi which was lovingly called the ‘Chikoo Shake’. She takes you through the journey about what makes Bisons different, her experience with the brotherhood and most importantly making new friends and lasting relationships with the infamous gang on girls.

The Bison Lineup at Hotel Fountain, Mumbai

Three years ago, if someone had invited me to ride a motorcycle, I would have laughed and said, ‘Never.’ I wasn’t interested in motorcycles because I found the idea of riding one quite terrifying. I did ride on the back of my friends’ bikes on short distances. Not sure that counts. Luckily these days, the word ‘never’ has pretty much disappeared from my vocabulary. What have I got to lose at this point? So when Anup, a dear friend and a religious rider invited me to ride with him on a Chickoo Shake run to Dhanu-Bordi, I didn’t say never. I said why not.

The Co-riders pose for the camera! The camera felt highly obliged

When my alarm went off at 5:15 on a saturday morning, I thought I must be out of my mind. Amidst the excitement of my first ride, I was really looking forward to hanging with hundreds of tattooed, leather-clad guys on their Royal Enfields, I gave sleep a pass that night.

Riding hard to Bordi!

Good roads on the way to Bordi

I would be ‘riding pillion’, I was told – a fancy term for sitting on the back of the bike and holding on for dear life, I thought. Riding pillion is not like being a passenger in a car. You can’t just sit there and watch the world go by; you need to follow a few rules to prevent yourself from falling off or causing the rider to crash. For instance, hold yourself still when the rider is shifting or braking, so you don’t bump helmets. Don’t try to put your feet down at stoplights. Lean in to turns and curves. And, the hardest instruction for me to follow – don’t talk to the rider while the bike is in motion. Fortunately a friend sent me several internet links about riding pillion the night before the ride. I read carefully.

The party begins in Bordi!

I struggled onto the bike, found the foot rests, put my helmet visor down, and grabbed my rider to his jacket and waited for what lay next. My first thought was that my nose itched. I couldn’t scratch it. My second thought was that there was nothing holding me to this vehicle except for my own body. I clutched to my rider tighter and squeezed my knees together.


Happy B'day to Guri and Corner (spelt Cornor on the cake)

Smile please!

Once we got going, I realized riding pillion wasn’t as hard or as terrifying as I expected. It actually felt quite natural. I started to watch the scenery and getting comfortable. I started to love being completely exposed to the world around me on a motorcycle. Not only do you move through the landscape; you get to experience it as you travel. You feel the wind; you smell the grass or jungle or garbage; you hear the sounds of everyday life going on around you, as opposed to being in an enclosed compartment vehicle like the car.

Happy Riders!

These are things you’ll experience at every ride you take up. So what was special about this one? Meeting the Bisons, an overly enthusiastic club consisting of bike-lovers dedicated to their Enfields. What made it all the more appealing was the coordination and the like minded security muster. I never had to worry about my own safety or that of anybody else’s on the road, it was all taken care of brilliantly.

I always believed bikers to be flame-throwers of attitude and rugged lifestyles who would risk everything they have or have ever owned to hit the road with their machine. The men I met that weekend had attitude, but a right one. They were rugged, but only with their jackets. They also risked things to hit the road, but things like a sick leave at work or a weekend with family to gather up every few weeks and share their passion with other like-minded riders who are now known as Bisons to the world and ‘brotherhood’ for reference amongst themselves.

Explaining how a bush works

One thing that this ride and this group taught me is that motorcycles aren’t just for riding. They’re a way of life. For Bisons, their motorcycle is their passport to see the world and riding is literally what they want to do with life. It’s a purpose and a passion. And now to me, riding would mean experiencing the world in a way I would never get to do otherwise, and I can’t imagine a way more fulfilling to travel.

Riddhi, it was nice having you on the ride and we look forward to having you with us again! See you soon on the highway! 

Written by Riddhi Prabhudesai, who is yet to be baptised with a rider name. Any suggestions?