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Never too old to ride a Bullet!

Parakram Mishra (Pilani, ’74) is a consultant at Synapsys Mentors Pvt. Ltd. In the article, he shares his passion for riding an 'Enfield Bullet’ and going on road trips. I owned a Jawa (Yezdi) 250cc bike, which I used for commuting, but eventually outgrew it. However, within the depths of my heart, I really wanted to own an Enfield Bullet. Sensing my wish, my wife gifted me one on my 60th birthday. I instantly fell in love with the sand-colored 500cc beauty called the ‘Desert Storm’. The first solo ride I took was from Mohali to Kol Dam, a hydroelectric project of NTPC. My batchmate from BITS Pilani, Jagdish Roy, was the Project Director there, and was supposed to retire in a few days, and I thought of visiting him.

Everything looks better from the inside of a helmet

Once you get hooked to motorcycles there is no going back, and if it prods you incessantly to get on the road, you have to just start your bike and go. There is no greater joy than hitting the road and enjoying the wind whistling past you with the thump of the engine resonating with the beating of your heart. A long road trip in a car is like watching a movie, but when riding the bike, you are like the protagonist in the movie.

One memorable ride was on 26th Jan 2019, India’s Republic Day. The Enfield dealership organized a ride to Ashwini Khad, downhill from the Chandigarh-Shimla highway just before Solan. Surabhi agreed to ride a pillion and we had a great ride. On our way back, while negotiating a hairpin bend uphill on a rocky path, I lost my balance and fell. No injuries or damage but on return, Surabhi decided never to ride with me as she felt unsafe on the pillion. On that cue, I got the pillion seat removed and made it a single-seater bike. The same day, I christened the bike, Kaamini.

Trips with fellow riders

When you start recreational riding you get to know others who share your passion. The younger riders are too fast for ‘senior’ riders. So, I soon found a mature bunch of riders, and we rode regularly to a nice dhaba on the Chandigarh-Baddi road beyond Siswan Dam. This is a great road to ride on and the dhaba serves fabulous tea and bread pakoras. The group calls itself ‘Pracheen Yojna Ayog’ because we meet and make plans for future rides.

One of the ‘yojanas’ that fructified was a ride to Tirthan, a beautiful valley on a narrow road that branches away from the Manali highway before Kullu and winds its way alongside the Tirthan river. It is a 260 km ride and the valley is still off the tourist maps so it is quite different. Great for trout fishing and trekking in the Great Himalayan National Park!

The ride to Chitkul, the last Indian village in Kinnaur before the Indo-Tibetan border was one of the toughest rides I went on. Chitkul is 330 km from my home, and though most of the route is good, the last 40 km from Sangla is a steep climb on a very narrow road used mainly by the Indian Army.

The BITS Pilani Ride

The 72-73 Batch had their 50th Reunion at BITS in mid-November 2022, and two of my friends were to attend the event. It was a great opportunity to meet them, and I took off to Kaamini to meet them. The ride took me through Ambala, Hissar, Bhiwani, and good old Loharu. Riding solo was fun, stopping at roadside teashops, and chatting with local folk.

Upcoming Trips

Upcoming rides include a solo to Jodhpur in February and then a group ride along India’s coastline starting from Gujarat and ending in Calcutta. The coastline ride is very long and will probably take a month to complete. That ride is something that I am really looking forward to.