The culture of group rides

DECCAN CHRONICLE | SIDHARTH SHAROTRI
Published Jul 26, 2015, 4:43 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 10:23 am IST
Many buy motorcycles nowadays just to ride with clubs

I hate automotive clubs. The idea of people riding or driving together just because they happen to own the same brand of car or motorcycle is as idiotic as associations of people who have the same breed of turtle. ‘What possesses these people’, I wondered, ‘to think that they’ll get along just because they have ONE common interest?’ As a result, I’ve avoided club rides and drives all my life. Until now.

Hyosung, Korean maker of both cruisers and some sports bikes, is the newest kid on the club-ride block. They’re called HyRiders and like any other club, convene in a certain place and then ride in convoy to some out-of-town eatery to take some pictures before riding back in convoy. Except they don’t ride in convoy. We’ll address that in a bit.

 

So, my first ever club ride was in Bengaluru with 60 other bikes and I was given the smallest one — a GT250. This tiny V-twin was wrapped up in a huge body into which you could’ve easily fit a 600cc motor. Anyway, after presuming that this was going to be a little more than a procession, we set off for breakfast some 40 kilometres away.

It all seemed quite civilised to begin with. Everyone set off in roughly two (actually four) files. Once we hit the highway things changed completely. Some people worked out that they were Mike Hailwood in their past lives and took off. In the very least, that’s a bit dangerous. Untrained riders racing on public roads. It has the capacity to blow up into front page news. Mercifully, this particular Sunday morning was devoid of incident.

South Indian breakfast done with, Hyosung broke out its entertainers who made people mime their favourite movie star, sing, arm wrestle and, well, you get the drift. Although it was fast beginning to resemble a corporate “outbound”, the crowd liked it.

Strange, isn’t it? Hyosung is Korean. They’ve got no culture and heritage like Triumph or Harley Davidson, but they’re selling in good numbers in India. More than that, there are the beginnings of a culture here. It appears that Hyosung attracts the kind of people who get along well with each other. They may have some issues as far as discipline on the road is concerned, but they’re a new club. They need time to mature and ride as one unit. And that is crucial for any organised, enthusiasts’ club.

 


The bike I rode? Well, it needs a few tweaks. Like a sixth gear. And tyres that don’t fidget halfway around a sweeping corner. Otherwise it’s not bad at all. Many buy motorcycles nowadays just to ride with clubs. And that’s fine for some. But for me, motorcycling is a more individual experience. When you ride alone, you can go wherever you want, keep whatever pace you want, stop for tea; you’re basically completely free. And that’s what motorcycling is for me.

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