If you’re a biker (if you’re not one,get a bike ASAP or GTFO), you would have by this time realised that biking in India is a skart – skill+art. You need the skill to manouver your vehicle amidst the killer traffic and cursing the fellow sharers of your road space with the choicest of swear words within 2 seconds is an art unto itself.
By a bike I mean this :
as well as this :
Survival Tip #1 : Cyclists are your worst enemy.
They are on the most unstable vehicles ever invented. And they need to ride on the extreme right. ALWAYS. It’s an insult to their creed if they ride anywhere even remotely close to the much-encroached-upon kerb. And they cannot ride in one particular direction for a time period ≥ 10 seconds. They swing. They sway. And yet, if you hit them, you gotta pay for whatever damages they claim. That can even include, “You hit me and as a result of that I’m feeling slightly dizzy. Pay up. NOW.” ->True story..happened on the most happening road in Chennai, Anna Salai, a few days ago. ‘Dizzy’ but is stable enough to extort money from the unlucky biker. What the actual fuck?
And don’t even get me started on pedestrians. But I guess they can’t be blamed. The pavement does not exist and they have nowhere else to walk on except on the road. But what really pisses me off is when they decide to gamble with their lives and attempt to cross the road right in front of you. Talk about foolhardiness.
Survival Tip #2 : Never ride on the left side of the road near atraffic light at a major intersection, except when you’re gonna turn or stop.
If you do, you get robbed. Traffic policemen or ‘Mama’ as they are fondly referred to by the people of Tamil Nadu are waiting for you. The minute they see you, one of them steps out bravely into the middle of the road, points his finger at you, and stands in your way, waving you to the left at the same time. Once you stop, he promptly removes the key from your vehicle. What follows next is a convo which more or less resembles this one:
Me: Sir, what’s wrong?
Police: Do you have a license?
Me (flashing it with a smug look): Yes, sir.
Police (examining it from every angle): RC Book?
Me (bringing out with a flourish) : Yes, sir.
Police : Insurance?
Me (wth?) : Yes, sir.
Police (still seeing whether i chose United India Insurance or whatever) : Helmet?
Me (tapping my helmet) : Yes. (DUH!)
Police : Where are you going? (very relevant)
Me : Beach.
Police : Alright. It’s the month end and I’m low on cash, gimme some quick!
Me : Sir, but I thought everything was fine?!
Police : Do you want to pay now or pay up in the court? (WTF???!!)
Me : Here, I have only 20.
Police : OK. Give it to me. And don’t repeat your mistake. (I will never ride on the left. EVER!)
Even if it’s the 1st day of the month, you will still get robbed. The excuses just keep getting more and more pathetic.
Survival Tip #3 : A helmet is your best friend.
It truly is. It saves you from a head injury if you get thrown off your bike (which in all probability can happen to anybody) and the visor protects your peepers from the dust that is thrown up when you ride. Wear a helmet and ride safe. Don’t misuse it. I’ve known so many underage riders who got off with it just ’cause they had a helmet on. Do that at your own risk. Your insurance on your bike amounts to nothing if the rider does not hold a license.
Survival Tip #4 : Kiss your suspension goodbye the minute you buy your bike.
Potholes. Puddles. Open manholes. Speed breakers. Indian roads got ’em all. You can’t avoid them. You may swerve and cut and turn all you like, but you just can’t avoid them. They are omnipresent. They are the reason Moov sells so quickly along with Emami Fast Relief and all other ache gels. They will wear out your bike’s world class suspension system with impunity. Shock absorbers are spirals of metal and carbon fibre. They are the reason your vertebral column is still in one piece…ok 33 pieces all in one piece. Don’t be too happy though, there’s a limit to how much your back can withstand. And btw, don’t forget to change your bike’s suspension at least once or twice a year.
Survival Tip #5 : The last and final one – Most motorcycle problems are caused by the nut that connects the handlebars to the saddle.
Ride safe and be safe. Happy biking !
Till the next time,