We hear of Oasis in deserts. How that brings a smile to many a weary travellers face, how many search in vain for that drink?
We were 8 of us, riding on our bulls. We had ridden through 9 states for the past 9 days, travelled 3400 + Kms when we saw our oasis. Just outside Guwahati, at Jorabat, there was a huge sign signaling us towards the pit stop that the organizers of the Rider Mania 2013 had informed us a couple of days ago. This was the pitstop where we would re-energise ourselves with cans of Redbulls thoughtfully provided to the riders riding to the Rider Mania.
Our Rider Mania Started here.
You have heard of Woodstock, of Sunburn or large congregations of like minded individuals pursuing their passion. The Rider Mania is our Woodstock.
11 years ago, a group of friends decided to ride to Goa and have fun for a couple of days. They loved it so much they decided to do this every year. They signed off shouting out same time same place next year….
The next year, more bikers joined in and during their meet , they decided meeting in the same place was not so much fun. Our country is so vast and varied, they wanted to travel to 4 corners of the country and still meet up with like minded souls. It was decided to make the hosting of the event a rolling trophy. All attending clubs would bid for the honour of hosting the Rider Mania the next year. The winning club would decide the venue of the event and plan out the entire Rider Mania. Thus began the BOBMC Rider Mania.
From 25 bikes in the first year, the 2012 event saw 750 bikes congregating in Gurgaon hosted by the Royal beasts. But to us riders, it’s the ride to rider mania that thrills as much as the event itself.
When it was decided that “The Royal Enfield Riders Association of Meghalaya” or RERAM Storm Bringers as they like to be called , were hosting the 2013 edition, the moderator stood up and said “ guys, brothers, you are welcome to Shillong, I cant promise you 4 star or 5 star facilities there, it will be raw, hardcore living. But I will promise you 5 million stars. “
When we rode into the venue late on 18th evening, one day prior to the event, we were indeed surprised at the beauty of the place. The 2013 edition of Rider Mania was hosted on the Sohra plateau, overlooking the Bangladesh border on one side and cradled next to the erstwhile wettest place on earth – Cherapunji.
The Boys at RERAM had worked hard and set up dormitories and tents on the plateau for the participants to stay. We quickly set up our tents and set about mingling with our buddies from various other clubs.
The first day of the event saw most of the clubs riding in from various parts of the country. There were clubs from Punjab, chandigarh, jammu, lucknow, Jamshedpur, kolkatta, assam, Nagaland , Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Nagpur etc etc etc.. almost every state had a representation. We even had a club come down from Nepal to attend the festivities.
Traditionally, the first day is dedicated to just meeting up with friends and catching up with each other and swapping bike stories over a hot meal. Some of us who needed to solve a few bike related problems, worked our way to the workshop set up on the site for this purpose. There were stalls set up to sell biker goodies and these were a big hit.
The organisers had planned a small ride to a nearby cave for us to experience and the entire horde of bikes rode to the venue for an afternoon of fun and frolic. We were thrilled to climb down to some beautiful caves and see nature at its absolute best in virgin , untouched pristine beauty.
As the evening set in, it was time for some music. Right in the centre of the venue was a huge stage with state of the art acoustics setup for a night of music and mayhem. The north east is famous for its rock culture and its music and it showed. Band after band kept performing and we kept dancing and loving every moment of it. Needless to say, no one slept that night. Through the cold night, we had bonfires lit up and music blaring to keep us nice toasty and warm.
On Day 2 , the biking games began. We started off with a slow race. Keen competitive spirit and good natured backslapping saw 8 heats and a keenly competed finals capturing our attention for a good 3 hours. The lady riders were not to be left behind and they had their own slow race event also.
We then moved on to what was the signature event of the day- The Dirt track event. There were more than 30 riders participating in the event. Each rider was given a Red bull and it seemed that it indeed gave them wings. The event was a thrilling one and a grand success, measured by the loud cheers when each rider passed by the huge crowds that had gathered to watch.
After a few serious events, it was time to let the hair down. Fun games like grab a banana while riding (no hands only mouth to be used) brought many a smile to the onlookers face. And then it was time for music once again…
As we prepared to leave the venue on day 3, we realized how much we had enjoyed the company of fellow bikers, whom we meet once a year, we interact maybe a couple of times during the year on the phone or via social networking sites, but a friendship is forged. Promises were made to each other to keep in touch more often, but we know whatever happens, we will definitely meet once again in one year – at the next Rider Mania.
Written by Deepak Ananth, Bisons Ride Hard (Mumbai)