A painting by Ramachandran, who uses archetypal Indian imagery in his works. (Handout photo)

Easy rider: The biking gear you need for safety and comfort on the road

Bought a bike? That is only half the story … the other half is preparing the right biking gear, accessories and joining communities or groups of bikers for special trips

Namrata Kohli | New Delhi

British motorcycling legend Theresa Wallach said about her passion: “If you are prepared to accept the responsibility of your own actions, then motorcycling can be both safe and thrilling. Riding is an art as well as a craft and no amount of explanation can take the place of experience.”

Hyderabad auto journalist Dino Vault has biked for more than two decades. “My first love was RX100 back in the nineties where I used to see our bhaiyyas from our mohalla riding the two-stroke marvels. I realised at that moment that a motorcycle is more than just a means of transport. She’s a constant companion who never leaves your side,” he said.

Vintage pictures on the internet show Wallach riding a bike in her motorcycle gear. Bikers believe that they must be geared head to toe for any distance: a couple of kilometres or days of riding.

‘Safety first’: Helmet to gloves

“Safety is the first priority. Riding gears have come a long way and investing in the best gears is always recommended. (They are) a good insurance for self. Motorcycle, its CC and accessories don’t really matter much if you are passionate. Apart from that there are a lot of cool gadgets out there to make your ride experience more fun and interesting,” said Mayur Mahanta, founder of Assam Bikers group and a professional traveller.

“If a biker wants to travel long distances and cross countries, like what I’ve done I suggest to have a bike charger and extra cables to be able to charge mobiles, iPod , GoPros,” he said.

A biker must have a mobile holder, puncture kit, handle grip covers, extra brake pads, saddle bags or panniers, auxiliary lights, and reflectors. “I always carry zip locks and small knife and scissor and gorilla tape in my bag. I would change my tyres to tubeless and use the right tyres too,” he said.

Everyday objects like boots and gloves are crucial for safety, said Arbaaz Sha Muzawer, co-founder and chief executive officer of CustomElements, an online gearing company. “The first thing which touches the road when a bike collapses is your feet. If you do not have good riding boots, then your ankle is prone to damage that can last several months. Similarly, people go for good-looking cheap gloves rather than one with good protection to protect your wrist.”

An ISI-certified helmet is the least bikers should opt for. Bikers who ride at high speeds must buy ECE-, DOT- or SNELL-certified helmets. The safest helmet is “full face” as it offers protection to the skull and jaw.

Vault’s favourite helmet is the AGV brand, which is light, offers good protection and has well-laid air vents. “My helmets so far are Agv K3 SV Bollo VR46, Agv K5S, Agv Pista GPRR. Also equally good Scorpion ADX 2 Adv Modular Bluetooth helmet, Icon airframe Carbon Pro, Jackets I have Alpinestars drystar jacket, Dainese full gauntlet gloves,” he said.

A good jacket is next in protection. Good jackets have crash protectors for the back, shoulders and elbows and some shield the chest as well. All good jackets have abrasion resistance to not tear on impact, said a spokesperson for Pathpavers, an e-commerce portal that sells riding gear.

The making of a biker

Maral Yazarloo-Pattrick, who raised in Iran and educated in India, in March 2017 went on a solo biking tour across seven continents. The ride started in India and lasted 18 months during which Maral covered 64 countries and traversed more 110,000 km. “Our society made most people believe you need a man’s body strength, man’s height and man’s attitude to be able to fit in the cool biker image, not addressing that a woman’s strength can overcome most of the difficulties if they set their mind to do so,” she said.

Maral has a black belt in karate, led her college swimming team in college, and played volleyball and softball before she started biking. She trained for seven years before her transcontinental biking trip. “I can’t say everyone needs to be that active to make a successful bike ride but I say a healthy body can help in long distance rides especially if a biker plans a non-stop ride for months or years,” she said.

“Sitting on a bike all day, wearing a helmet which is extra weight on our neck, exposing our body to extreme different climates, having different kinds of food on roads and using our brain to ride and stay safe on different road conditions requires an extremely strong mind and strong body. Yoga poses help a lot after a long ride day, for neck and back and massages for blood circulation.”

Bikers explain their passion with a story from their lives. Vault’s is a love story. “The person who had said I’m the most important person in her life just said in front of everyone that she never wants to see me again. With tears flowing from my eyes, I didn’t utter a single word. I just walked out of the hallway, came down to the parking lot, took my Pulsar 180 and just rode away. I kept riding aimlessly through the highway recalling all the best moments we had together.

“There was hurt, pain, bitterness, hate, insult, all these feelings running through my heart and mind. But as I rode into the sunset, vast open fields, huge mountains, glorious sunset just started healing my scars and wounds that had marred my heart. And then as I stood having a cup of Chai watching the sun set, it felt almost like one chapter in my life was ending and a new beginning awaited me. And lo and behold what a Ride it has been since then. Dino bhai is the name with which the entire biking community addresses me. Not sir, or Mr, but bhai which talks about the connect I have established with my fellow biker brothers across the nation and across the world,” he said.

Riding gear Cost in Rupees
Helmet 3,000-6,000
Jacket 4,500-9,000
Gloves 1,200-3,000
Boots 3200-10,000
Pants 3,000-8,000
Bag 2,500-6,000
Gadgets 2,000-2,00,000

Source: Market Research

Source: Business Standard https://mybs.in/2b2Fd2R

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