[Photo Feature] India Bike Week 2014, Chai Pakoda Ride. Kolkata Chapter. 390 Duke. (Video)

Most of you must know about the India Bike Week. For those who don’t here is a small introduction. India Bike week is where all of India’s hardcore bikers meet up once a year. Its one great party of bikers and you can see almost all the bikes that you only see in wallpapers. Last year even a Y2K (jet engine powered motorcycle) made it there.

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The fact that it’s done in Goa only adds to the glamour of the event. After all who doesn’t know about all the hot Russian and European women that Goa has to offer? Superbikes, events, riding gear stalls, biker clubs, great music and super hot chicks. Well that’s India Bike Week for you.

2014 edition of India Bike week is going to kick off in just a few months time; January 17th and 18th at Goa. To promote the event, they are organising rides in many major cities. Christened ‘Chai Pakoda Run’ this is practically the local version of India bike week.
You can find more details on the next run on their Facebook page.

It all started with a post on Facebook. India Bike week was in town. They were doing the run in Kolkata. Honestly I was in two minds. Sure, it was on a Sunday but I had just been on a little ride to the same location on the week before. I didn’t know who would show up. I expected it to be the same mash up of R1 and Hayabusas with a few Harley Davidson thrown in for a little variety. I even thought of giving it a miss. I am glad I didn’t.

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On Saturday night, the day before the run, I was sitting blankly in front of my computer. Perhaps I had lost the energy to work anymore that night and maybe there wasn’t much going on Facebook either. So I was just sitting there, bashing some enemies on virtual reality. Saddam of KTM Kolkata called me. He wanted to confirm that whether I would be joining him. I didn’t pick up. I thought it over. The open roads were calling me. The location was about 100 km away from the city. The drive was on NH-2 and a beautiful expressway. I just couldn’t resist. I called back and confirmed him.

The next morning, I was supposed to wait for him a 5:30. I was about 2 minutes late. (Courtesy; clock of Duke 390). I called him, and he hadn’t even left his home yet! So I just waited there in front of the KTM showroom, which incidentally falls on the way to the location. While I waited I snapped a few pictures of the bike (like the one above).

It was getting around 6:30 and he still hadn’t shown up. I was getting sleepy, just sitting there so I decided to roll gently and let him catch up. But I didn’t buy the 390 just to roll around. By the time I hit the picturesque Belghoria expressway, I was already doing 80-90 km/ h.  This expressway is really a work of art and it feels more European than Indian, if you ask me.

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Me; on the Belghoria Expressway en Route to NH-2 (file picture)

So I had made it to NH-2 and more bikers had joined in. I waited for another half an hour while he arrived. He also had another 390 owner with him. We set off. The other bikes on road thus far were the run of the mill models and no superbikes till then. Frankly, I was a bit disappointed.

We took another stop near the Toll booth. And then I understood what it’s all about. A huge band of bikers were hanging out. They were about to start the ride. A few Harley models were around and they were snarling. A Ferrari 458 Italia zoomed away! It was so fast that by the time I got my camera on, it had vanished into the Horizon! But I was already on record mode. And a small group of Superbikes zoomed by (refer video). I knew it right then. It was on!

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(I found the Ferrari again at Azad Hind Dhaba)

Bengal’s only lady biker’s group was riding with us. They had agreed on a 70-80 km/ h average. But we were doing less than that. I was behind the group taking my time, trying to slow myself down. But soon I was leading and they were falling behind. The trip was eventless apart from 2 things. A Hayabusa overtook me at around the speed of 160 km/ h (estimated) and he made a very close overtake. That really startled me. But it was really enjoyable, in retrospect. The second thing was that I tried chasing a Porsche. I could keep up for a few minutes. But it was doing speeds of around 140, and I had to slow down, I had already left the group far behind.

When we reached Azad Hind Dhaba, the scene had already heated up. A long line of Superbikes had piled up, with another lot about to come in. There were 2 Ferrari Italia supercars and they turned as many heads if not more than the Superbikes. I had no idea that Kolkata even had such cars.

India-Bike-Week-Chai-Pakoda-Kolkata-Chapter (3)(The black Hayabusa was the one which had over taken me: BAD BUSA)

But I was in for more surprises. Checking out the Parking lot I found a Ducati Monster 795 and even a BMW S1000RR joined in. Those who live in Eastern India know how rare it is to spot such bikes here. And then there it was in white sparkling glory, the Aprillia RSV4!

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(Look who came to Town? It’s the RSV 4)

I was overwhelmed. And even our Beautiful bikes were seriously outclassed! But it was alright. I was feeling blessed. Only an RC8 would have completed the line up.

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Most of the riders of Superbikes wore adequate safety gear and very expensive Helmets from brands like ARAI, HJC and AGV. Some even had one piece leather suits. It was good to know that people are slowly catching up to safety needs. Though some people were riding those big bikes on the highway around the Dhaba without helmet and that was really unnecessary. It was even good to see that some Harley riders with adequate riding gear as well, as most of them still stick to those half-helmets and not much else.

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The sponsors of the show gave out India Bike Week Bandanas to registered biker groups’ leaders. This was followed by a small speech about the electrifying atmosphere of the India Bike Week in Goa. (Refer video after the post)

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Chai and Pakoda were served soon after, courtesy of the sponsors. And they disappeared faster than the Hayabusa that had overtaken me. I guess a 100 km ride provides very hungry bikers! It was the time to return. After saying goodbye to all the superbikes and that antique Shelby Cobra, I saddled up on my 390, adjusted all the riding gear and started the journey back home.

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(The KTM line up at Azad Hind)

The ride back was a memorable one with people gathered on both sides of the highway, cheering and waving at us. Reminded me a bit of road races like Isle of Man TT. My first servicing had already been completed and I was freely doing a 100- 130 km/ h on the way back. I even saw 158 once on the speedo.

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(A classic Cobra by Shelby)

India Bike Week, Kolkata Edition, Chai Pakoda Run was a great success. It supposedly had even more bikers present, than the Mumbai chapter (as per the IBW team spokesperson)! It was an event to remember, and the sponsors said the atmosphere is just 10 times more at Goa. He may be understating in that comment. I don’t know whether my profession will allow me to be a part of India Bike Week this year. But if you are a biker, try and block out January 17th and 18th on your calendar. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

– Rahul Mazumder

India Bike Week Chai Pakoda Ride Video