Jaipur’s water sure has some elixir as the most eclectic and passionate bunch of personalities live here. As layer by layer and raasta by raasta, the city reveals itself; the stories here are as many about the people as they are about the culture.
This is a Biker’s story. Saxon’s 1980’s hit ‘Motorcycle Man’ is already playing in our heads as we come up with this piece.
Perhaps earlier in Jaipur, men rode the horses but today it seems that the coolest bikes and bikers in the country are from here. Furthering this sister/brotherhood of traveling Leather Pants, comes the Harley Davidson – Dunes HOGS, Jaipur chapter. Most avid and zealous bikers, they are riding the roads and highways of India from Leh to Rameshwaram like none other. Recently we saw one such meet where 16 HOG Riders from Jaipur chapter and another 16 from Udaipur and Jodhpur got together and rode all the way up to Indore (700 km) in 11 hours straight for the 5th Eastern H.O.G rally & back !! Wow! That sure is courageous 🙂
Now, these men are all impressive, to say the least with their fervor and enthusiasm, but one person out of them who really stood out for his exceptional ardor was the eldest rider of the group. We got to know passion knows no age, no reason and no season as we met, Dr. Shekhar Verma. A retired 65-year-old Rajasthan University, Zoology professor by the day and an automobile enthusiast by the night. His alter ego has been zipping through the streets of Jaipur for 4 decades now. This stretch of 700 km was his longest ride on his bike in one go 🙂
As we found out about him, we literally couldn’t hold our horses and wanted to know more about this ‘Motorcycle man’. His years of biking have seen him own many a bike, with him getting his first scooter, an Italian made Lambretta when he was all of 18. There has been no looking back for him ever since. The chronology goes- Lambretta – Yezdi – Indi Suzuki- KB 100 RTZ – Kawasaki Eliminator-BSA 350 – and finally the magnificent Harley Davidson Street Bob when he retired. Doesn’t that sounds like one heck of a ride ? 😀
His love for automobiles of all kinds is legendary and all-consuming. From flying a life-size plane to collecting, making models of cars, bikes, aero modeling and then flying these radio controlled planes, he has done it all and that too in our own city of Jaipur !! His love and penchant for flying meant he went ahead and joined a private flying club here in Jaipur and earned his private pilot’s license way back in the 80s by first flying a Glider and then a Cessna plane. He has participated in umpteen rallies both car and bike as a participant as well as an official. He is a regular at both the endurance rallies in the country- Raid De Himalayas for the last 13 years as well as the Desert Storm year after year, come hail, dust or storm.
Of course, there are so many not so dangerous, cool perks which come with riding a bike. His collection of 12 stunning designer helmets and the rest of his riding accessories- the leather jackets , protection gear, riding boots, the colorful and so cool insignia patches, and high visibility stickers make some very compelling arguments in its favor.
He has traveled the country and around the world following his passion for catching and being a part of some of the amazing motor events. His first long distance ride was Ajmer- Kota on his then Lambretta . Since then, be it Formula 1, Dirt Bike Racing, Monster Trucks or Isle of Man, the annual cross -country motorcycle race ,he has gone and seen them all. On being asked having covered Air and Land, perhaps only a submarine remains to be ticked off the list? Pat came the reply that if not manning, he has been aboard a U-505 German Submarine from the 2nd world war captured by the US exhibited in Chicago.
We asked him what is his favorite ride that he remembers and why he does what he does. His reply couldn’t have been simpler. The sound of a perfectly tuned engine of his bike as the background music any day anywhere make for his favorite ride. It makes him happy and content all the way through.
Now that is what we truly call Passion, Mr. Motorcycle Man!