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Indian Drives Exclusive: A Special report on The Great Indian Road Trip (GIRT)- Bhubaneswar stoppage (PART- 1)

The Great Indian Road Trip of Xbhp Magazine in collaboration with Castrol (main sponsor),CEAT (co sponsor),  Nokia Lumia (mobile tech partner), Wrangler (styling partner) and Mercedes-Benz (sports car partner) had started last month and completed 9750 km when it reached Bhubaneswar, Orissa on the 34th day of the ride across the Western states and southern states of India. This ride is an elucidation of the paroxysm and grit of comradeship amongst the motorbike riders across the great nation of India. This is also a vindication of a consolidated message of a motorbike being first a safe, socially compatible, educative as well as constructive machine where fun filled activities can also take place without the barriers of age or gender, culture and education. The ride has connected not only the individual riders, but also the motor-biking fraternity and groups across the nation wherever the GIRT team has been.

In this 9750 km, the riders crossed some major cities like Mumbai, Kanyakumari, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Vishakhapatnam before finally reaching to Bhubaneswar on the 14thevening. The correspondent rode down 420 km from his hometown Jamshedpur to Bhubaneswar on his own Royal Enfield Bullet 350cc Std to cover this team of six riders plus one “Bikerni” who rode with them from Hyderabad to Bhubaneswar riding KTM Duke 200 and Honda CBR alternatively. This rider team has almost covered three-fourth of the distance out of 16,000km they are suppose to do by the end of their road trip. On 5 different high performance motorbikes that were running on the oil of Castrol Power 1 while accompanied by a sports car of Mercedes-Benz SLK 350.

Motorbikes at the resort

The Riders

The rider’s team consisted of 45 year old motor-biking veteran Sandeep Goswami, who is the Chief Editorial Advisor of the Xbhp magazine, has the riding experience of more than 6,00,000 kms  in the past 25 years. May be that is another reason why everybody calls him “Old Fox” since he has almost seen two generations of riders and well as the evolution of rides of these types. This Aeronautical Engineer ,who initially worked as an Air Traffic Control officer wrote many articles for travel magazines and also wrote a book called The Great Glory-Sikhism (Rupa Co.), is looked upon as someone who keeps team secure against all kinds of failure, be it mental or technical.

Sundeep Gajjar, who is the founder of XBhp.com as well as the Editor of the magazine XBhp, is extremely passionate about the motor-biking and photography which earns him the nick name “MotoGrapher” other than his usual nick name by which most of the people call him, Sunny. This rider could be a reason for envy to all the other riders as he rode in many countries throughout the world, on the best machines ever made. Two-wheelers and photography seems to be his weakness.

Motorbikes assembled in front of the hotel in Bhubaneswar before the breakfast ride begins
Sunil Gupta is the man you would be finding literally everywhere with his camera. He has done more than 2,00,000 kms which makes him a hardcore motorbiker with a panache for photography. He is the man one would like to have around when they are doing a long ride as he is someone very cool and calm.

Himanshu Gupta is the guy who got in touch with XBhp since 2007 and is the man behind the sales of XBhp magazine since it started.

Abhishek Bhatt from Lucknow is best known for his rides to off-beat places, mostly hills. He loves routes nor recorded anywhere neither has many people ventured in there before. With an experience of 1,50,000 kms, this commerce graduatewho aspire to be a financial consultant, has done a couple of writings for some financial publications since he has got a flair for writing as well. Very soon he intends to get on with his MBA and then start off with his own venture.

A veteran of around 3,00,000 kms on the two wheelers, Shivanshu Singh started riding motorbikes when he visited Australia in 1998. Born in Lucknow but brought up at many places, this young man has special place in his heart for the hills. By profession he belongs to the IT field and he admires his RX100 of 1987 model more than his 2010 model of YamahaR15.

Ashish Guliani has been riding bikes for the past 10 years now and he is into editing videos for the big TV channels of India forthe past five years and more. As of now he is working on the biggest project being the official videographer and video-editor of XBhp covering the GIRT.

The special one

There have been a lot of other riders joining them on their route but then at Hyderabad a young lady from the well known all women’s club “Bikerni”, Sheetal Iyer joined the GIRT team. She mostly rode the 200cc KTM Duke 200 and the Honda CBR 250 in her 1100 km with the GIRT riders. She has been associated with the motorcycle club of Hyderabad, the Highway Nawabs. She was also featured in the reality show “UTV Bindaas Riders” with nine other ladies who did a ride to Leh in 2011. She has been into this riding thing for the past five years now.Although she rode almost all kind of two-wheelers, but to the core she is a Bulleteer who owns a 2008 Royal Enfield Machismo 500 and also is a regular face in the Royal Enfield Rider Mania.

Group Photo Konark
Other than the Mercedes-Benz SLK 350, KTM Duke 200 and Honda CBR 250 there were motorbikes like Kawasaki Ninja 250, Yamaha FZ 1000 and Bandit 1250 in the GIRT team.

On Saturday, when they were almost 60 km from Bhubaneswar the CBR 250 stalled and just wouldn’t start. So they had to tow it for another 10-15 km before they could get a cargo tempo to carry it ahead to the Honda showroom. At 7:00pm in the evening they finally crossed the Toll gate to the city and went straight to the Honda Showroom where the stalled Honda was repaired. While they were busy at the showroom the correspondent met Sandeep Goswami aka Old Fox in the hotel. The discussion went at length where Old Fox shared his wisdom on many things. Later that evening a few of the Bhubaneswar XBhpians came to meet the GIRT team.

The breakfast ride to Konark

The next morning, the street at the front of the hotel was abuzz with the sound of motorbikes and the crowd gathered around them to have a view of something they saw till now only in the movies, posters, and television but not in real life. Other than the GIRT team’s motorbikes, the Bhubaneswar Super-bike club was also present there with their Hayabusa, Intruder and Harley-Davidson.There was one KTM Duke 200 of an XBhpian of Bhubaneswar as well as a Bandit owned by one of the members of Bhubaneswar Super-bike club. Other than the correspondent’s Enfield, there were two Royal Enfield Thunderbirds as well. The breakfast ride started at 7:30am with 20 bikes and by the time all the motorbikes gathered at a beach resort on the Konark-Puri Marine Drive, the total count was 22 different motorbikes and one scooter that did a good 80 kmph with all the other motorbikes.

After the breakfast it was time for photoshoot and signing a pledge on a white helmet by the riders present there. The noble idea of signing a pledge on the white helmet was to promise oneself that they would always wear protective gears and ride safe. The final destination of the day was Knar Sun Temple where allegedly a huge magnet attracted the ships to meet their end at the rocky shores of Konark till the Britishers didn’t remove it.

Pledge signature helmet
Sheetal Iyer has been very enthusiastic in responding to the correspondent when she was asked about her own experience. She said, “The roads were amazing, while the company of expert riders has taught her a lot in terms of riding. It is the first time she rode the performance motorbikes as till now she happily cruised around on her Royal Enfield Bullet”. On the question on how she liked the KTM Duke 200 and CBR 250, she without any second thought gave the KTM Duke 200 all the positive marks while she didn’t seem to like the CBR 250 all that well.

The unique thing in this breakfast ride was the Honda Pleasure owned and maneuvered by Shyam Sharma of Bhubaneswar, who surprised everyone with his low on cubic capacity, but high on GIRT efficiency. An aftermarket free flow silencer increased the performance while a “Poongi” of the cycle-rickshaw of Kolkata adorned the scooter on its left handle. Biswajit from the Super-Bike Club of Bhubaneswar has been very nice to everybody while he was riding the chromiest bike of all, the Intruder of Suzuki. Dibya Acharya from a stunt club of Bhubaneswar and Avik from the Bhubaneswar’s XBhpians were also there throughout the Sunday breakfast ride.

Pleasure and Shyam Sharma

Read More in Part-2

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