Road to Mussoorie: the pleasure of a motor

There was a film I had seen in the 1970s with an intriguing name – “If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium”, the long-forgotten plot. If it’s around 7 a.m. on Mussoorie Road, and I hear the typical Harley Davidson offbeat blat-blat-blat-blat, I know it’s Saturday.

Harleys are in spades in Dehradun and every Saturday, rain or shine, the HOGs make their weekly pilgrimage to Mussoorie or beyond. They bother late risers with their loud exhaust noise, all the headlights on, their riders lazily settled into their low seats, feet first, open helmets, silk scarves and leather jackets. I envy the looks they demand from passers-by, but not their ride. I know for sure the discomforts of having your right calf slowly roasted moderately rare by the twin exhausts on slow commutes and hot days, the inability to raise your seat foundation when rolling over a bump. They personify lazy driving, more suited to straight, rolling interstate highways, not the narrow, winding roads of Uttarakhand, but damn it, if you’ve got the cash to spend, why not flaunt it?

Then there’s the frenetic passing and banshee scream of the high-revving Kawasaki Ninjas. There are about ten 900 or 1000cc Ninjas in Dehradun. In their Kawasaki Green livery, the riders in their full face mask helmets leaned in, rattling the gearbox through the curves, rocking their underpinnings on the seat to get just the right angle of lean, they’re a visual treat. I envy their drive and the sheer physics of fast driving through the myriad curves of the 18km stretch between Dehradun and Mussoorie. They announce their passage over a kilometer away, here are the Ninjas!

Then there are the Triumphs with their almost soothing parallel twin exhaust, closely imitated by our own Royal Enfield Interceptors. Riders sitting upright with their hands comfortable on the handlebars are a visual delight, a throwback to the days of simple motorcycling. Bullets and their ilk are not entities, there are simply too many of them. One day I noticed an unfamiliar figure, chased it away and discovered it was a Mondial 300! And I thought the Italian marquee was long dead and buried in the motorcycle brand graveyard!

There are exactly two Mustangs in Dehradun, one fiery red and the other neon yellow, with off-center black stripes. I pity the owners, because according to my calculations, these behemoths with their 5-litre V8 engines probably never manage to get out of second gear!

One of the most stunning sights was a gray BMW Z3 followed by a Ferrari 911, probably both with their roofs down continuing towards Mussoorie.



The opinions expressed above are those of the author.


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