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Old 26th March 2017, 14:54   #1
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Default Superbike Group Ride in Mumbai - A mixed bag of an experience

It was a big ride; many people were coming. Following the chatter on WhatsApp groups, I figured that the total count would cross 50 for sure. During my group rides on previous few weekends, the groups were always about 8 - 10 people strong, seldom more than 12. Even with those smaller groups, I have always had a hard time keeping up with the rest of the riders. I imagined things would be worse for me today.

I got up on time, readied and geared myself up with whatever little I have bought so far. I was to meet another rider from the Thane area on the way to first meeting point. Normally, the first meeting point would be near the edge of the city, a spot by the roadside. A cup of tea is the max one could expect at such a spot and even that would be hard to find. But today, the meeting point was set in the heart of the city at a lavish hotel, with a full buffet for breakfast.

I followed the rider from Thane to the meeting point as per plan. We reached at around 6:30. People had started to gather by then. A rather large area was designated for parking the bikes. Hotel people and organizers were coordinating parking and helped everyone line up their bikes properly for a good photograph. I saw that a number of professional photographers were in action with detailed gear. My Thane buddy had already gotten frustrated riding slowly with me, so he summarily disappeared among his other friends. Many people seemed to have met folks they didn't see that often and socializing was on in full swing. I started to try and eavesdrop here and there to hook onto some interesting conversations. Mostly, people were worried about the buffet. Given that everyone had to wake up very early and had to ride anything between 10 and 40 km to reach here, most couldn't finish the toilet process to their full satisfaction. So, making good of the buffet needed some brainstorming, strategizing and collective figuring out. None of the ideas popping up seemed to be useful or effective.

I looked around to find a few other people like me, for whom superbikes still haven't become so mundane. I noticed a few guys standing here and there alone or in twos. I approached a few of them and in some time a small new guys' circle formed up. I shared my concern with my slow riding speed and its effect on the group. Most of them didn't seem too bothered about this and dismissed my concerns. They really didn’t seem to get what I was concerned about given that I had 115 horses at my beck and call.

The discussion among the new riders mostly revolved around riding gear. I had a keen interest in this as I haven't yet really gotten around to buying everything I should. During my last ride, I have received a light to medium scold from the group seniors. I had to promise a really fast turnaround time to get away. Most of the guys had purchased full set of stuff already - high-end helmets, jackets, gloves, riding pants and knee guards, shoes etc. I coined the topic of my discomfort with riding gear a couple of times, but people dismissed it immediately. Gear is essential for safe riding; rider comfort is a distant second in priority. If one wears proper gear, then a crash at 150 or 200 too is survivable. I couldn't disagree with that.

In my mind, I kind of differed with the general opinion there. I have grown up believing that control and precision takes priority above everything else in any kind of motorized vehicle. While riding this motorcycle, I have found that these motorcycles are way more sensitive to control inputs than anything else I have ridden before. In my terms, this means that subtlety is the key to riding these machines. A light touch on the brake and a few degrees of throttle is all it takes to move ahead over any kind of road. The finesse and accuracy of those inputs decide how surefooted I ride. Dumbing down everything with layers and layers of cow leather and then follow the golden principal of "when in doubt, throttle it out" - well, that's not my thing! But given the popular opinion, it was better to stay shut as I didn't want to get kicked out of the group. Any word against riding gear immediately gets one branded as careless and reckless. Little by little, I was losing faith in my way of thinking after hearing these counter opinions over and over again. I made a mental note to do more research on this later. For now, it was time to explore and make new friends and enjoy this awesome day in the company of those wonderful people.

Among these new members, I hit it off with a guy who works in the merchant navy. He had a full motovlogging setup with GoPro and many other hi-tech items. His riding gear was also quite elaborate. Initially I thought that he was a seasoned rider, but in a while I came to know that so far he rode only a basic commuter. He got his Ducati in the same week that I did. He was supposed to report back to his ship in April, so he was very eager to make the most of the time he had on land. He had done a number of short solo rides already and seemed to have developed much better control on the machine than me. I asked him to give me a quick tip or two to improve my own riding. He enthusiastically said that only by wearing proper riding gear he felt confident at high speed riding. As per his discovery so far, there wasn't that much difference in sport riding and normal riding, given that one has adequate protection. He told me that I needed to push a little as nobody learns swimming standing on land.

We chatted a little about how the culture of motovlogging has taken speed biking in our country to a new level. Even top speed videos are coming out these days. Earlier, people didn't attempt top speeds that often in India. We also discussed in detail about his arduous journey in mounting the GoPro camera on his helmet. He had to mix one part pasted red ants with three parts of M-Seal and a spoon full of kite egg yolk and then soak the resulting goo in puncture sealing slime for six nights. He also mentioned that the experience gathered from building a bird cage had been invaluable in this regard. I was kind of looking here and there to avoid a detail description on how to build a bird cage from old Hawai chappal, copper sulphate and voodoo mix glue.

Thankfully, before he could delve deeper into that bird cage, the buffet opened and we went on to eat. The food was good, so I too rued the fact that I couldn't make the best use of the opportunity. Keeping the belly jarring ride for next few hours in mind, I thought it's better to keep my greed on control and bowel not too loaded. After the breakfast, the seniors checked everyone's gear. I got off with a light scold this time too for not wearing the knee guard and not wearing leather gloves. But there were a few bigger defaulters and we were getting late, so I escaped quickly this time. After this checking, people were asked to assemble in some sort of formation for photography. After that was done, we were instructed to ride to the first regrouping point about 15 km away. It was about 7:30 now and traffic was increasing slowly. 50 big bikes with their sounds woke people up.

I reached the first regrouping point under the Vashi flyover on Palm Beach Road in about 20-25 minutes. Pretty much all the riders were already there and had taken off their gloves and helmets. I was becoming the official laggard of the group. Few guys asked me if I was ever insulted deeply by Ducati folks. They suspected this because my way of riding a Ducati was doing to the brand what the ancient Indian king’s usage of Rolls Royce for collecting garbage did to that brand. I had stopped bothering about such remarks long back.

We were asked to wait a little as the car carrying the photographers couldn't keep up and was expected in another 15 minutes. For some reason, it stretched up to 45 minutes. It was almost quarter to nine and it was getting hot. People too were becoming impatient as the traffic on the road to Lonavala increases a lot after 10 o’clock. Some people were contemplating ditching the group and riding ahead as they didn't care much about photographs. But, the organizers and group seniors managed to keep everyone anchored till the camera car arrived. They did some shoots and we are given the green signal. We were to regroup one last time at Kalamboli Circle before getting out of city.

People started riding very fast from here. The traffic on Palm Beach Road was still not heavy and mostly everyone pulled to the left hearing the roar of so many superbikes. I saw that I suck no matter what the road size or condition is. Here too I entertained those bystanders who couldn't pull out their cameras before the cavalry passed. People with low-end phones with slow auto focus also got good shots, thanks to me.

At Kalamboli again I reached after almost everyone had already reached, ungeared, drank water, peed, smoked, geared up again and then was waiting for a while for the laggards to turn up. We were asked to ride through Panvel city till Shedung toll naka on old NH4. Now the traffic was substantially dense and full of autos, Scootys and dumdums. I was actually happy as I am much better at keeping up with the traffic than really exploiting a fast, open road. Experienced riders picked up the pace and started to cut through the traffic, but still, they couldn't get very far ahead of me. I had a first-hand opportunity to witness their riding smoothness and exceptional precision of control. Whenever there was a gap, they would start their indicators, accelerate a little keeping the throttle at minimal so that other people do not get alarmed and then pass.

Sometimes they went into the opposite lane but with calculated precision and tucked in after each pass. I took the opportunity to watch and learn. For quite some time, I was able to replicate their maneuvers and felt very happy to have done so. This was the reason I got into the group thing, to learn on the road till I can make the cash and have time for CSS.

But, a few new riders were now getting a little edgy. It was getting hotter and the traffic did not let up. Some of them started aggressively cutting through traffic and riding fast in the oncoming lane. Instead of tucking in every now and then, they kept on the opposite lane and was overtaking 10-15 vehicles at once. Quite a few of them passed the seniors and raced ahead. It's hard to say for sure, but speed seems to cross well into three digits where the general traffic was moving at hardly 25. After a while, the long Panvel city bridge started. The traffic reduced a little and everyone started ripping. The seniors found some space and vanished up ahead quickly. Bike after bike crossed me from behind and accelerated away towards Shedung.

I was getting towards the edge of my comfort zone. Even with less traffic, the Panvel bridge isn't really ideal for fast riding with my kind of experience. There was lots of sand and dust by the edges and the road surface, while not broken, was quite uneven. Too much speed makes the bikes jump and loose grip. There are a few curves on that bridge as well. I saw riders leaning and taking them in true sports bike style.

As always, I gradually fell back and the sweeper collected me. I was near the middle of the bridge when I saw quite a few superbikes parked by the side and some riders waving profusely. My heart sank.

I parked my bike by the side and walked ahead to find out what happened. A few riders had gathered on the divider and on the other side of the road. I ran into the crowd and saw my GoPro-mounted friend from the morning lying on the other side of the road in a pool of blood. His bike, a dark Monster 821, was lying on the road about 100-150 meters away. He was alive but his left hand was broken and forearm almost severed just below the elbow.

There was a hospital by the right side of the flyover. We could see it from there, not more than 200 meters ahead. Some guys went to the side and hollered an auto from below the bridge. The auto came up in a minute or two from the ST stand below. I got into the auto from the right side while he was pushed in from the left. Riders had tried to tourniquet his hand at a few places to control the bleeding, but it was too damaged to be held with just tourniquet. I somehow managed to rest his head on my chest and held his broken hand together with both my hands. It was just a 5 minute ride in that auto, but it seemed like a lifetime. As per instructions of other riders, I tried to speak with him to keep him conscious. He wasn't responding much to what I said. I wonder if he could even hear me. I wonder if even I was hearing what I was saying. His eyes were blank and all he could murmur was water. I couldn't give him any water as he would need to go in to surgery straight away, the seniors strictly instructed me to that effect.

Other riders had already alerted the hospital and the emergency crew was ready. As soon as I reached, they ran out with a stretcher. It was quite a job to get him out of the auto and put him on the stretcher. The hospital folks didn't know the condition of his hand yet, so I kept telling them to be careful. I later realized that it wasn't necessary, they knew what they were doing and they actually had to engage one guy to help me out of the auto. After pulling myself out of the auto, my knees gave way and I almost fell to the ground, held and supported by a hospital staff.

I went inside the ER room behind the stretcher. The doctor immediately started to clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide and iodine. Now I had a good look at his hand. It was broken at least in three places, one big bone fragment about 2 inches long was protruding out. It seemed have come out of the axial alignment completely. The muscles had torn and as far as I could tell, veins and arteries got cut too.

From the ER they shifted him to ICU. The group seniors had tried to reach his family, but weren't successful. The doctors said that the surgery must begin immediately as any delay will greatly diminish his chances of reviving his hand. As his parents or family was still not reachable, group seniors discussed and gave a "go ahead" for the surgery. I made the deposit for beginning the surgery as there was no time for his family to turn up for making the payment. The hospital staff wheeled him into the OT immediately after.

I was given a paper by the hospital, which needed to be submitted and acknowledged at the police station. I received the earful of my life at that police station. I came to know that there is a minimum of one accident by default every Sunday in that region. They are just thankful that we didn't kill anyone. I too am thankful for that. Quite a lot. Anyways, as there was no complaint and no third-party damage, I was let off after doing the paperwork and taking some valuable advice.

After that I returned to hospital. The surgery had begun by then. Hats off to the hospital for assembling a number of doctors, including an orthopaedic surgeon, plastic surgeon, anaesthesia expert and a few others on such a short notice on a Sunday morning. There wasn't much to do for us other than wait for his family to arrive. His family was quite shocked when they got the news. His father is aged and took a while to absorb the news. They needed at least 3 hours to reach. Now, the seniors started asking everyone to move on. 50 super bikes parked in the hospital was drawing a crowd and there was always a possibility of the crowd getting angry with us. Five riders including me and few seniors stayed back and all others left one by one without making noise.

His family arrived around 2 o'clock. I helped them with the paperwork I had done so far and handed over his personal belongings. His father seemed very upset. He wasn't at all comfortable with the idea of a superbike to begin with. His mother too was very worried, but she seemed relieved that the ultimate bad news was averted. She didn’t speak much, I just felt that way looking at her. I can really not imagine what a mother’s mind goes through on a day like this.

Around 2:30 we left the hospital. I decided to go back home as I neither had the energy nor the mood to go to Lonavala anymore. I had kept my jacket and helmet at the reception. My gloves were stuffed in the helmet by someone. I was relieved to see that I didn't lose anything in that commotion. Everything was there. I left from hospital and started riding towards home, rather slowly.

After a while, maybe 10 odd minutes, I felt a little weird. I couldn't immediately figure out what it was, but it was a very weird feeling. I thought the shock was catching up. But it wasn't that, I realized what it was in a short while. While picking the guy up in the auto, my gloves got drenched in his blood. Now it has seeped into the helmet lining as the gloves were kept inside the helmet. There was that deep smell of blood inside my helmet. I opened the visor, but it didn't get any better.

I cannot really express how I felt during the 40 km ride home with that smell of blood hovering in my head. There was just one question in my mind. What pushed him and a bunch of other people, sensible and mature otherwise, to ride maniacally on public roads, full of traffic and everyday people? Were they taking their top dollar riding gear as a pill to immortality? Or was it just plain, freak, bad luck?

I hope I never have to ride again consumed with that smell and those thoughts.

Last edited by Aditya : 27th March 2017 at 13:19. Reason: Spacing, spelling
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Old 26th March 2017, 17:37   #2
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Default Re: Red Ducati Monster 821 - Initial ownership report

The above post should be made sticky in the superbikes section.

So many riders seem to think that just because they have upgraded their bikes from "India spec" to "Superbike spec", the world around them has also changed from Indian traffic conditions to Autobahn conditions.

When I ride in a group, riders are easily doing 100 kmph+ on rural roads. I am generally the last to arrive at a halt.

On a two lane rural road, where tractors, bullock carts, buses, animals and pedestrians consider it their daily commute, does it make sense to speed so much?

Even if you full racing gear on, does it magically make the road conditions disappear? What kind of evasive maneuvers are you gonna take when a cow decides to cross the road?

I think senior riders in all biking groups should strictly enforce top speed and acceleration limits on public roads, which are variable according to common sense and not according to their bike or gear capability.
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Old 26th March 2017, 17:43   #3
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Default Re: Red Ducati Monster 821 - Initial ownership report

Reading your post above, I am saddened, shocked but not surprised. Most of the riding idiots I have encountered are from a superbike owning group. I wonder what kind of ride leader/s did you have that day, who were more interested in pushing pace, waiting for photographers instead of making each rider comfortable and preventing bad habits like lane cutting and overspeeding. Every ride needs to have a fixed speed (with a little leeway), riding rules, fixed lead and tail and proper instructions to ensure a smooth formation is followed. Riding like junglees and expecting riding gear to act like esp/abd/traction control and hide ones limited skills is pretty stupid imo.
Not too long back, there was a big hungama regarding a HOG group who had abandoned a fellow rider on a trip to Goa. Forget the controversy, no one bothered to explain why did the allegedly drunk rider continue to ride until he collided with a dumper doing 5kmph and died? Where were the group lead and sweep?..similar issues

Last edited by apachelongbow : 26th March 2017 at 17:49.
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Old 26th March 2017, 18:56   #4
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Default Re: Red Ducati Monster 821 - Initial ownership report

I can relate to each me every word you said Sen - especially regarding the slow riding. It is not everyone's cup of tea to just get onto a Superbike and ride fast. You need to be in your comfort and secure zone when you are riding a motorcycle - and this differs from rider to rider. My zone was < 100 kmph on my Z800 which was half of most other riders in the group. Fortunately the group I ride with do not have a problem at all and always politely asked me to "up" my speed just to catch up with the last rider so I am not left alone and way behind (incase of any mishaps....No one would know).

In almost all of my rides (actually ALL) I have always been the last one to arrive at my destination. I had an excuse for my first ride - that I was running it in. The next ride to Lonavala with the Kawasaki guys, I reached Kamats hotel a good 1.5 late when all had finished breakfast and were doing a photoshoot. Most of us left the venue to return to Mumbai together while some rose halfway to Pune. You won't believe, I was at Kalamboli when they overtook me .... It was so embarrassing. But I kept going at my own pace and didn't not ride fast to keep up with them. I tried that a couple of times trying to ride fast and catch up - but I felt I wasn't confident at all and was really pushing myself and getting stressed out. Fortunately I had no issues with them about riding slow - they were only concerned that I was being left out way behind.

My ride with the Triumph group also to Malsej was the most unforgettable one. I was riding with a group of more than 10 riders - including 2 Enfields. On the way to Malsej we had a couple of chai/coffee halts - where I would catch-up with them. I guess they realised that I wasn't a seasoned rider - so the 2 Enfields remained behind me on either sides till I reached Malsej. I am sure they could have just overtaken me and enjoyed their ride on those twisting roads. But they chose to stay back - I actually felt (and I told them as well) that I was riding with my guardian angels behind me. I also asked them to ride ahead and enjoy their ride so someone on the Bonneville stayed with me for a good stretch on my way back. And not to forget the rest of the group kept halting for me to catch-up.

I think the main reason for us "Captain Slows" are that we never graduated to a Superbike. It was just an impulsive decision to fulfil a dream of owning a Superbike. I am sure if we had upgraded to a Superbike , things would have been different. CrAzY dRiVeR's thread here clearly explains it.

To conclude :
1. Don't play catch n cook. Ride at your own pace. Remember at the end of the ride, you have to reach home to your parents and loved ones. So better late than never.
2. Everyone ... Even the most seasoned rider will be slower than the other. They all have their limits and it's essential that you know your limits. Do not ride beyond it.
3. The guilt will always be there that you are slowing up someone because they are continuously waiting for you instead of enjoying their ride. Still DONT push yourself.
4. I have been asked a couple of times to enrol Into CSS to improve my riding skills.

Take care and ride safe!

Last edited by Rehaan : 28th April 2017 at 13:23. Reason: Changing name, as you've linked to "CrAzY dRiVeR's thread" (not Hammer & Anvil's)
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Old 26th March 2017, 19:47   #5
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Default Re: Red Ducati Monster 821 - Initial ownership report

Brilliant post sen2009. Very engaging read. Hope your friend is fine now.

Whenever I read such things, I always get reminded of this :
Quote:
Always ride within your limits, the machine has none.
Note : Mods, do pin this on the motorcycle thread.

Last edited by The Brutailer : 26th March 2017 at 19:55.
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Old 26th March 2017, 20:04   #6
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Default Re: Red Ducati Monster 821 - Initial ownership report

Quote:
Originally Posted by abeerbagul View Post
....

I think senior riders in all biking groups should strictly enforce top speed and acceleration limits on public roads, which are variable according to common sense and not according to their bike or gear capability.
The senior riders do enforce discipline at all times. Normally regular riders do not violate group rules much. I am getting rapped everyday for my sad set of gears. Similarly, few other guys got cautioned against racing with other people, especially other superbike group people on same route.

But sometimes, people just do not listen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by apachelongbow View Post
Reading your post above, I am saddened, shocked but not surprised. Most of the riding idiots I have encountered are from a superbike owning group. I wonder what kind of ride leader/s did you have that day, who were more interested in pushing pace, waiting for photographers instead of making each rider comfortable and preventing bad habits like lane cutting and overspeeding. Every ride needs to have a fixed speed (with a little leeway), riding rules, fixed lead and tail and proper instructions to ensure a smooth formation is followed. Riding like junglees and expecting riding gear to act like esp/abd/traction control and hide ones limited skills is pretty stupid imo.
Not too long back, there was a big hungama regarding a HOG group who had abandoned a fellow rider on a trip to Goa. Forget the controversy, no one bothered to explain why did the allegedly drunk rider continue to ride until he collided with a dumper doing 5kmph and died? Where were the group lead and sweep?..similar issues
The leaders did not push, they tried to hold back only. But things were getting delayed due to large group size, also a lot of infrequent riders who don't get the chance to ride out of city on a regular basis, were looking forward to "enjoying" a little.

At least for this group, I saw that each and every rider stopped and stayed by the injured. They left before family arrival as these many bikes were drawing attention. Plus the crucial people stayed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by v12 View Post
....

I think the main reason for us "Captain Slows" are that we never graduated to a Superbike. It was just an impulsive decision to fulfil a dream of owning a Superbike. I am sure if we had upgraded to a Superbike , things would have been different.
I am desperately trying to find a way to solve this for myself. Its every word true that you have said.

I am approaching it this way.
Say at this point, my full control top speed is X.
By varying the riding speed around X continuously by 5-10% all the time (I slow down even if there no traffic and road is straight, and accelerate back), I am able to gradually raise my full control top speed by 5-10 km in say 1000 km riding. This way I am getting a better feel of brakes also.

The problem that I really struggle with, is that my control capability fades in direct proportion to acceleration magnitude. I can resume clear thinking only when the bike stops accelerating and runs at a constant pace. So, a short bust step up by 20-25 km a time for a few times also has helped me. But this is kind of too time consuming for our roads where one has to go down to 50 every now and then even at wee hours of a Sunday.

Also my confidence in swift overtaking reduces drastically on this bike. While everyone else can pass the truck at going speed, I brake down to 60. And then I need some minutes to get back to original speed. By that time groupies vanish.

Quote:
Fortunately the group I ride with do not have a problem at all and always politely asked me to "up" my speed just to catch up with the last rider so I am not left alone and way behind (in case of any mishaps....No one would know).
Fortunately, I have also landed in a very sincere group. The leaders maintain pace and a sweeper is always with me. To have his headlight in my mirror is such an assurance which cannot be expressed in words. Man, do I tire them off!!

I have also been asked to a few times to gradually increase my speed by seniors. They have provided many tips and review by the sweeper almost at every brake has given me inputs when my memory is fresh. In some words or another, they have always stressed the points noted by the thread you have quoted.

Given all these, I am kind of hoping to ride out of the Captain Slow tag.

Quote:
Hammer & Anvils thread here clearly explains it.
Excellent post that one. I am feeling every word that he said. Especially about his Vapi ride. Thank god for power modes.

Quote:
To conclude :
1. Don't play catch n cook. Ride at your own pace. Remember at the end of the ride, you have to reach home to your parents and loved ones. So better late than never.
2. Everyone ... Even the most seasoned rider will be slower than the other. They all have their limits and it's essential that you know your limits. Do not ride beyond it.
3. The guilt will always be there that you are slowing up someone because they are continuously waiting for you instead of enjoying their ride. Still DONT push yourself.
4. I have been asked a couple of times to enrol Into CSS to improve my riding skills.

Take care and ride safe!
Golden Points for beginners.
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Old 26th March 2017, 20:29   #7
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Great work there sen. Really wonderful of you to have stood up and taken charge of the situation when there were 50 other guys who didn't. That separates a man from a kid. Not his fast you ride.

Most days, I ride solo almost all the time. And I enjoy it. Can stop wherever. Do whatever. Halt for the night. Move on. Go back. And most importantly, I have noticed that I ride much more responsibly when I am solo than when I am with a group.

You sound more like a solo rider. You dont need the security of a large group. Trust me. Maybe find one other guy who enjoys riding as opposed to speeding. Even if not this person, solo riding has its own beauty, it's own vagrancy.

Down south, there was a big accident near a village where a biker from a group ran into a woman and killed her. A mob pretty much thrashed a few of them and also ended up pelting stones at other bikers.

After watching how some folks from a group I recently formed a part of (because of the bike) ride, I certainly was on the side of the mob.

Last edited by Red Liner : 26th March 2017 at 20:31.
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Old 26th March 2017, 21:48   #8
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Default Re: Red Ducati Monster 821 - Initial ownership report

Good work their bro, for keeping your wits about you when some of the others seem to have panicked. It would not have been easy to volunteer to be the one escorting the injured rider to the hospital. I suppose the fact that you thought you were 'slow' helped you think clearly in a situation when it is so easy to be unnerved.

Disturbed to learn that the hospital needed a monetary deposit to start what seemed to be a life saving operation. It is important for all of us to be aware that hospitals need to initiate an operation/appropriate treatment procedure right away regardless of payments/police reports. These can follow later.

I suppose you will have to find a way of putting this incident behind you. Difficult as it may be to read, life still has to go on.
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Old 26th March 2017, 22:48   #9
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Default Re: Red Ducati Monster 821 - Initial ownership report

Sen : Kudos to you for taking care of the fallen rider, very few people would come forward and do what you did especially the way you described it seemed quite gruesome with respect to blood and other injury details and most of us including me cannot handle that situation the way you handled it.

So again my respect towards this great gesture and hope the rider recognizes your effort and your good deed forever!!

I think there was a picture of his bike doing the rounds on whatsapp (Was it a black ducati?)

Coming back to the way people ride fast in heavy traffic condition, I agree that super-bikes give some sort of invisible power to the riders and as you rightly put the top-dollar gear makes them feel invincible and thus, begins the cat and mouse game of sliding in and out of traffic at break neck speeds and it just takes a small mistake or loss of concentration to take others down including self

I used to ride in big groups when i resumed riding with a bullet about 7 years ago and used to enjoy the large group thrum and excitement it created amongst passerby's but, as time weaned by it slowly dawned on me that it's plain stupidity to ride with large bunch of unknown people and I started cutting down the numbers drastically as a conscious effort

Now, I ride at best with a max of 5-6 people and if the group becomes too large, I excuse myself out of the ride (a big change from the time I used to thrive on large group rides) and it's important to ride with people you get along personally with respect to general views, other things in life and in general a fondness needs to be there between the buddies you ride with. Otherwise, if it's just riding with strangers, you dont know how they behave whilst riding and otherwise...I make sure to meet these small group of friends other than riding, include them in family events and thus begins a different relationship altogether and this is where the actual fun of riding with them begins

Great post and also my honest advise is to ride alone (I'm personally not a lone rider, I need at least 1-2 people for company to chat at stops) or at best with a handful of people and there is no need to show the prowess of your riding talent or the 115 horses under your right wrist to anyone.

Be safe and continue to enjoy the rides !!!
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Old 27th March 2017, 10:20   #10
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Default Re: Superbike Group Ride in Mumbai - A mixed bag of an experience

Thanks for sharing Sen2009! Moved your excellent post into a new thread as it deserves an independent discussion.
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Old 27th March 2017, 10:24   #11
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Default Re: The Big ride cut short

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The discussion among the new riders mostly revolved around riding gears. I had a keen interest in this as I haven't yet really gotten around to buy everything I should. During last rides, I have received light to medium scold from group seniors. I had to promise really fast turnaround time to get away. Most of the guys had purchased full set of stuffs already - high end helmets, Jackets, gloves, riding pants and knee guards, shoes etc. I coined the topic of my discomfort with riding gears a couple of times, but people dismissed it immediately. Gears are essential for safe riding; rider comfort is a distant second in priority. If one wears proper gear, then a crash at 150 or 200 too is survivable. I couldn't disagree to that.

In my mind, I kind of differed with the general opinion there. I have grown up believing that control and precision takes priority above everything else in any kind of motorized vehicle. While riding this motorcycle, I have found that these motorcycles are way more sensitive to control inputs than anything else I have ridden before. In my terms, this means that subtlety is the key to riding this thing. A light touch on the break, a few degrees of throttle is all that takes to move through any kind of roads. The finesse and accuracy of those inputs decide how surefooted I ride. Dumbing down everything with layers and layers of cow leather and then follow the golden principal of "when in doubt, throttle it out", well not my thing! But given the popular opinion, it was better to stay shut, I didn't want to get kicked out of the group. Any word against riding gear immediately gets one branded as careless and reckless. Little by little, I was losing faith in my way of thinking by hearing these counter opinions over and over again. I made a mental note to do more research on this later. For now, it was time to explore and make new friends and enjoy this awesome day in company of those wonderful people.
Thank you for sharing the post - I have been a silent reader of your threads and have found it very entertaining. This post is a good reminder of what not to do with a bike.

I can relate to your comments on slow riding - Usually when I ride in a group, I take the tail position because I am not too comfortable riding fast in a group. My comfort zone is 100 kmph, +/- 10 depending on conditions. Luckily, I am a part of a very matured group now and here no one is under any kind of stress to keep up or to ride fast and no one cares about the top speeds or setting any kind of stupid records.

I have a slight different take on the riding gears.We may ride well, we may ride under our control, not exceeding the speed limits and not breaking any law, but what about the other idiots on the road? For us two wheeler riders, part of our safety is not in our hands and any blithering idiot on the road can put a full stop to our riding dreams at any point of time. A good quality gear is like an insurance - a good set of gear will not save you from all the mishaps, but it will protect you much better than no gear.

I started wearing riding gears almost 10 years back and have been wearing them every day, irrespective of the bike I ride. I use the same set of gears if I ride my Unicorn, duke or my wife's Scooty Zest. My daily wear includes a good quality helmet, a full gauntlet leather gloves, a good quality mesh jacket, a good quality riding pants and a ankle length leather shoe with reinforced toe and heel. It is not comfortable wearing them in hot sweltering sun and it most definitely is not fun wearing all of the gear over your regular office dress and taking it off - twice a day. But, when I wear the gear and ride, I ride with the comfort of knowing that if I kiss the tarmac, the gears will protect me better than no gear.

That, is something priceless and trumps the sweat and discomfort any day and every day.

--Anoop
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Old 27th March 2017, 10:41   #12
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Default Re: Superbike Group Ride in Mumbai - A mixed bag of an experience

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It was a big ride; many people were coming.

----SNIP ---

I hope I never have to ride again consumed with that smell and those thoughts.
Sen,
You write really well, cheers to that.
You are a gentleman and stay that way. I may get some flak for what i am about to write but what the hell, here goes.

Avoid big groups. I will salvage myself from some flak by saying avoid big groups, especially those that make you feel uncomfortable. Riding means different things to different people. From what i imagine, for you, it seems to be enjoying the design and engineering of the duc and seeing the country at a slow relaxed pace.

find a friend or two who are gentlemen like you off the bike (even if they are manic on the bike and do not care for your speed or skill ) and do what you love best, at your pace.

Riding gear saves and you need the best your money can afford, first. Not shorty levers, not windscreens, gear. First. It isnt going to save you when you fall, it will minimise road rash. If you hit something when you slide, you will still break bones but you probably wouldnt need skin grafting. So, buy that, even if you are slow, even if you tour on a small regular commuter, it doesnt matter.

Let this episode teach you a lot of things but if your passion is strong enough for the beauty of motorcycling and the joy it brings, i'd say, keep riding. And do not try to fit in, you do not need to. Do it for yourself.

Cheers,
Kapil
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Old 27th March 2017, 11:59   #13
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Default Re: Superbike Group Ride in Mumbai - A mixed bag of an experience

Hi Sen, kudos for the kind gesture by you & the group in taking care of the unlucky rider. Hope he gets better soon.

As you mentioned the bridge had dust/sand at the edges, the road surface was uneven and there was no third party damage, so it seems to me that the rider wasn't able to control the bike owning to the bike's 'mass' shift in either direction due to hitting/avoiding an undulation/object/vehicle. With super bikes, the exhilarating from acceleration can quickly turn into negative unfortunate incidents esp. on public roads where a minor/mid size hurdle on the road can cause a significant imbalance at high speeds and we know that we don't even know how soon we have reached such high speeds.

Here I think that due to overall delays, riders might be getting impatient to let lose and a minor lapse in judgement could have compounded the factors resulting in accident. Patience as we know is a very hard learned trait which is the #1 check for any rider. Could the organizers have limited the # of bikers to avoid delays, mandated speed in city limits, ensured riders don't end up in clusters etc. is an after thought but still a lesson. But all said, the onus is always on the rider to keep him/her self safe for the next ride.

The monstrous urge in us to feel the torque and let lose those horses for top speeds must be guided at all times esp. on public roads. One must be patient to wait for the right conditions before twisting that wrist or to comfortably overtake whilst still sure of avoiding a head on etc.

These super bikes demand a great level of responsibility especially in our Indian road/riding conditions. Safety gear is a must but it alone can only reduce the impact to the body to a certain extent but coupled with experience, patience & riding wisdom greatly increases probability of safe rides.

One should ride alone if that's what suits, I do, have been doing since many years. With certain groups the common pitfall (unfortunately due to the very goal of them) is the 'destination and back by a certain time'' target not the journey. To me, riding is enjoying the elements at my own pace, bonding with the machine, knowing my RPM limits where I am in comfort zone. Over time, one's skills improve and he is better able to manage speed and other factors. Given the Indian conditions, unless the road is fenced on both sides there's just no enjoyment being in very high speeds after few moments as there's always that uncertainty of anyone showing up from anywhere knocking your head.

Ride safe guys, ride such that we can do the next ride.
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Old 27th March 2017, 12:31   #14
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Default Re: Red Ducati Monster 821 - Initial ownership report

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Originally Posted by sen2009 View Post
Experienced riders picked up the pace and started to cut through the traffic, still they couldn't get very far ahead of me. I had a first-hand opportunity to witness their riding smoothness and exceptional precision of control. Whenever there was a gap, they would give indicator, accelerate a little keeping the throttle at minimal so that other people do not get alarmed and then pass.

Sometimes they went into opposite lane but with calculated precision and tucked in after each pass.

But a few new riders were now getting a little edgy. Some of them started aggressively cutting through traffic and riding fast in the oncoming lane. Instead of tucking in every now and then, they kept on the opposite lane and was overtaking 10-15 vehicles at once.
I find this to be the biggest issue with the super bike community in India right now. Most new riders do not respect the power the machines have. And ride like they are gods gift to the riding world.

The experienced riders (I don't mean older riders, I know a lot of experienced young riders who ride very well and old guys who ride like lunatics), even while riding fast do so with caution and sense.

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Few guys asked me if I was ever insulted deeply by Ducati folks. They suspected this because my way of riding a Ducati was doing to the brand what the ancient Indian king’s usage of Rolls Royce for collecting garbage did to that brand. I had stopped bothering about such remarks long back.
I agree with you. Ignore these type of people. It's best to ride at whatever speed you are comfortable with. In our group, we have fixed regroup points at which we wait for everyone to catch up - reach it at whatever pace you are comfortable, the group will wait for you. We find it a good system that ensures that everyone rides at a pace they are comfortable with and do not rush to keep up.

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I think senior riders in all biking groups should strictly enforce top speed and acceleration limits on public roads, which are variable according to common sense and not according to their bike or gear capability.
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Every ride needs to have a fixed speed (with a little leeway), riding rules, fixed lead and tail and proper instructions to ensure a smooth formation is followed.
I'm a big believer in personal responsibility. Why is the job of senior riders to keep others in check. If you cannot handle yourself them you don't belong on a bike in this range (and IMHO on any bike at all). It is the riders responsibility to keep his riding within his limits.

A lot of good riders I know have stopped riding with new riders because of their bad behavior and the somehow implied responsibility of senior riders to keep them in check. There is a limit to how much you can tell someone - at the end if they want to ride like lunatics, not too much you can do to stop them. Better option is not to ride with these kind of people at all.
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Old 27th March 2017, 13:29   #15
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Default Re: Superbike Group Ride in Mumbai - A mixed bag of an experience

I sincerely hope this thread reaches many people and acts as a wake up call for anyone riding. I do hope the guy recovers completely and is fit (both mentally and physically) to ride again. Kudos to you for being there for him in his time of need.
This is one of the reasons why I always ride alone, group mentality can sometimes cause one to lose sense of ones own limitations.
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