BANGALORE: ‘Men will be men’ adage holds true when you see them drool — surprisingly over the mostly inanimate machinery from the past — like the beast on the roads called the Yamaha RD 350. From vintage cars to bikes, most of these machines gain significance only when the same is not available in the market and becomes the ‘forbidden fruit’. The manufacturers have long since drawn the curtains on their production, but it commands a more loyal following since then. The Yamaha RD 350, was one such bike, which though was banned in India due to the number of road accidents it was involved in, it still has its die-hard fans. Vishal Agarwal, a local businessman bears testimony to that very fact. He founded a club called RD 350.
Though the club was launched only three years ago, the official meets began only this year. “Initially, there were only a handful of people who joined the club. Today there are over 50 members,” said Agarwal.
Like other bike clubs, the RD 350 gang goes on regular road-trips in and around the city. “If possible, we usually drive 200 km from the city. But if time is a constraint, then we do a ten-kilometre ride within the city,” informed Agarwal.
Speaking about the road-trips, another member Anil Babu said that one of his most memorable trips was to Devandurga, near Tumkur. “The ride was approximately three hours and though we stayed there only for a couple of hours, the view was extraordinary and the journey was great and worth it,” said Babu, who joined the club only a year ago.
The club also has their own customised sweat shirts that reads ‘LoRD of the twins’. “Anyone who shares the passion for the bike can join us,” informed Agarwal.
He added that though everyone looks forward to the ride, there are a few rules and regulations that are mandatory for every rider. “Apart from the first aid kits, we also carry spare fuel, oil and tools in case of an emergency. For every trip, there is a lead who guides the way and the speed limit for the rides is 60 kmph. It is of utmost importance that every biker wears his protective gear — Armour jackets, helmets and gloves to name a few,” he said about their outfit.
When asked about what was the motive behind starting yet another bikers’ club, Agarwal asserted that the club was all about letting the world know that there were still many who love this bike even though it was no longer in production. The bike was in production for a short span of time — From 1984 to 1989. “This was the only bike in India that was built with twin engine. It is one of the fastest bikes ever,” he said. The members meet on the first Sunday of every month and during those rendezvous, they share their experiences and expertise with one another.
Most bikes in the club have been passed on from father to son, though there are a few who bought and preserved the beauty. R Chakravarthy, who also happens to be the oldest member of the club, bought his bike in 1985 in Nasik. The 79-year-old biker has been a regular on all the bike trips held so far and said that even at this age riding the bike gives him an adrenalin rush. “I use the bike rarely because I want to preserve it. In my opinion, it is the finest machine ever made,” Chakravarthy said.