HYDERABAD: Pre-pandemic, bikers in the city used to mark World Motorcycle Day (June 21) by hitting the highways, going on long rides, discuss the art of riding or volunteering during natural calamities. Like all other good things in the world, Covid-19 put a pause on this too.
As bike clubs prepare to organise virtual celebrations, vintage bike collectors in the city have been busy polishing up their prized collections.
Anil Kumar Ravuri, an industrial consultant, collects vintage Rajdoots and Royal Enfields and restores them. “There are some experienced mechanics in the city, who know the restoration process like the back of their hand. I purchase scrapped motorcycles and salvage them; the cost of restoring a vintage motorcycle almost equals the price of a new car, but it’s worth it because I like to get my hands dirty. I started riding a bike when I was in class V. Growing up, I learnt the complete mechanics of every motorcycle I had; taking the bike apart and putting it back together was my fun activity,” he says.
Reminiscing the prepandemic celebrations of World Motorcycle Day in Hyderabad, Anil talks about the display of vintage bikes and cars at Lumbini Park organised by the Deccan Heritage Automobile Association. So far, he has restored a Royal Enfield 500cc (Cast Iron - right side gear), Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350cc, Royal Enfield Diesel Bullet, Royal Enfield Mofa 22cc, Escorts Rajdoot (electronic) and an Escorts Rajdoot 175cc.
“I prefer to ride these in rural areas. To get enjoy the real experience of a vintage motorcycle, one should ride it off-road because the bike was made in the times where we didn’t have cement roads,” he says. As his son rides around on a 49cc dirt bike, Anil looks forward to collecting more classics and salvaging them.
K Varun Naidu, a former mechanical design engineer, has been passionate about motorcycles for 12 years and owns a biking store, Dynamic Ryderz, in Banjara Hills. Speaking about the craze for vintage bikes in the city, he says that he was once offered close to Rs 2 lakh for his 1968 Jawa but turned down the offer since it was one of his prized possessions.
“Finding spare parts is the difficult part of salvaging a bike. Usually, we explore scrapyards and luckily find a lot of them. Otherwise, we import the parts. One has to constantly do their research to find these parts,” he says. Speaking about his favourite routes for long rides, Varun says he loves to ride around in forests and the Nallamalla forest is one of the areas he loves exploring.
Dilip Raj Krishna, another collector, is always on the lookout for classic pieces of Jawas, Bullets and Rajdoots.
“Salvaging these vintage bikes is fun because a lot of jugaad happens while we find the spare parts. My love for motorcycles started when I was 16 and used to ride a scooter. I used to prefer solo riding earlier and loved exploring old pathways around Nathu La Pass in Sikkim.”
But ever since Dilip became a part of the biker’s union in Hyderabad, he participates in cause rides and bonds with fellow bikers. “When you ride as a group, all the bikers are one unit; each group has its own set of techniques and signals, which create a strong bond among them,” he reminisces.
Ever since the pandemic hit Hyderabad, Dilip says many bikers in the city have been busy volunteering to deliver food to Covid patients. But he looks forward to collecting more motorcycles in future.
Last year, Motowings had organised a ride from Gachibowli to Phoenix Arena in which around 200 bikers took to the streets to celebrate the day. Sreedhar Vykunta, who heads Motowings, says, “We usually celebrate the day by meeting up with riders and biker clubs in the city. We discuss road safety and first-aid during racing competitions.
This year, our celebrations are limited to virtual spaces. We just finished shooting a video with national motorcycle racing champion Sandeep Kumar and are excited for the online celebrations too!” From exploring the city’s old pathways to doing some jugaad in scrapyards and attending virtual celebrations, Hyderabadi bikers are keeping their spirits up during these trying times.
POLISHING UP THEIR PRIZED POSSESSIONS
Missing pre-pandemic days
Like all other good things in the world, Covid-19 put a pause on biking trips too. As bike clubs prepare to organise virtual celebrations, vintage bike collectors in the city have been busy polishing up their prized collections. Some even miss the pre-pandemic celebrations of World Motorcycle Day when vintage bikes and cars would be displayed at Lumbini Park. The event used to be organised by the Deccan Heritage Automobile Assn