I was sitting in a cafe, sipping on my latte on a fine November
evening. The street was empty and the sun had begun its decent from the skies
above. All seemed peaceful and quiet until I heard a rumble in the distance.
Just like that of a hound, my ears were up and my eyes keenly searched the
horizon. The roar grew louder and louder. The riders had begun pouring in from
all parts of the country. One, two, three or four. The cylinder count did not
matter, they were all part of a brotherhood of bikers, pouring in to be part of
the biggest biking festival of year - India Bike Week (IBW) 2017.
I had arrived in Goa a day prior and was relaxing at a cafe waiting
on the spectacle to begin. In its fifth iteration, India Bike Week 2017 was
organised on November 24 & 25 at the Vagator Hill Top in Goa. This year's
event was graced by the likes of the fastest woman biker alive Leslie Porterfield and motorcycle racing legend Freddie Spencer. Aside from these legends many other notable
personalities made an appearance. India Bike Week 2017 also played host to
manufacturers like Triumph, Indian Motorcycle, BMW Motorrad, UML, Harley
Davidson and Avantura Choppers.
The biking culture in India is just beginning to take shape and
India Bike Week has become the one-stop festival of the year that most bikers
look forward to. "I think IBW has given a face to the biking community in
India" said Dr. Amanda Gomez (a female biker) in conversation with this
correspondent. She was one among many women riders at this year's IBW. But the
ride is just one bit of it all. There were many attractions including music by
Apache Indian, Mojojojo, Colt Silvers, DJ Savyo, Jack Jigg, Lagori and G2 Live.
This year's festival also witnessed multiple bike parades and introductions by
30 biking clubs. As has become custom, the IBW Honour Roll posthumously recognised M. R. Rajkumar for his exemplary performance
in Indian two-wheeler racing in the 1980s.
Biking legends Freddie Spencer and Leslie Porterfield were among
many such as Neel Jagtap, Trichakra Riders and Vinod Rawat to speak to an
audience about their biking journeys at the Big Trip Stage. IBW also became a
platform for manufacturers to launch new products in front of a large biking
audience. Triumph motorcycles was the first amongst the lot and launched their Speedmaster
bobber styled motorcycle. Vimal Sumbly, Managing Director, Triumph Motorcycles
India Pvt. Ltd. also welcomed on stage Bollywood actor Amit Sadh and presented
him with the keys of a brand new Triumph Street Triple RS which he had recently
purchased. Other launches included BMW Motorrad's Rnine T racer bike and the
humongous K 1600 B bagger motorcycle. While the Rnine T was launched for Rs.
17.30 (ex-showroom) the K 1600 B was priced at a whopping Rs. 29 lakh
(ex-showroom). Crowds flocked to the BMW Motorrad stand as the bikes were
revved up. Everyone wanted to get a glimpse of the action. Pankaj Dubey,
Country Head and Managing Director, Polaris India Pvt. Ltd. also unveiled the
latest from the stables of the Indian Motorcycle brand, the Scout Bobber on the
main stage. The Scout Bobber was launched for Rs. 12.99 lakh (ex-showroom).
Other attractions for the crowds included a Flat Track demo arena,
Loudest Bike competition, a Burnout competition, Strongman games, Biker Jam
session, Beard and Tattoo contest. Day two also saw a Beach and Biker fashion
show as well as many riders from all over the country participating in the Most
Stylish Biker and King & Queen of Clubs contests. The crowds also flocked
to the main stage on day two as Freddie Spencer and Leslie Porterfield handed
over an autographed UM Renegade motorcycle to Dashrath Desai as part of the
Win-A-Bike competition. There was much to do and much to see at the IBW 2017,
aside from fans congregating to ogle and click selfies with the majestic machines
that had arrived in Goa. There were bars to quench your thirst and food stalls to satiate your hunger,
including some sizzling burgers by Antonitos at IBW 2017. As the hum of the
music died down and the dust began to settle towards the wee hours of the day most bikers signed off with Freddie Pithavala, part of H.O.I, a Mumbai based
superbike club, saying, "As always, we go back from IBW with sweet
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