ASHEESH MAMGAIN | 26 DECEMBER, 2018
Riding into 2019
When the new year arrives, there is a bunch of individuals who will literally ride into it. Bound together by an all consuming and common passion for biking, come new year’s morning these individuals will be throttling their mean machines up some highway in the country, for something as iconic and simple as a breakfast run.
In 1998, a few individuals who called themselves GODS (Group of Delhi Superbikers) would bike down the Delhi-Jaipur highway every Sunday morning, which in those days was the only relatively good, clean stretch of road around.
Their aim: to have breakfast in Jaipur, 270 kilometres away, and be back in Delhi by afternoon.
Arun Thareja, the founder of GODS and one of the trailblazers of the super biking culture in Delhi, was part of these initial breakfast runs.
Today they have achieved cult status in the biking world. All over the country, every Sunday morning scores of bikers ride out for these breakfast runs. As their numbers grew so did the cafes, usually along highways, catering to these bikers and others.
Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Guwahati, Mumbai are the hotbeds of the biking culture. Smaller cities like Indore and Mysore are also catching up fast. Northeast India is home to a new, fast-growing and passionate group of bikers.
The menu for these breakfast runs is never very fancy, but something that would qualify as basic and trustworthy. Like a masala omelette with toast. Bun maska, misal pav or keema pav, if you are in the western part of the country. In north India, it is often paranthas and a big glass of lassi. Better still with coffee or cutting tea.
“Sunday mornings are the time when city roads and highways are relatively empty. Also, after a week of hectic office work schedule we bikers are itching to unwind,” says Arjun Sachdev, a Delhi bike enthusiast.
Says Manpreet Singh, another passionate biker, “We do go on longer, organised interstate tours, but that can happen only once in a while as it needs more time and commitment. But Sunday morning breakfast runs are like the regular diet we survive on.”
The Gurgaon-Faridabad road is one of the favourites among Delhi’s biker groups today. This 18-kilometre stretch of road has gentle twists and turns in addition to a change in gradients, making it an interesting ride especially for bikers. It works much better than a long, flat, monotonous stretch of road like the Yamuna Expressway.
Nor does the Yamuna Expressway have any food outlets or cafes to suit these bikers’ tastes; they are looking for friendly places with character and no pretensions. A good roadside dhaba will often pass this test.
There are a few theme restaurants in Delhi where a biking ambience has been created, but the biker groups are not too into them. They prefer places by the highways.
A number of cafes catering to these biker groups have opened along the Gurgaon-Faridabad road. Café Throttle Shrottle is a sort of pioneer among these pitstops. Started four and a half years ago by bike enthusiast Sorav Priyadarshi, Throttle Shrottle is where many bikers meet on any given Sunday morning.
The place has a ramshackle look and the atmosphere is totally relaxed and chilled out. You will see bikes and bike parts decorating the interiors, with used tyres doubling up as seats and chandeliers too!
The place also has a bike garage at the back, which makes it a complete package for bikers. Says Priyadarshi, “Throttle Shrottle is now a definitive part of the Delhi-NCR biking culture. After buying a new bike people first go to a temple, and their next stop is our place.”
Many Delhi biker groups also go for the old favourite Murthal Paranthas on the Delhi-Karnal Grand Trunk road, on their Sunday breakfast runs.
For Mumbai and Pune bikers it is mostly about riding on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, negotiating the twists and turns of its ghats and stopping at Lonavala for breakfast.
At Lonavala, almost all bikes stop at Rama Krishna Restaurant. Located right beside the highway, Rama Krishna turns into a biker’s paradise every Sunday morning.
Here the preparation most popular with riders is the chicken club sandwich and the omelette. The local unit of the very active and famous bikers’ group HOG, or the Harley Owners Group, makes the trip every Sunday from Pune on a breakfast run, ending at Rama Krishna.
Another popular stretch is the Pune-Solapur highway. The popular destination here is Kanchan Restaurant, again located along the highway at Doragewadi. The missal pav, a typical Maharashtra snack, is the fastest going item on the menu here.
For Bengaluru, another hot city as far as the biking culture is concerned, the most travelled stretch for these weekend breakfast runs is the 150-kilometre drive to Mysore. Bangalore sports an all-girls biker group as well, going by the name Hop On Gurls.
Contrary to what people outside the biking culture might think, these biker groups are all about responsible and safe biking. They stick to traffic rules, do not overspeed and wear all the safety gear. Drinking and riding are a strict no-no.
“It is never about showing off the power of your bike by speeding. It is all about our love for our machines, the bond we share with fellow bikers and that exclusive unhampered experience when you are riding your bike,” says Freddy, a bike enthusiast from Pune.
Entry to most of these biker groups is restricted only by the machine you own. So, you need to own a bike of particular calibre (CC) to enter a superbike group, or a bike of a particular make, like a Royal Enfield, to enter that club.
But there are a few groups which welcome all bikers, no matter which bike they ride, as long as they have an unbridled passion for responsible biking.
Besides the pioneering GODS and the all-India HOGS, another big group is the India Bull Riders. Then there’s BOSS or Batch of Soul Superbikers, a group based in Delhi which accepts riders with bikes over 600 cc only. Born 2 Ride is another Delhi-based group which was formed when a few likeminded bikers met in Alwar, at the culmination of a breakfast run from Delhi.
And finally, there is a big biker group called DBBR - which as you guessed stands for Delhi Bikers Breakfast Run. Anyone with a bike can join them on their Sunday breakfast run to a dhaba outside city limits.