I am a bike and I have a heart. I also possess the soul. I am not non-living. My rider can feel my soul, I know he can. I was created by humans. We have come a long way from when we were owned to now, where we are being rented using online bike rentals. Well, here is my story. The story of my lineage, my ancestors and how I became who I am today.
Let us time travel to the time of my predecessors. They were all not as advanced as we are today. They were pedal-powered cycles. Humans wanted to move further and faster and that was when they made the Reitwagen. Reitwagen was petroleum fuelled and was invented by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach at around 1885 in Germany. Boy! Have we evolved since then!
1914 to 1918 was a dark period for people. It was the time of World War 1. It was not a very peaceful period. Harley Davidson was one company that gave away 50% of us to the military in America. The British company Triumph Motorcycles sold more than 30,000 of us to allied forces. We are faster than horses so horse riders were replaced by bike riders to carry messages to the front line troops. The first of Triumphs did not have any pedals to support them. Those guys were actually known as Trusty Triumphs.
People started wanting us for different reasons. Cars were always there but they were not affordable by the so-called ‘working middle class’. We were so much more efficient than carriages. So, if people had to move to different cities to find opportunities, they found us more convenient. They are always finding new ways to modify us and make us better than who we are.
Royal Enfield was the first one to come to India. He was used in the India army. He was rugged enough to be used by the soldiers. He was originally from the United Kingdom. He was tough alright! With a capacity of 350cc and a broad wheelbase, he could practically ride on any of the terrains. Once this happened, our population increased in the country. Many of my ancestors were manufactured and assembled here by API (Automobile Products of India) to serve the Indian crowd.
Initially, there were just three manufacturers. Enfield, Ideal Jawa, and Escorts were the only ones who made us. Enfields made 350cc bikes and Escorts made 175cc bikes. With the joint Indo-Japanese venture came our cousins in the 90s, the mopeds, and scooters. Their capacities were reduced to less than 100cc and everybody loved them. Hero Honda was the maker and they shot to the top.
A lot of us were made in the 50s, 60s, and 70s but 80s were the best time for us. We were 1.9 million in number in 1990. Kinetic Honda joined our family in the 80s. Well, scooters started deteriorating in number after that. We can hardly see them these days. Guess they are just kept as showpieces now. Many human children are unaware of their existence.
1991 and 1992 were not so good for us. People talk about ‘recession’, and our producers went through that. Especially Hero Honda in the year 1992. We need fuel to run and the reason why this happened was that the prices of fuel went up. However, in the year 1998, we two-wheelers were everywhere. There were around 3-millions of us, approximately. In 1990, there were 12.6-millions of us only in India.
Later on, there was a pretty good number of companies to make us. MotoCorp makes us the most. Bajaj acquired 47% of KTM and TVS tied up with BMW.
Some of us were made in the most bizarre ways! There was one guy who had his car broken down in the middle of the desert. He used it to make one of us and get out of there
Most of us have silencers but Harley Davidson tried to trademark the sound made by them. Honestly, it was just the sound of the engine. Our pistons go up and down. That is all. They did not get the trademark after all. Yamaha pointed this out to them.
We motorcycles also play sports. We race. So, there are major genres like on circuit courses, lane speed record trials, track racing, hill climbs, drag racing and open courses. Many of us are made for racing. There are championships for traditional road racing too. The International Road Racing Championship and the Duke Road Racing Rankings. There is also Grand Prix motorcycle racing and that has three categories. Moto3, Moto2, and MotoGP. Superbike Racing is for those of us whose volume is more than 600cc. Supersport racing, Endurance racing, Motocross, Enduro and cross country and Track Racing that has grass tracks, ice speedways, and board tracks, okay we motorbikes have a lot of challenges and we can be a great source of entertainment. We prove that over and over again, don’t we?
When riders ride us, they need to be safe. We can go fast on roads but it is risky. We become disfigured and our riders lose their lives if there is a crash. We do not like crashes. They are unpleasant. We want our riders to be safe and insist that they wear helmets. Helmets protect our riders. The idea was a neurosurgeon’s who attended the Lawrence of Arabia.
One thing that has never changed in us is the twist grip throttle. Reitwagen had it in 1885 and so do I. Amusing, isn’t it?
These days, many of us are being rented. After the development of the internet, things have changed drastically. The humans find it more convenient to rent us than own us and we do not blame them. We are here to serve them. They can book us using the internet. The companies are called online bike rentals. Get an Activa on rent or any bike on rent. Monthly bike rentals are being preferred nowadays. Click here to know why. Ontrack is one of the best online bike rentals in Bangalore. So, rent one of us.
Now, are you interested to know what we think of our future? I think nobody is going to own us anymore after some time. Everybody is going to rent us. We will always evolve and we will always be loved. We are happy to make our creators’ lives easier.
Source: Hindustan Motorcycling