The First Ride

It was an impatient wait because my bike was standing in the dealer’s showroom since 29th April and I wasn’t able to take it home as the RTO Registration was not yet done. At last, the formalities for RTO Registration were completed on Friday, 3rd May 2019. The message was received on my mobile at around 4 pm which gave my black beauty it’s unique identity – MH02FD6329. However, the dealer did not have the facility to paint it on the number plate. The dealer also told me that the RTO would be providing a high security registration plate or the HSRP which will be made of a rare aluminium alloy. It shall contain a retro-reflective hologram, hot-stamped lettering, a 10-digit unique serial number, and it will be fitted with a snap lock, which is expected to make the plate tamper-proof. I was told that this number plate will be sent directly from the RTO and will be received after about 10 working days.

This was a total disappointment… Firstly it was a tiring wait for almost 6 months from the date of booking to get the delivery of this state of the art machine and even after getting the delivery, i could not ride it because the registration number was not painted on the vehicle. Being a law-abiding citizen, i did not want to ride the bike without the number plate. But if such small hurdles stop us then we are not the true bikers… I decided to get the number painted from a local vendor and get the HSRP fixed once it arrived from the RTO. Saturday morning was spent on getting the number plate painted and within 45 minutes my bike was ready to take me to places of my dream!

I had taken the delivery just about 16 hours ago and had used my bike for about 12-15 km from showroom to home and home to the vendor and back. During this time, I realised that this beast was a bit difficult for me to handle for three reasons:

1. I was riding a bike after almost 14 odd years,

2. My previous bike was a much lighter and much lesser powered machine – a YAMAHA RX-100. As compared to my Yamaha which was 100 cc-100Kg-11 BHP best in the class toy, this one was a 300 cc, 176 Kg, 27 BHP bike!

3. The age and fitness had taken a toll on me in last 10 odd years.

But still, the josh was high… I picked up my mobile and called Sanjay, my long time riding buddy of almost 30 years. He was too glad to know that I have got the delivery of my JAWA and immediately agreed to join me the very next day on his RE-Classic for a short trip to Manor-Jawhar. We also decided to click the snaps of the new bike from all angles.

The time to meet was fixed and as decided we met the next day on the western express highway. The roads were empty, the machine was excellent and the riding buddy was trustworthy… These factors created a positive impact on me and soon, i was the same confident rider that I was in the late 1980s.

Maneuvering the beast on highway was a sheer pleasure. Pick up and acceleration was too good. Gear shifts were as smooth as passing a hot knife through butter. Within a couple of hours we were close to Manor. As we were approaching Shree Datta Vada just before Manor, i was approached by a Harley Davidson biker who started inquiring about JAWA… It was such a proud feeling that someone with a 4 times costlier bike was showing interest in my Black Beauty.

The breakfast break at Shree Datta attracted all and sundry people flocking around my Black Beauty… They include people traveling by car who had stopped for breakfast, other bikers, and even locals who were selling titbits… Some were clicking photos of the bikes, some took selfie and some even asked me to click group photos for them! It was a proud feeling as almost all of them were seeing a JAWA on road for the first time and I was the lucky owner of the first few new JAWAs that had hit the road.

Lot of time was wasted in this public appreciation of the bike… We decided to quickly finish our breakfast and proceed to our destination. The road from Manor to Jawhar was really very bad… It’s surface was totally dislodged and the bike was bouncing off it… This made one thing clear: the shock-absorbers were just perfect for a rider like me weighing slightly over a quintal…

Sanjay located a nice spot for photography. The light was also perfect at around 8 am. We stopped for a photoshoot. Fixing lenses and tripods, and adjusting the bike against some scenic background took some 15-20 minutes. Sanjay the perfect photographer applied all his photography skills for next one-and-a-half hour and clicked some excellent pictures of my Black Beauty.

The time flew so quickly and we realized it only when the Sun started spitting heat… It was almost 10 am. The heat was too much for both of us who were marching towards senior citizenship to bear and hence we decided to return home before we got dehydrated or suffered a sunstroke. It also prompted me to raise my fitness if I had to do some long rides as I would do in my late twenties or in my thirties…

We started our journey back… The traffic towards mumbai had increased as the day had progressed. We also hit traffic-jams at the toll plazas and also near Vasai Creek. At this time I realised that the seat of my Jawa was not as comfortable after almost 4 hours of ride as it felt in the morning when I had started my first ride. Braking in the traffic also made one thing clear that Jawa stops perfectly if both the brakes are applied simultaneously. If only rear brake is applied, it’s as good or as bad as any other bike that has rear drum brakes.

Because of the traffic, the journey which we completed in less than two hours while going, took almost two hours and forty five minutes and I returned home by almost 1 pm, quite exhausted.

The first ride made a few things very clear to me. Firstly, it gave me total assurance that I had not made any mistake by acquiring the new JAWA though I had booked it without seeing or riding. It’s one of the finest machines. Secondly, it rebuilt my confidence that I still possessed almost the same riding skills which I possessed some 25-30 years ago. And most importantly, it made me realise that if I had to ride long distances on this powerful beast, i must work on my fitness because the bike will not tire if I can handle it tirelessly…

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