Goa is known for its carnivals that come before Lent. But another bike carnival is just as loved and looked forward to – the November Rider Mania. This annual motorcycling festival brought together riders from all corners of the country to celebrate motorcycling and their love for the Royal Enfield. 4500 riders had registered for the event this year and they got together for three days of action, adrenalin and energy. The atmosphere was electric, to say the least.
Sagar Sadananda an avid Bullet rider, gives us a close up view of the event exclusively for Solorider.
Rider Mania is one carnival in every rider’s mind, which makes one yearn for it once you got a taste of it. Having attended the RERM in 2014 and 2015, I was eagerly waiting for the 2016 edition of it. Riding solo gives time for the rider to rediscover self, but riding with a group of friends is sheer joy. The RM this year was on 18, 19 and 20th of November. We decided to start early on 17th, so that we reach Goa by dusk. Slept early the day before and was up and ready at the meet point by 3 am. And the ride started by 3:30 as planned. The distance from Hyderabad to Goa is around 700 kms. The first 80 kms of it was on National highway 44, and this part of the ride was smooth. Once we reached Mahaboobnagar, the bad part of the road starts and runs till Raichur. Had to take a break here since one of our Bulls got an issue with the battery. Breaks like these turn funny in no time. Another batch from our club (Wanderers) joined us here and we had a gala time for more than an hour. We had to toe the bike a few kilometres before finding a battery shop. Once the issue was resolved, we resumed the ride. The next 110 kms till Raichur, road is rough so we had to go slow. After this, the ride went smooth, good to see that they are done with laying new roads all the way till Belgaum. Had a tasty lunch at a dhabha. Reached Goa a few hours behind schedule, as we had to take more breaks than we anticipated.
There is an opinion about Goa that, once you go there you keep going there. For people who love the free and laid back time Goa offers, it is true indeed. We checked into this beautiful Guest home ‘Rene’s’, near Anjuna beach, which has become regular stay for my friends whenever they go to Goa. The next day, we got up and headed for the venue in Vagator beach for registration. This is the permanent venue for RERM. It is a pleasure to watch so many riders at one place. Done with our registrations there, collected our goodie bags, and the madness starts. Met with different batches of riders, old friends and made some new ones. All the members of our club got together, had a gala time there. After this we headed into the town for lunch. The venue was almost the same as last year, with a huge parking space on the left, custom bike exhibition at the entrance and the main stage at the end. Race tracks were situated on opposite side of the venue, along with service stations. And the three day schedule was packed with race events, musical shows in the evenings, DJ, Talks by veteran riders and the surprising addition of standup comedy shows on Day 3. In the evening we returned to the venue, when the actual fun starts. It is a pleasure to be among friends who are in a merry dancing to the tunes, without caring about anything else. These music shows are the best part of RERM, because it gives the best opportunity to get closer to friends, old and new. Later, we headed straight to the beach and sat down for a while just staring at the sea. Had hearty talks with friends till late midnight. For all the three days there, the schedule was almost the same. The nights are extended as we stayed up late in the night, wake up in the afternoon, have brunch, visit the venue, wander to some place in Goa and be back at the venue by six when the musical events start. After the shows, head back to the beach and have quality time with friends.
Day 2 Woke up at 11, went for a brunch and spent time leisurely. Slow race, Dirt track racing, arm wrestling and different other events were going on at the venue in the meantime. This is a best event to watch some quality, professional racing. The dirt track races are a pleasure to watch. It takes lot of skill and practice to master such testing tracks. Amazed by the skills of some riders who had great control, drifting skills and the right amount of attitude to lead in such races. If you are going for the first time to RM, don’t miss any of the events in the chart. It leaves you with good memories as a rider. After this we visited the custom bike exhibition. Good to see so many beautifully modified Enfields at one place. Some of them are so much altered in their shape that, Engine is the only give away to say that it is a Royal Enfield. Makes one think about the amount of work and creativity that goes into making such beautiful things. It is a damn expensive proposition though. In the evening the shows by Reggae rajahs and SA*SA were good, just like the show by Nucleya the day before. It was a mad house at the main venue, with glittering lights, confetti every now and then and some pieces of good music. It is like a carnival. Even though i am not a fan of partying and dancing, I attend these events for the joy of watching friends who dance like nothing else matters and make a merry by singing and stuff. After the show, straight to the beach.
Day 3 started with a realization that this is the last day. It is amazing how fast three days can go by. This is the day when the finals for most of the races are held. And I was eagerly waiting for the standup shows of Varun Thaur, Angad Singh Ranyal and one of my favourite standup comedians, Kenny Sebastian. Glad that I had a fan moment with him after the show by taking a selfie. He made us wait a good 3 hours for the show because he missed his flight. But it was worth it, as the guy was funny as ever. After this the show by Papon live was great. People were having mixed bag of emotions, as this being the last day and all. There were lot of goodbyes and ‘see you soon brothers’ by the end of the show. Returned to the stay with a bit of a heavy heart. But all good things must come to an end. Went to bed early, as we have to ride early in the morning.
Next morning we got up early and were ready to ride by 4. Started promptly and headed to Chorla ghats. It was freezing and we had hard time preventing ourselves from shivering. Took our first break in the middle of the forest for some tasty Poha and coffee. Resumed the ride shortly after, and the sun was coming up. It gives me great pleasure to ride in the early hours basking in the first rays of the sun. The fact that we are in the middle of the forest, added more joy to it. Riding in the ghats is always special, be it the western ghats of Karnataka or Kerala or the hillside near your town. It is challenging some times to ride in the night or to ride in a busy, narrow ghat like Ooty, but these are the best parts of being a rider. Sticking to basics always pays in terrains like these. Rest of the ride was mired with several breaks, because some of our co riders couldn’t prevent themselves from dozing off. Sleep and fatigue are the two biggest enemies of a rider. DO NOT try to push yourself further in any of these conditions. It is a strict NO. That apart, these untimely breaks can also be fun if you choose to. Because, not every day can one get a chance to be stranded in the middle of nowhere joking around with buddies. Rest of the ride went smoothly. It was already 4 and we haven’t had any lunch. Out of hunger we stopped at a small dhabha just before entering Raichur. To our pleasant surprise, the food was simply amazing. We had more food than we need and were worried in the end that we might have to take more breaks, should someone doze off again. But nothing of that sort happened. We thanked the cook for the food and resumed the journey. Didn’t stop much after that till we reached the highway at Jadcherla. Had a couple of teas there and waited for some of our friends. After that, had dinner in Jadcherla, and headed home. It was late night by the time we reached.
Looking back, everything we did was an amazing experience. The leisurely chats, The untimely breaks, dhabha food, Long walks on the beach, Sharing weird stories on the sand, Hunting for good food, dancing, riding, joking around, and lot more. Times like these are what gives us a chance to understand friends better. And I believe memories like these are what makes us a rider.