The bikers at Singur during the ride. Picture courtesy: Lonely Highway Adventures
More than 500 city bikers took part in a 72km ride to celebrate the birth anniversary of Gottlieb Daimler, the man behind the first modern bike.
Daimler was born on March 17, 1834, in Germany and built the Reitwagen, the world’s first petrol bike, in 1885.
On his birth anniversary this year, riders from 31 clubs met at City Centre New Town and rode along Durgapur Expressway to Azad Hind Dhaba in Gopalpur.
“Daimler is the reason so many clubs joined in,” said Soumajit Chakraborty of Wheels United, the organiser of the event. “And once we had the attention of so many bikers, we chose to highlight the issue of safety. That was the underlying theme of the meet.”
The bikers rode in two columns, in full riding gear and within speed limits. “We caught on camera some riders trying stunts or letting their hands off the handlebar. We will ask their clubs to take disciplinary action against them,” said Sumanta Chattopadhyay of Wheels United.
At Gopalpur, a birthday cake was cut for Daimler and shared, after which there was a free bike check-up session. “I was surprised to see that so many bikes had incorrect tyre pressure, which might cause accidents,” said Bikram Banerjee of Cloud 9 Honda, a dealership that sponsored the check-up.
There was also a game, where bikers had to ride a 15ft-long, 10inch-wide plank as slowly as possible. “Youngsters feel rash driving is cool. But today they got to see that it’s tougher to maintain balance while riding at slow speed,” said Jeet Roy, the founder of Caravan Biking Club, 28 members of which were taking part in the rally.
A doctor, who was participating in the event, provided health tips for long-distance riding. “Bikers are prone to dehydration and must drink lots of water,” said Dr Kumar Kaustubha Ray. “They must also refrain from eating spicy food a week before a trip. Finally, riders must bear in mind that sports bikes are not suitable for long-distance riding and will cause backache: heavy cruiser bikes are best suited for this.”
Despite all the talk on safety, one accident did take place when one biker rammed into another a short while after the rally. “It was unfortunate but our spirit is unshakeable,” said Debarshi De, one of the two caught in the accident, minutes after getting his fractured wrist plastered at a nearby hospital.
Wheels United is an association that aims to bring together all the biking clubs of east India. “We had started operations last year on Daimler’s birthday and followed it up today. We hope to continue this as an annual event,” said Chakraborty.