“Motorcycle”, has always fascinated me, that how a man-made invention, years after becomes a passion for millions and it never stopped. I remember when growing up, I used to jump onto my uncle's bike every time he takes his bike to go out. He used to make me sit on the tank of his Suzuki Max 100 and take me for a round before he went. It became a ritual every time someone started a bike to go out. But it was just the excitement and thrill I guess then. But love for motorcycles started in 2004 when this movie came up about thieves on super cool fast bikes. Yup, it was “Dhoom” and John Abraham on the cherry red Hayabusa. Hayabusa became the 'bike crush' of all the youngsters then. Since then I started following more about sports bikes. I started cutting pictures from magazines or newspaper, I even used to beg dad to buy those automotive magazines just to cut those pictures to stick on the wall.
A couple of years later love for motorcycles went to the next level when one day, I saw my dad watching something on the sports channel. My dad is crazy about sports and he follows all kinds of sports, you ask him anything about any sports he’s got the answer. But this time I saw something fascinating, he was watching a bike race and that caught my attention. I quickly went and sat next to him to see what this race was about. Clearly, I was not understanding what was going, but I did see a lot of riders on bikes driving fast, and the most amazing part, the way they lean and touch the ground when they turn. I sat there and watched in amaze and I started asking dad all kinds of questions and yea, he was able to answer them all in a way I can understand. I finally started to get what was going on and then saw this huge battle between two bikers, I asked what’s going on? Dad said, these two guys are first and second and each of them is trying to be first. Excitement rushed inside me seeing them trying to overtake, the way they leaned, how they maneuvered the bikes. Two bikes, one in red, other in white and blue and he had a number on the bike in fluorescent yellow color, number 46. That caught my eye and I asked dad who he was. Well, now I don’t have to say much right? Rossi became my hero and I was crazy about MotoGP. People these days talk about battles between Marquez and Rossi; Dovi and Marquez, but those were nothing compared to those battles between Rossi and Casey Stoner back in the days and I truly miss that.
At a very young age, I was so influenced by motorcycles, especially when you have a father and uncle who were crazy as hell. At the time my dad had Suzuki samurai and uncle had a Max 100. They were a bit old for the time then, but people who know motorcycles knew it was the ultimate garage goal. Then the next thing which truly started my love for motorcycles was in 2008. Yamaha launched the YZF-R15, it was a beast, and it was just like the one Rossi used to drive, In white and blue. I was around 12, I knew how to drive a bike, perks having a crazy father and uncle, but I knew I cant buy one for myself. So I begged dad if he will buy that bike. I told him it was just like the one Rossi drives. He looked at me and smiled. A few days later, we walk into a Yamaha showroom, and I immediately ran to the corner where they displayed the beast. I just stood there and drooled. So, dad started talking to the people there, and finally, we decided that we won't buy it. My mom felt the bike was not fit for my dad's age. As disappointing as it was, my dad had to agree, it was true. I had never been so unhappy in my life. The bike was not for me, but knowing the fact that we won't be buying it just got me devastated. But, it didn’t end badly at all. Just as we were about to leave, the sales guy comes down and tells my dad, “sir if you are interested, we have a new launch coming in a few weeks, it comes with a similar spec as the R15 but it will be more apt for you”. My dad told he will come back later and we left. A few days later, I was watching TV and this ad comes up for a new bike and it said “The Lord of the Streets”. Yes the mighty Yamaha FZ-16 and it was a beauty. What I loved was the 140 section tire, for a 150cc bike at the time, it was super wide. I immediately ran to my dad to show him the bike in the advertisement but dad was not as enthused as I was. From the look on his face, I knew this was not going to happen. Days later, I come back from home school, just a normal day and my thought about the bike was long gone. I got inside my house, threw the bag on the sofa, and lied down when I suddenly noticed something new on the table. It was a brochure! For the FZ-16. Seeing the brochure, it means dad must have definitely gone back to the showroom. I jumped out of the sofa, grabbed the brochure, and ran to my mom. I saw my mom in the kitchen with a smile on her face. Yes, we booked the FZ-16. I was on cloud 9, I couldn’t sleep for the coming days because of the excitement and I couldn’t wait for it to be home. Weeks later, there she was, beauty in black, the cheetah-like face and the bulky tank. It really looked like a sports bike, it was a sports bike. So the dream came true, we got the bike. Next, to ride it.
I learned to ride a motorcycle on my uncles Yamaha Libero, don’t be fooled by the 106cc engine, at that time it was fast, really fast for a 12-year-old. So I was just waiting for a chance to drive my dad's new bike. Unfortunately, my mother didn’t agree with me riding it because it was more bigger and powerful than my uncle's bike. But that didn’t stop my dad. A few days later, while I and dad were on the run for some errand, he let me drive it, and oh my, I still can't forget the feeling of driving that amazing machine. After that, I got the luxury of driving in my road during the nights and under my uncle's supervision when he visits. I and my dad took care of it as our own. The FZ stayed on till my family for 10 years. Once I got my license, my dad officially handed over the keys to me. That was a proud moment. I have friends who got their own new bikes and cars at that time, but I never felt bad for having an old bike, because I knew it was worth way more than that. I took care of it like my baby, had my first crash, and also took my girlfriend out for a ride. Those were happy days. 2018, I started my first job and it demanded me to travel a lot. All my colleagues traveled mostly by bike so I thought I would do the same. But there was a problem, the FZ was on her 10th year and she did show some reliability issues. It got me worried and I know I had to do make the next decision, buy a new bike. So after months of research and googling, I shortlisted a few bikes that I thought would suit my necessity and driving style, and finally, after test drives, I booked the 2018 Dominar 400. A week later got took delivery. The Dominar was fast, powerful, and comfortable. I fell in love with it, but I didn’t let go of my FZ, still used to drive her for my local commutes and I thought we could go like that. But did dad felt otherwise, it would be difficult to maintain two bikes at a time. It was true and dad talked to an auto broker to sell it. A week later, she was sold, for Rs. 16000, but it was priceless for me. I know I have a new bike, but I had too many memories with the FZ and I really missed it. A few days later I came to know a guy in my town bought. I see her sometimes and I recognize her from the number plates. Every time I see her my heart skips a beat.
It is true, we never forget our first love.