Motorcycle travel teaches you a lot about life than a classroom or certain places of worship. I don’t meant to be disrespectful, but their primarily purpose is to educate and enlighten us. However, motorcycle trips seem to have a profound impact on many riders.
I’m reminded of two incidents: both relating to a cup of tea and motorcycling.
1. Mudaliarkuppam Boat House:
For years, our ritual on a Sunday morning was to ride to Mudaliyarkuppam, about 100kms from Chennai. We (ECRiders) literally changed that sleepy boating spot to a Petrol head’s paddock. In some ways, it was our version of Ace Cafe. Just two days prior to the Chennai floods of 2015, I rode solo to our spot. I was the only lunatic to be there and perhaps because I ride a GS, I think I have a bigger pair of… boots! It was a rainy day and the tea shop was shut. Their supply of milk was disrupted because of the weather. Yet, they managed to source tea and served me a hot cup. I couldn’t have asked for a better morning – chill breeze, no one around and a hot cup of tea. Post my state of bliss, I handed out a Rs. 100 for a Rs. 30 cup of tea. They guy didn’t have change. As I hesitated, the guy handed the ₹100 back and said: “next time sir!”. I’m was a regular and he knew me and so, it was “okay”. But as I rode past the half way point, I realised that he was a bigger man than me. His earnings per day might have been less than my fuel cost for that one ride but he was so kind hearted and understanding while I was being a jerk. After few weeks, I went back and returned but I knew who the bigger man was.
2. Somewhere near Sriperimbur. I was riding back to Chennai. We had clocked 800+ km and we took a break at a little tea stall outside Chennai. The kid from the stall rushed out to greet two BMW GS and like many kids, he was excited. He compared my 2005 model with Adu’s 2017 model and made observations like the alloys vs spoke wheels, exhaust and so on. As much as I chatted with him, I wasn’t too involved because whenever I park my bike, I’m always hounded by questions like: “what’s the mileage”, “how much cc”, “what’s the cost”, “racing sir?”, and so on. Our tea arrived and we sipped a hot cup of tea. Again, when I was about to pay for our tea, the little kid, murmured something to his dad. His dad looked at us and said, “your money isn’t good here. My son has asked me not to charge you.” And refused to take our money. This wonderful jesture stumped us. As I walked back, by God’s grace, I felt the urge to return the favour. So, I called the kid out and took him out for a 500m ride around his shop. The smile on the kid’s face proved that we did make his day. Not only did he get pics of the bike but he got to ride on one. How often does that happen to a kid living in the highway.
In both the incidents, they were bigger than me and only emphasised that it’s important to keep all our senses open. Most times, the journey on the motorcycle is a journey towards being more human. I’m sure that the destination will be good.
Ride. Share. Inspire!