The day after I landed in dear old Bangalore, I ended up having a conversation with a cousin on the different vehicles available in the market. It did come up that I was planning to buy a good bike in the shorter term, while looking to upgrade to a car based on need later on, maybe after a few months. I guess I do feel guilty about adding to the pollution, but then I do intend to use it solely during weekends. Considering that my cousin wasn’t using his two-wheeler much he made me an offer. He asked me to use his vehicle for a few weeks until I got my own. That way his vehicle would also get some usage and I would also get acclimatised.
Now, all this is great and fine. Except that my cousin’s bike is a Honda Unicorn, all of 150cc and one of the heaviest vehicles around. Except that my usage of a proper bike with its gears and need for all four limbs to be on alert is kinda on the rusty side. Not because its been a long time since I rode a bike in Bangalore, just that all my previous 2-wheelers have been gearless scooters. My usage of bikes with gears was limited to taking my bro’s bike out for a ride and trying to remember which gear I had ended up on. There was one basic rule I never forgot. On first gear, accelerate before releasing the clutch!
The clutch itself is an interesting concept that has given me interesting nightmares. I have woken up, not in sweat though, from dreams of me being in charge of a bike or a car and clutching and shifting gears along my way to some destination. I’ve usually woken up all happy and confident about my abilities to handle the device, only to realise that I was doing something fundamentally wrong. Considering that I usually can’t remember much of the dream, it’s usually the kind about solving math problems when you fall asleep in the midst of, well, solving math problems.
Coming back, so I ended up at my uncle’s place 2 days later with a brand new helmet which looked more like a miner’s hat with a nice ferrari horse on the front. Not even fitting my head it was worn strictly to fend off nosy cops bent on enforcing helmet rules. Considering my expertise with bikes, you might argue that it wasn’t exactly a bright idea to wear a flimsy helmet, but such it goes. The start wasn’t good as I ended up on a tiny bump on the muddy road and trying to get over it right at the start. I pushed the vehicle over it and started it off. The start worked good. I moved past the mud into the main road which was thankfully empty. The gear moved to the 2nd and then came the 3rd as the vehicle grunted. So 3 it was that I stayed on and eventually reached home after negotiating 2 major junctions and tons of heavy lorries and rushing buses which seemed to stop at random places in the most accommodating way.
So now the vehicle is used to travel farther distances. There are some stops where the vehicle switches off as the clutch gets released, but these have been restricted to traffic junctions causing no harm and no questions about my lineage have been asked by fellow motorists either. So I guess am doing reasonably good. Hopefully will move into a state where the clutch becomes natural in my hand. But I guess that will take time. Till then will have to grit my teeth and clutch it for dear life!