Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The one that is the farthest is of me wanting to go with my father wherever he was going. I don't remember the details but I do remember him dressing up after lunch, putting on his helmet (a half face one with the peak which can be fitted on with studs which he used to wear with his photosensitive riding glasses) and me wanting very badly to go with him. I do remember realizing vaguely that it was absurd (or maybe not) but still crying my heart out to go with him. I still remember quite clearly, me standing at the door bawling and he getting on his scooter and riding by. The front door led to a partly open garage and you can see the road that leads off to outside the colony and I still remember seeing him ride by without looking back. Thinking back, he probably did feel bad or maybe he was just irritated.
The second one is a memory of one of my school days. School used to get over around 1:30PM and we used to go back home for lunch. Lots of kids in my colony went to the same school and there used to be auto-rikshaw men who ran shifts just for getting kids to school and back. So my sister and I used to take an autorikshaw to school too. Well so most days, after school, we had to wait for our autorikshaw to show up and so a bunch of us usually ran around and play ed during the wait. Well so this day that I remember, I come running down from my class and as usual swing my bag over a small parapet which separates the class rooms from a small playground in the front. I swing it right over my head, over the parapet and bang it against the wall and then let go so that it stays there waiting for me to pick it up when the autorikshaw comes. But then I see a man who has been watching me do all that from maybe 4 feet away and realize that its my father with some guilt. And he goes so thats why your bags don't last or something to that effect. I don't remember the riding home part but I do remember the look on his face. It had the pleasure of catching me in the act, a bit of sternness but also affection.
The third memory I have is when I had gone with my father on the scooter to a shop. I don't remember what shop but I do remember there was someone else with us. So I guess I was riding in the front, standing on the foot boards of the scooter with my head just below my fathers (later years had me have to lean down so that he could see). The scooter was a Bajaj Chetak and it is a pretty durable decent scooter (I had a friend of mine in college who had one and it still rocked). Well so he goes into the shop leaving me on the scooter and I remember playing with the break pedal on the foot board. Then I remember playing with the accelerator on the handle bar and I found that it got stuck sometimes at maybe quarter throttle. Most of the times I couldn't get it to stay stuck at that position - it would snap back, but finally I did manage to keep it that way. I wanted to know what would happen when he finally came back and started it up. I had no idea that it needs to be started in neutral (and so would cause no harm) and had a vague notion that it was a bad idea to have the throttle open. So yeah, I was evil even then. So he comes out and of course the first thing he does is hold the accelerator open before cranking the kick start and he realizes what I have done. So he looks at me and tells his friend what I have been up to and I feel the guilt rise up again and he has that same look on his face - but I see a trace of puzzlement too - like he is thinking how did I end up creating this?
Sunday, December 09, 2007
So the first step – getting a motorcycle. I bought both my motorcycles through craigslist (http://vancouver.craigslist.org/mcy). You just have to keep looking for that affordable, durable, not too bad looking motorcycle – and I am speaking about those of you who are just scraping by with the money that you make RAing, TAing, working on-campus shifts and not the people who have cash to splurge. So for the tight budgeted, there IS hope. You just have to start cooking food at home and stop clubbing :-D. Both my motorcycles were sub $1500. But the problem is not just the actual price of the bike, it’s the insurance and the parking, the gas and maybe maintenance expenses that you might entail. Insurance is in slabs – less than 125CC, 125CC to 400CC, 400CC to 750CC. The premium also depends on how long you have been riding, your age, your insurance history (if you crashed or you were in an accident – it goes up) – it’s more personal here than in
That said, once you have decided it’s worth it, and you really do want to smell the wind as it rushes past you at 140kmph, here are some rules of buying a motorcycle. Mostly the sellers let you test drive it if you give them a token amount (maybe $200) and some trusting/foolhardy people (like me) let you test ride for free. For the first purchase, I would advice taking a friend with you who does know something about motorcycles. Don’t worry about the humungous engine sizes – the basics of motorcycling are the same – if it’s a 100CC Indian motorcycle or a 750CC Japanese one. It’s heavier and quicker and it needs more care when handling – but don’t be intimidated. Once you are satisfied with its condition (and cross your fingers that its not glued together with gum and tape), you get it transferred to your name by going to an Auto Insurance broker. In BC, insurance is government-run by the ICBC and they have Auto Insurance brokers all around the place. The closest one on campus is University Insurance Brokers near the Village. I would strongly advice you to go down to the broker with the seller before you give him/her the money rather than him/her giving you the necessary papers with signature (you need the transfer of ownership form and the vehicle registration). Woes entailed by me for not following this procedure can be read at http://mindslice.blogspot.com/2007/04/possession-and-ownership-aka-idiots.html
So you have the motorcycle, next you might need motorcycling gear. Apart from the legally necessary helmets (which you might also trying buying off your motorcycle seller) for both you and your significant other/close friend (if you do take a close friend of the same sex with you, people on the streets smile knowingly), you might also want to buy a motorcycle jacket and gloves. In
About legalities and adapting to new traffic rules – if you are a student, you can drive in BC with your Indian license, your student card and your study permit. I have driven to
Most of my motorcycling routes have been set by my ex-roomie – who taught me quite a bit of the ropes. If weather allows, I usually take daily trips to
So that’s it! Hope I have motivated at least a few of you to buy a motorcycle and start riding. Its fun riding in a group too! Do mail me if you have any questions at email@example.com
This is taken from the UBC Indian students' association annual newsletter, which can be found here: Geetanjali 2007 -Roobaroo