Two things came to my mind when I found out about India Bike Week. First was a chapter from Hunter S Thompson’s book on Hell’s Angels. It describes the sheer adrenaline rush of Labour Day weekend, when hordes of outlaw motorcyclists ride through ocean fog and congregate to generally have fun and play the menace that the society accuses them to be.
Second was a rave. What makes a rave? Is it the music, the decor, the clothes? I think it is the vibe shared by an entire community, however niche. The magic lies in the energy.
Both of the above hold true for the upcoming India Bike Week (IBW) in Vagator, Goa. They call it “Asia’s Biggest Biker Rave”, and if you factor in the 20,000 odd bikers who ride down from far-flung corners of the country with uncurbed enthusiasm for bikes, booze and barbecues alike, you understand why.
This is going to be the 5th edition of the festival and it already has a solid following of bikers who wouldn’t miss it for a thing.
Dr Amit, one of the regulars, says, “The kind of motorcycling events they do as the pre-cursor to the main fest (chai pakoda runs/ Iconic 5 rides) and the way they try to involve enthusiasts like us in planning and execution to reach the entire motorcycling crowd in the country, that actually helps to connect with likeminded people and that’s phenomenal.”
What is also phenomenal is the broad range of experiences lined up. They swing between hardcore bike stuff (and even within that there are events as diverse as exclusive biker accessory shopping, bikini bike washes and track racing), and more generic things like live music featuring folk rock bands and DJs alike, standup comedy and delightful beer gardens.
In fact, there’s a fair deal at the festival that would appeal to non-bikers too (and yes, you are allowed to show up on foot if you like).
Thanush Joseph, Festival Marketing Director IBW, tells us more: “It’s a big party – there will be over 30 food stalls covering everything, from BBQ to sausage pav and ice creams; bars curated by Nicole Madon from the Kalaghoda Food Festival; and over 100 shopping stalls – this year we have tied up with the Lil’ Flea for curating our flea market.”
Perhaps as nutty and enjoyable as the festival itself is the ride leading up to it. It’s called The Great Migration, where bikers make their way to Goa, independently or as part of their clubs, from as far away as Guwahati and Jammu. The migration could last a day or a week, and it sets the mood for the festival.
Thanush says there’s plenty IBW on the road too, “This year we have tied up with Easy Roads to provide an array of ride support items to make the ride to IBW that much easier – fuel vouchers, discounts at highway restaurants and hotels, roadside assistance and medical support, and road marshals.”
Most of all, the 10 acres of the festival venue will play host to bikes so beautiful as to inspire awe in even the hardiest of two-wheeler-haters.
Akshay, another regular at the festival, puts it like this – “In the end, it all adds up to going back home with a wide smile on my face and an intense feel good factor that heightens my feeling of being a biker.
“I get to learn something interesting over the 2-3 days of the festival, and the bond we share just keeps getting stronger. New bonds are made with a promise of seeing each other very soon, and if not, for IBW at least.
“And lastly, to see those exotic machines ride into Goa is simply ecstatic. Who wouldn’t get turned on with this orchestra of the wonderfully magnanimous two-wheeled wonders?”
Join the India Bike Week community here.
Image Credit: India Bike Week