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Thursday, December 6, 2012


I never thought this would ever happen in my lifetime. Sure, Royal Enfield enthusiasts started the movement and the manufacturer furthered the cause. But till date, the only big motorcycle meet in the country was limited to Royal Enfield bikes alone.

Things are changing, however. Finally, here's a bike fest happening and it's open to everyone who rides anything with two wheels with a motor slung in between for good effect! Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the India Bike Week that's going to over run Goa between the 2nd and 3rd of February 2013.

Judging from the launch party, I can safely say that they love their motorcycles. Any band of blokes who doll up the entrance with a pristine Norton Manx 350 and an unmolested vintage AJS gets my vote. The Harleys were there and so were the Beemers and as usual, the Bullet riding boys were there too in  good strength. What seemed cool to me was that a solitary RX 100 cafe made it too, and had its own spotlight!

What's better is that the boys behind that awesome Helmet Stories motorcycle blog, good friends Vir Nakai and Harsh Man Rai, are heavily involved.

I'm going to be there. Don't know what I'll be riding though, but for once, it doesn't really matter. As long as you arrive with bugs on your visor and your jacket caked with dust, you'll be welcome! Good times beckon!


Sometimes, you have to let go of the things that are the closest to you. Things that you have poured your heart and soul and life savings into. Life's like that. Yeah, a bitch.

My 1954 AJS 16M came to me all the way from central India. It had changed hands several times, each owner leaving his ugly mark on the poor girl. By the time it reached my place, the gear shafts were stripped of all splines, the magneto had lost all its spark, the motor had seen better days, some of the nuts and bolts had come off cupboards and bullock carts and the suspension was short.

The AJS, after many years of my fettling. She left in this condition.
 Wages back then, just as they are now, seemed too meagre to mount a complete restoration. I did what I could, getting one aspect of the motorcycle fixed as best as my capacity and wallet could permit.

The result was a fine motorcycle that was rough around the edges. A machine that had its own whims and fancies. A motorcycle that would sometimes start right up in the first kick and run the rest of the day like the finest Swiss clockwork. But on other days, the AJS was stubborn like syphilis, refusing to even fire once, let alone run. 

But the journey to get her here was long and well worth it. However, everything comes to an end and the good old AJS was packed off, destined this time to southern India.
I'm glad to see, however, that the current owner has started where I left off. In fact, he's gone 30 steps ahead already, with a complete ground up restoration. I couldn't have been happier for the old girl for she totally deserves what's coming to her!

This is how the (can't call her mine anymore) AJS now stands. And from what I can see, she couldn't have gone to a better home!