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The Zoo Visit

For the longest time I have wanted to visit the Zoo in Mumbai. Over the last year I regularly passed by it while coming back from work, but never visited it. Finally, over the weekend, I decided a little photography needs to happen and hence the visit to the Zoo was planned. For people who want to visit the Zoo, it is open Tues-Sun 9:00am to 6:00pm.

I picked Friday to go there, I thought it was a weekday and there would be less people, unfortunately that was not the case; due to it being Friday, there were schools and menacing kids waiting outside, yelling and creating general hooliganism. I manoeuvred through the crowds and managed to reach the front gate; it took about 5 odd minutes before they opened. I quickly ran to the ticket counter, out running about 50 kids and waving my hands as if I have won the 100 meters world championship. It cost about 5 rupees to enter the zoo and another 20 if you have a camera, I had 2 cameras so cost me double. As soon as you enter the zoo, the first thing you notice is all the greenery and vast space. I was surprised to see a dedicated work force of people running to keep the place clean and also take care of the animals in the there. I moved clockwise. The first thing I came across was a green house, the same can only be seen from the outside, visitors can’t actually walk through it, next on the cards the monkey cages; please note our zoo is prehistoric we don’t have open areas for animals we still have cages, which is very sad. It was early so there was limited activity in the cages just a guy cleaning the place. From there I moved on to the deers, these guys had it set, large open grounds where they can move around; unfortunately, taking pictures was a challenge, purely based on my distance but managed to sneak a few in courtesy the zoom lens. Next on the cards the elephant enclosure and the crocodile enclosure. The elephants were kept very far away and were having their breakfast so could only spot one of them, the crocodiles were lying in a dirty swamp motionless, onlookers watching them kept saying they’re dead……I wanted to throw one of them in the pond to test the theory 🙂

From there, I moved to the Hippopotamus shelter. There were two large hippos resting in the water all I could see was their backs, I was disappointed I was really looking forward to seeing a hippo in all its glory. As I moved away from the enclosure, I heard a loud noise that startled me a little, moving towards the sound I saw there was another enclosure where a Hippo was eating. I quickly grabbed a picture of the enclosure with a smile on my face. From there I moved to the lion cages, unfortunately there were 2 domestic cats sitting in the cage, the cleaner informed me the lion had passed away. Next was the birds, the smaller birds are kept in small cages which is sad, the silver lining here is the cages are clean and the birds are fed well. The bear enclosure was massive, but unfortunately I could not spot the bear, he probably was trying to avoid the morning sun. While I was near the bear enclosure, some kids yelled out “UNCLE, UNCLE”. I walked there, they called me to show me a Porcupine cage, where they had spotted an albino Porcupine, I quickly took a few shots and moved towards the last exhibit in the Zoo.

Final destination in the Zoo the very large Bird cages. While on my way there, I noticed a few large statues, placed in the middle of floral arrangements – these immediately reminded me of Gears Of Wars, do have a look at the picture to your left. After a fairly long walk and empty enclosures I reached the massive bird cages, these were birds that lived around water, Flamingos, Swans and so on, I was fairly impressed with the way these birds were kept, of course I could only stand a few minutes near the enclosure, annoying kids came and started going “Uncle one photo, one photo”. After not taking their pictures finally decided to exit the Zoo, all in all I was disappointed with the experience, not only the photography, the Zoo has become a barren place with hardly any animals; I would not recommend a visit here unless you want to be very depressed. Do check out some of the pictures around the blog and comment or send us feedback in the section below. All images shot using Nikon D5100.

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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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Unusual Motorcycles

Every now and then you will see a motorcycle on the road and go “WOW! That’s an awesome looking piece of equipment!” People queue up outside showrooms or expos to see motorcycles that have been created basis themes or brands. We have always been fascinated with unusual bikes; hence one of our favourite pastimes is customizing our bike and also watching the Biker Build Off.

To add to the above, Movies, Games and various other brands are also promoting their products using Motorcycles; a classic example of the same – Batman, Gears of War, Tron Motorcycles, etc.. The Gears of War Bike was actually designed by Paul Junior Designs; the wheels of the game-inspired trike include the Gears of War cog skull symbol and the paint resembles armour used in the game. It features crash bars to fight locusts, dual gattling guns and 14 inch wide tires. Check the video below for the unveiling.

The Batpod, on the other hand, is a totally different ball game (we will be covering this in another post). Designed by Nathan Crowley, who designed the Tumbler for Batman Begins (2005), the bike has 20″ front and rear tires (the Tumbler’s front wheels), and is powered by a high-performance, water-cooled, single-cylinder engine, geared toward the lower end for faster acceleration and with no exhaust pipes. The exhaust is routed through the hollow steel/aluminum/magnesium tubing used for the frame of the bike. The Batpod is steered by the shoulders instead of hands, and the rider’s arms are protected by shields. The two foot pegs are set 3½ feet apart on either side of the tank, which the rider lies on, belly down.

The Tron Bike is by far, my most favourite bike, purely on the way it looks and also the way it is showcased in the movie. Electroluminescent strips built into the tire cowlings, wheel rims and body illuminate the cycle. It is powered by a fuel-injected Suzuki 996cc, 4-stroke engine. Riders lay at a near-horizontal position astride the padded leather seat, with feet on foot pegs that control its 6-speed constant mesh manual transmission and hands on the handlebars for throttle and braking. The hubless wheels are former truck tires built up, then custom-shaped to fit onto one of two counter-rotating rims spinning within each other, providing the broad-tired authenticity of the computer cycles from the movie. A chain-driven friction drum manages acceleration and braking from the handlebars. It uses a 3 1/2-gallon main fuel tank and 1 1/4-gallon reserve tank. Check the awesome video below.

I thought it would be fun to put down some Unusual facts on Motorcycles in this post, some of them you already know some will make you go WTF….

The German inventor, Gottlieb Daimler, is generally credited with building the first practical motorcycle in 1885.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that in 2000, 631 motorcyclists were saved by wearing their helmet.

Motorcycles and scooters are, on average, about twice as fuel efficient as cars.

Up to eight motorbikes can fit in the same parking space occupied by one car.

Kawasaki also makes spaceships.

The first rider to ever go over 300 mph was Don Vesco in 1975, on a 1496cc Yamaha-engined streamliner.

MV Agusta is currently producing the F4 1078 RR 312. 312kph being the recorded top speed at the Salt Flats in Utah in 2007.The RR312 reached a recorded top speed of 195, but since speeds are averaged, it’s recorded top speed is 194mph, or metric, 312kph.

The fastest motorcycle is the Dodge Tomahawk, a prototype with an unusual design, featuring the 500 hp (373 kW) 8.3 L V10 engine from the Dodge Viper.(Picture: theRed Bull Bike)

Harley-Davidson built push-bikes between 1917 and 1923. The first Harley Davidson motorcycle, built in 1903, used a tomato can for a carburettor.

When Valentino Rossi was five, his dad Graziano built him a go-cart to discourage him from getting into bikes.

By now you must have realized why the unusual works. Below is a bunch of interesting, unusual motorcycle facts and some awesome imagery for your eyes only. As with all our posts, if you have an unusual bike and an image to share, do add the link in the comments section.

The Unusual Gallery

 

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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NBA Motorcycle Connection

Our fascination with the NBA started way back in 1991 – this when we got Tecmo NBA Basketball on the Nintendo Entertainment system. Post that, the NBA has pretty much governed our lives – we’ve rented, watched most matches on God’s green earth, bought every game on every console and most importantly, got our whole family hooked onto our phenomenon.

Currently, our lives revolve around the NBA Playoffs, this to an extent wherein the early morning bike ride suffers basis live match telecasts. Currently we are following both the Miami Vs. Boston and San Antonio Vs. OKC series. The tricky thing this year is the shortened season and David Stern’s politics. Things that came out of this are the Bulls early exit from the playoffs, Magic not making the playoffs at all, other teams being plagued by one injury or the other. The only good that came out of this was Chris Paul making the Clippers a contender and one of the most fun teams to watch in the league this year.

Moving onto Miami and Boston. This series is a dirty clash, purely based on how Boston plays; they hit hard and also totally mind f%#$% the opposition. Miami, on the other hand, is the poster child for bought teams. Currently the series is tied at 2 games apiece and looks like Boston has the momentum; this after Miami won the first 2 games in the series. Rajan Rhondo is definitely the current star completely dismantling the Heat’s defence – does not matter who the heat throw at him they just cant guard him. The Heat is also missing Bosch, and Garnett is absolutely killing them over there. The Celtics have a very straight forward approach – guard Dwayne Wayde and let Lebron James beat us, without Bosch this strategy is working beautifully. On the other side, SA and OKC are in the exact same situation – 2 games all. SA took the early lead with 2 expertly executed wins. They ran plays like the Harlem Globetrotters and completely destroyed the Spurs. Once the game shifted to OKC, the story has been Kevin Durant and the defensive adjustments that have been made by OKC. Sefolosha has been outstanding and the Lakers must be killing themselves watching the resurgence of Derek Fisher. Kevin Durant is definitely proving why he is the scoring leader and almost impossible to guard. Like my uncle said, the series looks like they will probably go to game 7s respectively. The finals this year are going to be between true battle tested teams and a lot of fun to watch.

So post our expert analysis, you are wondering what is a Basketball post doing on our bike blog? The NBA has a lot of players and coaches who are bike lovers and hence we thought of mentioning a few of them. Till now, the only bike associated with the league was the one Derrick Williams from Minnesota used in the Slam Dunk Contest. Anyways, let’s start with Phil Jackson – the legendary coach of the Bulls has been known to ride on his chopper to and from work. He also has been wanting to travel the world on his motorcycle (this sounds like a rumour). Next on the prominent list is Rik Smits, the extremely tall Indiana Pacer centre; he for some reason has become a Dirt Bike Racer, scary how tall his bike is and the fact that it meets international racing standards. Jay Williams of the Chicago Bulls (I don’t know if a lot of you remember him) was also an avid Bike rider; unfortunately, Williams crashed his motorcycle into a streetlight at the intersection of Fletcher and Honore streets on Chicago’s North Side. Williams was not wearing a helmet, was not licensed to drive a motorcycle in Illinois, and was also violating the terms of his Bulls contract by riding a motorcycle. Finally, let’s look at Ben Wallaces nasty T-Rex…….by all means this is a nasty Trike. The one and only Original T-REX powered by a Kawasaki 1400cc engine, The T-Rex retails for close to $60,000, which isn’t really a problem from Wallace, given that he’s made over $87 million during his 16-year NBA career. Hope you enjoy these rare pictures around the blog and the awesome NBA Finals.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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The Amazing Side Car

I have been fascinated with Sidecars on Motorcycles forever. One of my uncles (Jentu T) had a Scooter with a sidecar and he use to take us on rides to Chowpatty (beach in South Mumbai).

As you know, we recently bought a Motorbike; we were very keen on getting one with a sidecar but on doing some R&D found that sidecars are illegal. Absolutely no idea when and why this happened! I still see a lot of scooters and motorbikes with these amazing, retro-looking sidecars. I asked around and some folks mentioned that you need special permission from the Mumbai RTO to get sidecars; others say the bikes you see on the road are old or illegal; new bikes are just not given permission to attach a sidecar to their bikes. Pity! Would have loved to own one.

Even if we can’t own one, we can definitely share some interesting facts and images of amazing looking sidecars 🙂 . A sidecar motorcycle is a three-wheeled vehicle with the side wheel not directly aligned with the rear motorcycle wheel, and is usually powered by the rear wheel only. This is different from a motor tricycle (trike), where both rear wheels are powered and share a common axle. P.V. Mokharov of the Soviet Union or H.P. Baughn of Great Britain seems to have to been the first to employ a driven sidecar wheel in 1929. In India, the sidecars got really popular in the early 70’s; the primary reason for this was it was a cheap way for a small family to travel. As we moved decades, cars started getting cheaper and sidecars moved out.

Over the years, sidecars were quite popular; they have also been used by armed forces, police and the Army. During WWII, German troops used many BMW and Zundapp sidecar motorcycles. They are hugely popular in sports where multiple disciplines of Motorcycle racing have used them and still use them.; Motocross, Enduro, Grasstrack, Trial, road racing and Speedway with sidecar classes. The sport has followers in Europe, United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The races are categorized as Formula One sidecars.

If you enjoy a good sidecar check our gallery below. Also Motorcycle shows and rallies are a great way to catch glimpses of sidecars; the Legendary Sturgis rally sees insane sidecars on display. Personally, I do hope sidecars come back in style – for one I can’t wait to get one on my Motorcycle and take the lovely Mrs for a long ride……….

The Amazing SIde Car Show

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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Helmets & More

 

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The Avengers Harley Connection

I have never been a big fan of Captain America, but his motorcycle – that is a completely different story. Captain America’s most recognizable vehicle, is a custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Little known comic fact – Captain America while living in Brooklyn Heights stored the motorcycle in a service garage. He often kept his motorcycle in his van and took it wherever he travelled; if you have seen some television episodes and old movies, you are sure to catch this scene.

In recent times, Harley-Davidson collaborated with Marvel Studios to create five motorcycles for Captain America: The First Avenger film, which traces Captain America’s origins as a World War II era Super Hero who rode a military motorcycle as a means of transportation. The Motor Company coordinated the modification of the current day Harley-Davidson Cross Bones model to resemble an original 1942 WLA Army motorcycle. The Motor Company also worked with Marvel Studios to recreate additional parts, such as an ammunition box and leather gun scabbard, to ensure the motorcycles looked as authentic as possible.

Personally I was totally floored by the detailing on the Bike in the First Avengers movie, meant to be a modern interpretation of Harley-Davidson’s classic WLA military motorcycle. Captain America’s custom machine started life as a stock Harley-Davidson Cross Bones model. Fitting, as the Cross Bones, with its spring-mounted solo saddle and springer fork, is arguably the most period-correct platform in Harley-Davidson’s current line from which to begin. Check the video below featuring some crazy concept work on the bike and commentary by the crew.

The Captain’s bike has also inspired another Bike which is part of movie history; this bike was featured in the iconic chopper movie, Easy Rider. The bike shown is not a replica; it is one of two identical choppers originally built by Cliff Vaughn for use in the movie. This is the one that was wrecked at the end of the film. The other was reportedly stolen. After the filming, the wrecked bike was procured by actor Dan Haggerty, who began rebuilding it but never finished it. It was then sold, the restoration being completed by Dave Ohrt. The owner, who wishes to remain anonymous, has graciously loaned it to the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, where it is currently on display. This example of the Captain America bike is a 1951 Harley- Davidson FL. The frame was chromed, but is otherwise virtually stock, so is the engine. Added were extended forks, extended handlebars, upswept fishtail mufflers, gas tank and tall sissy bar, all of which currently defines the chopper.

As with our profile on the Hulk and bike/gear, checkout Captain America’s gallery below. Interestingly, you only need a Brown Leather Jacket and a Bowl shaped Helmet to replicate Chris Evan’s look in the movie. We hope to see a lot more of crazy bikes in the upcoming sequel of the movie.

The Captain America Bike/Gear Gallery

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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The Casual Biker

The dictionary definition of Casual is “Occurring by Chance” how do I associate with this? I am a motorcycle enthusiast by chance.

To be very honest, I was not convinced about buying a bike, but my brother’s enthusiasm got the better of me and we went and bought the Bajaj Avenger. I did not even know how to ride a bike when we first got it; after a good week’s delay, I found some time to go and learn how to ride it. I was familiar with riding a bicycle and understood the way the clutch interacts with the gear and accelerator; this due to driving cars, so riding came easy to me. On the very first day, I managed to take the bike around the street where we live and back home without falling off it. From there, it has been about 2 months now and have been riding the bike on weekends; that is also if I wake up or am not lazing around. My brother, on the other hand, takes it for a spin every single day.

I consider myself a Casual Biker. I love owning a bike, but riding it is not the number one priority, not like I don’t like riding, I enjoy it as much as the next guy,  but I ride only when I absolutely feel like it. I don’t claim to be a biker or out of the Hell’s Angels – my lifestyle hardly reflects that. But since owning a bike, a lot has changed. For one, my outlook to people who own bikes, I always use to be scared of people riding like maniacs. After riding the bike, I am even more scared – personally I ride at about 60 kms and it is pure bliss, open roads in the morning, no traffic and so on. I forgot to mention I only ride in the morning. I have started appreciating the Discovery Turbo channel much more and now appreciate the work people do while they customize these monsters. My lifelong aspiration to own a Ninja and a Harley has also increased dramatically.

I am sure there are a lot people like me out there. These are folks who want to own a Motorcycle and also enjoy the luxury of riding, not speed demons that keep going “I love the speed” (trust me on Indian roads if you love speed you will only reach your death faster). A couple of things you should know in case you are Casual Biker – first get a bike that you are comfortable with and is low maintenance, just because the guy next door has an Enfield or Harley does not mean you have to get one. Trust me, from all the stories I have heard those bikes are planets where maintenance is concerned. Find people who have similar interests – more casual riders; you will be able to relate to them and they will speak to you about their rides in a language you understand. Trust me, I have spoken to people who talk like they are engineers and assemble bikes for a living (Good for them I say, but I understand things a little simple).  Visit the local Chop Shop, you will definitely find something you will like to add to your bike; minor customizations on the bike are awesome, low risk and give you another reason to ride. I don’t know why, but the day we get our bike modified, the urge to ride is much more. Finally, keep a good mechanic’s number stored on your phone; you never know when you may need to use it. Find a route that you are comfortable with and ride there, learn the turns and bumps, trust me it is very different from driving a car.

If you have never ridden a motorcycle, but have a casual mindset towards it, go ahead and rent a bike or buy one. It is definitely not a disappointing experience; as a Casual Biker, you will enjoy all the luxuries a hardcore biker would, but it will be more staggered and more by chance…

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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Your Bike is You

The kind of bike you own dictates your personallity. So how does this work? Let’s take a step back to understand the basics – categories & owners – to put things into perspective.

Bike Types

Bike Types –

1) Racer 2) Cruisers 3) Dirt / Off Road 4) Custom

Racer

Category 1 clearly is for the adrenaline junkie who craves the rush. Speed is what drives this animals… Most often the kind of bikes you see people in this category riding through crowded & open streets are the Kawasaki Ninjas, Repsol Honda’s, KTM Duke, Aprilla, etc. These bikes more often than not, are in the over 300, 500 and above cc category & are clearly marketed with a “need for speed” message considering you will see them in Moto Gp’s, Super bike categories etc

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The Cruiser

Laid back, enjoying life, chilling with friends, not really a thrill seeker but more of the kind who appreciates the sweetness of doing nothing is the defination for the community which falls into category 2. Harley Davidson, some versions of BMW, Triumph, Bajaj Avenger, etc. are bikes which appeal to psyche of these people. Clearly the agenda for these riders is to go on long rides alone or with friends, have comfortable machines, take things slow and steady which is also defined by their ride.

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The Dirt Bike

Living life on the edge, the thrill of speed and the adreniline rush of living life by the second is what drives people who own Scramblers. These guys will be seen navigating through congested traffic at high speeds, doing wheelies, etc. across open roads, trying to pickup their bikes on full throttle as soon as the signal lights turn green. Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, etc. are companies producing these bikes

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The Custom Bike

Clearly a combination of all of the above and add to that the need to personalize, style and stand out amongst the crowd is what gets people to opt for these bikes. You know the guys wants people to  believe that the bike is an extention of his / her personallity… an ordinary bike has a custom, paint job, multiple accesories, tweaks, etc. Chop Shops & Bike Builders across the world build these customs, some popular ones being Orange County, Jesse James, Choppers Inc, Paul Junior Design, Rajputhana Customs to name a few.

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We personally believe we fall into category 2 and a bit in 4 and the proof for the same is our customized Cruiser  Bajaj Avenger 🙂

What category do you fall into?

Our Bike

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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