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Our Awesomely Sensational Bike

The Awesome Visor

Today’s post is about the crazy-ass modifications done on our bike! As some of you who have read our previous posts are aware, we own a Bajaj Avenger – purely because its the only bike in the country which is affordable that gives you a cruiser look & feel. Also, we have talked about it in multiple posts before but we wanted to consolidate the same & thus we are here. So over a period of 2 months of owning a bike, we have added a lot to the same and tried to make it as cool as possible (at least in our heads).

The Eagle on the Fender

Please note, we have also spent a minimal of money post discovering the chop shop lane in Bombay & getting a specialized mechanic to work on our bike. So let me start from the fact that the first addition wegot done on our bike was the customized visor / wind shield. Mihir, from day 1, was very clear that we needed to get this addition on the bike. It gave a good retro feel to the bike and also, for all practical purposes, was a good purchase. This buy was done directly through the dealer from whom we bought the bike. Post this, and realizing we wanted to customize our bike with further modifications, we accidently stumbled upon thechop shop lane and found out that getting the bike customized isn’t going to cost much…

The Awesome Grips

So then we found a store which catered to our needs and was cost effective. From here, our first buy was the handle grips which were chrome platedand very retro looking. By now you would have figured we are kind off retro junkies J.Next thing bought were foot rests; this piece of equipment is an amazing buy as the standard foot rest you get with the Avenger are foot pegs and are not comfortable for long rides. The foot rests are comfortable and also don’thinder in the gear changing process. Also bought was a stand for the bike shaped in the leg of an eagle, which is one of the coolest features on our bike. This was also chrome plated andsuper!

The Stand and Foot Pedal

Indicator Caps

So this was more or less the first phase changes added to the bike. Phase 2 was bags. Somehow, always wanted a cool set, so went and got 2saddle bags & 1 mini bag for the bike as you can see in the pictures. Then, the mini light chrome indicator caps were bought which add a whole different feel to the bike. Finally, the seat of the bike was sorted wherein we got chrome tags across the length to match the saddle bags & before I forget, the final piece of the puzzle added to the bike was on the chrome plated eagle head with illuminated redeyes!!! Currently, this is all the work done on the bike. Do take a moment tocheck some kick ass pictures of the bike, courtesy Mihir. Also if you areinterested in our previous posts “Chop Shop Heaven” & “The Chop Shop” (Featured in the Bikes & Builders section) we have covered more details of not only our bike, but also the place where we got the same modified.

Mini Saddle Bag

Now, the Overall Cost –

1) Chrome Handle Grips – Rs. 600/-

2) Foot Paddles – Rs. 100/-

3) Eagle Side Stand – Rs. 2000/-

4) Front Visor – Rs. 3000/-

5) Saddle Bags – Rs. 650/-

Amazing Saddle Bags

6) Indicator lamp Caps – Rs. 100/-

7) Seat Chrome Tags – Rs. 300/-

8) Eagle Head Chrome Emblem – Rs. 2000/-

Grand Total = Rs. 8750 to get the bike looking insanely awesome!!!

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Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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The Weekend Pilgrimage

It’s been 36 years now that I have been staying in Bombay (Still can’t get around to calling it Mumbai). In all these years I have visited all the popular landmarks in the city, but never got around to visiting the Haji Ali Dargah – the main reason for this – it was damn scary to go there, it’s in the middle of the sea! Last weekend, I had decided to go on a photography walk to Mahalakshmi Mandir; the same eventually moved on to a Dargah walk below are some details of how that happened.

Like with all Sundays mornings, I woke up and lazed in bed for a while; eventually realized that I have to catch early glimpses of Mahalakshmi Mandir and jumped out of bed, called Milind (twin brother) who was on his bike ride to come and fetch me. We then went on a wild goose chase to find a location to shoot pictures – Marine Drive, VT, Walkeshwar, Grant Road Vegetable Market, but no real luck! Some places were overly crowded with cops, others were shut. Finally, I asked Milind to drop me to Mahalakshmi; note, I always knew I wanted to go there but I wanted a bike ride also. On reaching the Mandir, I realized that it had pretty much remained the same; I had come there about 10 years back to fix lights on the Mandir (I used to do that a few years back) – the same florists, Pandits sitting to get aarti done, etc. What has changed was the stairway which led to the Mandir – it’s like a secure cocoon, metal detectors, overhead cover, etc. This kind of put me off, I took a few pictures but then walked out.

While leaving, I thought I don’t have a picture of the Haji Ali Dargah so decided to brave the early morning sun and walk towards the Dargah to capture a few shots. On reaching close to Haji Ali Juice Center, I realised there is a small lane that I have never actually seen, I walked forward into the lane and saw a whole bunch of cops; a little worried by now about whether they will allow my camera in or not? To my surprise, it was smooth sailing. I walked down a path and realised this is the road that cuts through the sea towards the legendary Hajil Ali Dargah, major excitement happened in my world – this was an unexplored path for me. As I moved forward, I realized there was a low tide and hence safe to walk ahead (Note I have always had this fear) my immediate reaction – the road was like a flea market, owners were just opening their shops, but they were selling everything: bags, rubber bands, holy floral sheets, books and so on. By now I had gone trigger happy shooting everything and anything. I reached the middle of the road and realized I am on the opposite side of the city; this is something everyone must experience once in their life – the view is spectacular – cityscape on one side and the ocean on the other. Amazing! After a longish walk, I reached the Dargah, did not take any pictures there, and went in put a Chaddra on Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari’s Dargah, bowed my head in respect and sat there for a few minutes. Trust me, the world slows down and you feel peace like you have never felt.

Some history on this awesome Heritage monument: The Haji Ali Dargah was constructed in 1431 in memory of a rich Muslim merchant, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (R.A.), who gave up all his worldly possessions before making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Hailing from Bukhara, in the ancient Persian Empire and now in Uzbekistan, Bukhari travelled around the world in the early to mid 15th century, and then settled in Mumbai. Haji Ali left this world during his journey to Mecca and miraculously, the casket carrying his body, floated back to these shores, getting stuck in the string of rocky islets just off the shore of Worli. Thus, the Dargah was constructed there. Good people, if you have not visited this monument, I suggest you drop everything and go there. It’s an experience you will not forget.

The Photo Gallery

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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My Route 66

Riding a Motorcycle is about muscle memory, like swimming – you will never forget it but if you don’t keep at it, you will not progress to the next level. This week, we will be focusing on certain key basics while we showcase areas of interest in and around Mumbai.

Currently, I have a fixed route while riding, Home – Narmain Point – Walkeshwar – Mahalakshmi – Home. I have been fixated on the route for about 2 months now. Two reasons for selecting this route: the awesome view at Marine Drive and the twists and turns on the Walkeshwar stretch. What I have found most helpful while riding is looking ahead – being able to look ahead, being able to notice what’s important – is a vital specially when you are riding in Mumbai. You never know when someone tries to sneek past you or jump in front of you. Looking would seem very ordinary and that that’s something everybody is capable of, but you will notice that there is much to learn about looking ahead.
You ride towards where you look, so to learn cornering well, you will have to look in the right direction. In traffic, you will have to learn to notice far more than you usually see. Whether safety or speed appeals most to you, you will have to work on your looking skills. The only advice I can give here is try not to get distracted. Focus on what’s ahead and anticipate your move accordingly. Marine drive is ideal for practising – this road is broad and in the morning has a lot less traffic.

Enough about the looking. Let’s go back to the riding. I generally leave home at about 7:00 am, go through Marine Drive upto Narimain point and then turn towards Cuffe Parade; note the Cuffe Parade road tends to get very crowded even at 7 in the morning; from there it’s pretty much back towards home. When I hit Chowpatty on my way back, I don’t take the right to go home, I carry on towards Walkeshwar – this is the other end of South Mumbai – the road is an uphill with a few twists and turns to master the art of cornering, the top most being a complete U-Turn towards Hanging Garden (more on that a little later). In my opinion, the essence of motorcycle riding is cornering: You may keep enhancing your cornering skills for the rest of your life, and you will probably never reach full perfection (well, maybe with the exception of Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa). What kinds of mistakes are often made in corners, and what is the reason for those mistakes? What can you do about it? What is the perfect line, and how do you find it? When do you brake, and what is the right speed for a corner? I think too many things to cover in one post, suggestion – practise slow cornering; the aim should be to be able to take an uphill u-turn without putting your leg on the road.

Now, back to riding. So post taking the dreaded U-Turn at Walkeshwar, I head towards Hanging Gardens. These are the iconic public parks which anyone who has lived in Mumbai is aware of. Amazing open spaces at the top of a hill; I actually went into the park this weekend, something I have not done in about 15-20 years; I was pleasantly surprised at how well the park was maintained. There were a lot of senior citizens walking and sitting around the park, there was classical music playing on the PA system, clean bathrooms. I was pleasantly surprised. I then went on to the Shoe House Park…. I have no idea what it is called, but there is a giant shoe in there; as kids, Milind and I used to climb up to the top of the same. Again, pleasantly surprised – the park was maintained well, people were not littering, absolutely awesome! I had my camera along, so did some photography and rode back home. Check out the amazing beach view from one of the lookout points in the park. If you are in Mumbai or live here and enjoy bike rides like we do, check this route; I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised. As usual, check the gallery for pictures from Hanging Garden, both early morning and late at night.

The amazing Photo Gallery

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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Baby Motorcycle Steps

This one is for all you inexperienced riders out there – people like me who like to ride their motorcycle, but are still not familiar with the beast.
 
If you read our blog regularly, you know we own a Bajaj Avenger; the bike was an impulse buy. That’s really not what this article is about, it’s about learning to ride it. I would like to share my experience here. I learnt to ride in about 3 hours and hence. A couple of things for people who are thinking how the hell did he do that? A) I knew how to ride a bicycle and B) I have been driving a car for about 20 years now. Now I have of you thinking again, “How the hell does that help?” Let me explain. The bicycle clears the balancing bit, you don’t need to learn how to balance on a motorcycle if you have mastered a cycle, once that fear is out, it’s fairly simple. Point B is about applying the transmission logic from driving a car to the motorcycle, accelerate, once the engine revs enough press down the clutch and change gears, only difference the hand and leg movement is reversed.
If you are like me, and know how to ride a bicycle and drive a car, rest assured you will pick up the bike in 3 hours or even less. So what about people who don’t know either? I would recommend learning the balancing bit on a bicycle – it’s much much lighter and you can also add training wheels. The changing gears and all may take a little more time, but you will eventually get it, but if balance is an issue you need to get over that fear first. Moving on, assuming you have started riding, the first thing you will notice is the accelerator is insanely loose, just turn it a little and the bike flies. To start off, learn to control the same while the bike is in neutral (That’s the N on your indicator panel); your first few rides should only be in the first gear, even if the bike revs up do not move up a gear, once you can ride about 100 meters, move up a gear. If a car comes behind, stop on the side, do not let go of the handle bar to give way, etc. To start, master the handle brake. You can move onto the foot brake later. That’s  pretty much it..
My trials and tribulations, now that I have been riding for 2 months, I still have trouble getting the bike moving from a stationary position. I do believe I have mastered the first three gears, but I still get confused when I hit the 4th one, I think I am in 3rd and try pressing down on the clutch before realizing the error. Turnings, especially around South Bombay, is a challenge; I tend to slow down then quickly change gears and then get out of the turn in 1st or 2nd gear. That being said, I do believe I am getting better with every ride. Oh! forgot to mention the faster you get falling out of the way the better. Please note this does not mean you go and fall, just try and lock the fear of falling out your head. To all the inexperienced riders out there, keep at it, it does get easier and a whole lot more fun.
 
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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Categories, Trips & Rides

 

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Chop Shop Heaven

This is where Magic happens

Bikes being Customized

For most of us, seeing customized bikes on the streets triggers statements like “that’s a cool looking bike” or “that’s a mean machine”, followed by “that must have cost a some major bucks…”. Post getting our bike, we were sure we wanted the same to be customized, though didn’t know where to go and get it done; stores, designers would be expensive & also the same would take a decent amount of time. So one fine day, while visiting the dealer fromwhere we bought our bike, by chance we stumbled upon the Chop Shop Lane. If you live in Bombay, own a bike or are planning to buy one or are just interested in interesting stuff the city has to offer, read on…

My Bike Accessory Supplier

The Seat Customizing Stall

Situated off Lamington Road, towards the road which leads towards Bombay Central Station, there is a Junction to the right of which is a lane where you will see loads of activity and bikes parked along the footpath. As you enter the lane, you will see shops which display bike parts like tyres, fuel tanks,helmets, accessories, etc. Walking into any shop here is an experience as these small, unassuming shops offer the world in terms of bike customization. Mihir& I, on our discovery of this place, walked past & in and out of everyshop to see what they were offering…. it was like kids in a candy store except this candy store was the size of a mall! Also once you start exploring nuances of this place you will find shops which specialize in products and accessories; we found helmet shops, shops which sell handlebars & also a vendor on the roads who customizes the seat from whom we did get our seat modified. We also visited a shop by the name of Jayesh Scooters from where we got our bike accessories like the saddle bag, the eagle leg stand, chrome grips, etc. The owner there was helpful, specially considering we are casual bikers and newbies to this whole process. Since that day, he has been trying to sell us the concept and customize our bike as “The Eagle Bike”for which he has sold us a chrome eagle head which has been mounted on the front fender.

Eagle Bike Time

Guddu working on our Bike

Another brilliant concept which works in this lane…. you buy what you want from theshops and instead of getting it fixed at a garage, you can hire a mechanic who you will spot hanging around the lane or working on another bike and get things done on the spot. These mechanics – most of whom look like kids – are brilliant. Each of them has the ability to disassemble and reassemble any bike. Also the ability to add accessories, do some chopping work, etc. is a walk in the park for them. Also, as additional service, they get your bike washed & polished which is very cool! Guddu is the guy who worked on our bike and now is our personal designated mechanic who not only works on the bike basis enhancements required, but is available on call if there is any repair required for the bike.

Another thing which you see around this place is a swarm of bike enthusiasts & these span across multiple categories right from the hard core speed demons to the likes of those who have just bought a bike andare getting basic additions made to the same. You also see bikes right from Harleys to the likes of Kinetic Hondas and the same is definitely a visualtreat.

Pre-Owned Bikes

Value for Money Stores

The major reason which attracts these hordes to this place& beyond all what has been mentioned is the cost effectiveness of this place, what you would end up paying forat a fancy store or online, you get here for about half the price which is the killer app. Also there is a huge scopefor bargaining considering all shop owners will hike prices; so a good assumption is a 20-30% discount on any item. If you can ride a hard bargainthen who knows even 50% is a possibility. The market also is a display gallery for pre-owned motorcycles and if you are interested in purchasing one of those this is the place where you will probably get all makes & varieties; youjust need to find the right dealer who will be available at every 100 meters. To conclude, we for a minimum sum of money, have gotten our bike customized and personalized (you can see pictures for the same in the photo section); also the icing on the cake being, we have got it done basis what we like and chose in terms of spares & accessories. If you are looking at getting work done on your bike, do visit this place. Also if you are touring the city, and are looking at seeing the inner works of Bombay, this is a great place to understand the madness!!!

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Bikes & Builders

 

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This One’s Smokin

If you remember the post on Monday “Chronicles of the Weekend” it briefly spoke about Smoke House Deli, Today we at Badbikegang are writing about our experiences at this eatery as it happens to be our current favorite -We have already visited this place about 6 times in 3 weeks with friends & family 🙂

Smoke House Deli

SHD is located at Phoneix Mills. As soon as we  entered the place our immediate attention went to the decor as the restaurant is completely white with sketching on the  walls, also once you go beyond the reservation desk on your left there is this amazing display gallery unit storing Wines, Beers, Coldcuts, Fish, Packaged foods and sensational desserts!!!

The Embarrassing Glass of Water...

To your right is an open kitchen where chefs are hard at work. chopping veggies, plating food etc. Seating is across tables with chairs and if you pick the tables against the wall there are sofas as well. We picked the one with the sofa, post sitting comfortably we were greeted by  a polite waiter who asked us regular water or mineral. (Who in their sane mind goes for mineral water! The cost is out of whack) we went for regular. Basis the request we were given water in glasses where in I saw some dirt floating in the glass, Immediately the waiter was called and asked WTF at which point the waiter told us that the water was gently flavored with fresh orange &  mint and thus particles of the same were floating in the glass. Ok the embarrassing moment for the day had happened! We looked at each other and laughed hysterically.

Brilliant Bacon!!!

Menu was then given which more or less comprised of Soups, Egg Preps, Pancakes, Bacon, Sausages etc on the breakfast page, main course page consisted of Steak, Lamb, Chicken, Potato preparations. Forgot to add there was also a drinks menu given though post evaluating prices we ordered a couple of Budweisers which were the cheapest. All in all the variety of wines, cocktails & beers is insane but steep.

Some Vanilla Pancakes, Peri Peri Chicken, Steak, Chilli Dog, Chicken Burger, Bacon & more was the order, the staff was well trained and assisted in helping us with the order & recommendations. The order was served in about 10 minutes while we sipped on the pint & some mocktails which were ordered.

The food as you can see in the pictures was well plated and more importanlty spectacular, each dish seemed to be put together well with balanced and flavorful tastes. Special mention here to the Bacon which was unbelievable. Bikes, Bikers, Babes, Bacon & Bucks rule!!! You know the food is good when there is pin drop silence on the table and all you hear is cutlery,  the silence is broken only when you hear things like “you have to try this it’s brilliant, oh this ones even better” etc

Wow Pancakes!!!

Finally some plum flavored philedelphia cheese cake was ordered the same was unbelievable!!! It melted as soon as it touched the tongue. Finally paid the bill & left with the promise of returning. If you are in the vicinity this place is a must visit.

Our Rating – Please note this is basis Km 10 to 100 (10 being the lowest & 100 being the highest)

Ambience – 82km

Service – 88km

Food – 92km

Burn – 80km (This place is not cheap)

Badbikegang Average Speed – 85.5

Super Duper Chicken!!!

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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The Feeling & Experience!

This post is basically going to be around the whole idea/concept/feeling of owning & riding a bike! So here’s the deal when people talk about owning a bike there are the basic few scenarios –

1) You own a bike for all practical purposes, day to day life, etc.

2) You love to own & ride a bike

3) You go ahead & buy a bike because you think the biker lifestyle is cool

A lot of people fall into number 1 & 3 category… These people, to my mind, do not matter because for them the way they percive the bike is either a pracitical device which they will upgrade to a car or will buy a really  expensive bike and the same will be a passing phase wherein they will realize that the biker lifestyle isn’t all that it is made out to be and then they will move on in life.

Speed Demon!

Obviously the category we believe we fall in is number 2 where in we love to own, ride & customize the bike. Please note we did realise the same a bit late in our lives but none the less at least we did realize 🙂 The whole idea of being able to personalize the bike, give it a personality, etc. is what makes the same an extention of your lifestyle. Give you an example…. I like my life to be structured and relaxed and thus a cruiser was a default option for me. For others who enjoy excitment it is a racer, so on & so forth.

Don't miss the Bird!!!

Though, once you have zeroed in on the kind of bike you want it & go buy it, the same does totally take over your life your.  The need to keep it spick and span, make sure its washed daily, there is no scratch on it etc….are points all bike owners in category 2 will relate to.

Once that is out of the way then comes the ride… So if you, like me, live in a crowded city the only time to truly enjoy a bike ride is either early in the morning or late at night. Currently for me the same happens in morning  early, where in I take the bike and ride past the open roads of Bombay, places like Marine Drive, Worli Seaface, Haji Ali Darga, Lalbaug Flyover to name a few places are simply brilliant to ride past.

The Brilliant Queen's Necklace at Marine Drive!

The unmatched feeling of the wind in your face and the peaceful calm of the city add to the overall biking experience!!! I highly recommend if you are in the city & like me enjoy a good bike ride do drive past the places i have mentioned either in the wee hours of the morning or late at night the feeling is sensational, you wont be disappointed.

In all this there is also a coolness factor and a carefree attitude which owning and ridding bike brings along, ride aimlessly, stop for a beer, chill with friends, etc. are images which you associate bike ridiing with and trust me all of that at some level does hold true when you are in”bike riding mode”

A sense of freedom & the abillity to live life in the moment is what the overall experiance is all about…

If you havent tried this experience in your life even once I strongly suggest you do the same immeditely because I am telling you so and like Stallone said it in Judge Dread ” My Word is the Law”

Open Road...

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2012 in Trips & Rides

 

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