Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2016 – the Thump that Binds all Riders

No other place gives me that kick-ass feel as Goa .“The Hippy and Happy Capital of India”. it is another part of India where people least bother to what you wear, what you do, with whom you hangout with. For a change and off the records there are no rules to follow. No Cops catching you for not wearing helmets – I for one looked like a man from outer space wearing helmet every time I rode in the city. Goa is all about Pubs and boozing – so you can drink and drive. No complication of white board, black board and yellow board. Every vehicle is a white board and all Foreigners drive them (rented). Travel alone at the dead of the night with complete peace of mind of safety, sleep on the beach and smoke “weed” as much as you want. Every second person you meet is a Foreigner and for a while I was wondering where am I. At the end of it, as long as you leave them alone and have money on hand, Goa welcomes you with open arms.

Couple this with a ride on a bike from Bangalore to Goa, it sure adds to the excitement and thrill especially when you know that you will be joined by 6000+ others from far and wide to one of the largest congregation of bike enthusiasts in the world.

We were a bunch of passionate riders travelling in a group of 40+ riders from Bangalore. We started on the early morning of the 17th Nov 2016 from SSS Motors, Nelamangala at around 5.30 am. We took the Bangalore –> Tumkur –> Sira –> Chitradurga –> Devangere –> Haveri –> Hubli –> Dharwad –> (through the ghats) –> Ponda –> Panjim to reach Murjim.   We stayed at the Coco Resort, Murjim besides the Turtle Bay Beach at Murjim. 

Our ride itself was a long and arduous one. Drove thro National Highways, State Highways, Forest Reserve Area and thro Ghat section. The road was great and a treat to drive. There wasn’t much of traffic except when we exited Bangalore or entered Goa. We drove thro early morning fog, hot noon, windy and cold night. It was a hot day on  and the mercury levels dipped significantly the moment we started off on the ghat roads. Cool air hit our faces as we drove in the shade of the thick canopy overhead. The world could not have been more tranquil. The journey presented to us beautiful vistas of giant windmills dotted along the roads and golden fields.

The best part of it was to come in the last leg – the Tinai Ghats on the Belgaum-Panjim road. We drove thro windy Ghats from Ramnagar, Anmod to Mollem and passing by Castle Rock (remember the famous Dudh Sagar water falls). The roads were winding like a snake and full of S-Curves & narrow roads, lined up with thick forest on side and steep valley on the other side. It can be very challenging for any rider. Many a accidents have happen on this stretch. One needs to be extremely careful and fully alert for any eventualities, especially while through the night and heavy opposite traffic. To our luck, we had to pass through this junction at night and finally reached Murjim at 10.30 pm. 

It surely was a mania for Riders especially the Bulleteers as they liked to be known. The Annual Royal Enfield Rider Mania was a much talked about event and which every one used to brag about. Royal Enfield Rider Mania is an annual motorcycling festival where people come together to celebrate a common passion; the joy of riding. The core element of Rider Mania are the people who come together in Goa every year to celebrate their love for Royal Enfield bikes. Many of these riding groups travel thousands of kilometers all the way to Vagator, Goa.

The RM is a one of a kind event where not only bikers gather together, but they have the freedom to even bring their families and bring them into the fold of the RE community. It’s a chance for families to understand the biking community from up close and to understand the craze & passion of their better halves. We saw woman riders who had brought their husbands along and  wives who had accompanied their husbands to the event. And offcourse there were may Kids at the event. The Royal Enfield Rider Mania is not only for the biking community but it’s also about welcoming in potential bikers into their fold, to experience the passion first hand and to feel the heart beat of an Enfield lover.

The 14th Edition of Royal Enfield Rider Mania took Goa by storm as passionate riders from across the country rode to Vagator to mark their presence. With well over 6000+ riders, the venue in Vagator was a full house spread over three-days of action packed mornings, adrenalin pumping afternoons and foot tapping evenings that celebrate the spirit of ‘pure motorcycling’. It was like seeing a huge barren ground suddenly come alive with bikers and their passionate Riders. What’s best about the RM is that it begins as an event but turns into one big party with the gradual arrival of the riders. The music, beers, the thump of the RE bikes, the custom bikes on display which were nothing, the competitive spirit was a feast to the audience.

Vagator we can say was completely taken over by Bulleteers. Everywhere one looked; be it outside the venue or inside any restaurant in all off Vagator & North Goa, perpetually visible would be a group of shiny Enfields parked outside. Every lane or by-lane Bullets could be heard thumping away right from the dawn of the day until late night. We heard a few local grumbling about the noisy Bullets and bikers taking over Vagator! Vagator and North Goa was suddenly coloured Orange, what with all of them wearing the official RE Mania Orange T Shirts. One was wondering if it was a BJP sponsored event……

Upon entering Goa the feeling was something else, every street, lane and by-lane, a Royal Enfield was visible. With 6000 riders coming in from across the country, Goa was pulsating with the thump of the Royal Enfield. Vagator was the centre point for the bikers to congregate and enjoy the festival. Motorcyclists are probably the only community where people and riders have mutual respect for each other, for the road and for the laws. Riders rode down from cities as far as Delhi, Chennai, Kerala, Bangalore, Mysore, Kholapur, Mumbai , Pune, Hyderabad and even Chandigarh. It was heartening to see, feel and experience the riding and brotherhood spirit among the bikers. 

Over the years, Rider Mania has grown into a place where experienced and new riders find common ground to engage and participate in different facets of motorcycling. The three-day festival has an expansive line up of motorcycling events ranging from contests to learning courses to live music. This is best exemplified by the learner’s course at Rider Mania for people who want to learn to ride a motorcycle.

The main objective is to have fun, celebrate old and new friendships, connect at one common ground which is love for motorcycling.

Every rider present at the RERM Loves to Ride & Lives to Ride. Each one comes with the motto of enjoying the comradeship, the brotherhood, the music & the beer. Making new friends, catching up with mates, enjoying the races; all in all it’s an event for the Enfield community, a community that every Royal Enfield lover is proud to be a part of. 

The first day was as exciting as it could get with the ensemble of bikers coming in, custom motorcycles, drag races and the dirt race. With Day 2, the events turned out to be more interesting as we witnessed some extremely fun activities like the Cleanest Bike Competition, Slow Race, Carry Your Bike as well as talks from veteran riders and motorcycle enthusiasts. And Day 3 we had Assembly wars, Dirt Track racing, Stand Up Comedy and Music Concerts. 

  • The Slow Race was all about having control over your bike. The one who crossed the finish line last was crowned the winner. If you ever thought going slow was easy, this race will prove you wrong.
  • The Carry Your Bike competition was an interesting one with teams lifting their nearly 200 kg Royal Enfields and setting their eyes on the finishing line
  • Among the activities on offer are off-road training sessions, a hands-on, one-hour session where the participants will be trained for basic riding skills on dirt by experienced coaches. 
  • The thumps on the Dirt Track continued as 350 CC, 500 CC Bullets, Himalayan all had their races for Men, Women, Novice & Experts. The icing on the cake was the last race – the Race of Champions. All the previous winners irrespective of class of bike Bullet or Himalayan, 350 or 500 CC and behold Men or Women participated in this race and boy it was a thriller of a race. It was conducted following the International Sporting Code of the FIM & appendices of The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI).
  • The other challenging activity was the Maze Chase where riders use their manoeuvrability skills to complete the specially designed course in the shortest time. Hands on events like Assembly Wars and Carry your Bike also added to the fun element.
  • Then there were trials, a specially designed obstacle course, where there will be a special category for Himalayan owners this year. Rider Mania also iintroduced a learner’s course this year. A number of enthusiasts accompany their motorcyclist friends to Rider Mania and this initiative provided them an opportunity to be introduced to the experience of pure motorcycling.
  • For the lovers of pure motorcycling Early Risers’, a ride for those who wanted to experience Goa in all its morning glory, drove to places that highlight authentic Goan experiences, like Mahadai Wildlife Sanctuary, Divar Island via Panjim to Old Goa comprising of a ferry ride before culminating at Vagator.
  • Riders with a flair for filmmaking had a chance to showcase their skills with the camera through a special ‘Shoot your Rider Mania 2016’ workshop.
  • And finally there was a custom bike exhibition, some of which are exclusively designed and built for Rider Mania and was on display. There were some really cool collection of modified bikes.
  • The music and the various artists performing were very good. They set a constant foot-tapping rhythm within the crowd & people totally loved the songs. At night the lights are switched on and the main stage comes alive with performances by indie bands, DJs and other musicians

If not for bikes, Rider Mania is also about meeting interesting people and discuss travel, riding and much more.  It was an event filled with fun & frolic irrespective of gender, age, language and status where people let their hair down and soaked themselves into the event. Beer was cheaper than water (Rs.33 per beer & Rs.40 for a bottle of water) and people were guzzling beers in crates and “weed” was freely available and cheaper than a pack of cigarettes. You felt like a fish out of pond if you weren’t carrying a bottle of Beer in your hand. For once gender equality was never an issue. Rider Mania was truly a symbolism of the Hippy Culture.There is no dearth of finding fun people here. However with the event coming to an end, what firmly remains is strong bonds of the brotherhood, old friendships re-kindled, new  friendships formed, memories of one big celebration and bonding over beers, music and motorcycles. Truly the Thump helped bind all the Riders.

Our ride way back home was equally arduous and we reached home past mid night travelling the cold, windy night. All in all it was a memorable trip that let me taste the Rider Mania and more importantly reinforced the belief in myself that I will be able travel long distance on road by a bike. We covered 700 kms one way in a single day spread over 15 hours of travel and around 12 hours of driving through the day and overall drove around 1600 kms over 5 days. My daily rigours of walking and yoga helped me keep fight and stand up for the rigours of such a long and arduous drive and most importantly makes me feel still YOUNG at Heart and Physically too ………….. It motivates me to plan for bigger, longer and more challenging rides in the future and for the long awaited eager looking Leh_Ladakh bike ride next year. 

Day 1

Day 2
Day 3

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