I was invited by my good friends for an evening ride to Mahabalipuram. They are experienced riders and active members of a reputed motorcycle club. I have ridden with them in the past on a short ride around the city and I enjoyed it. I got super excited with the invite and accepted to go. This is what you do when you are passionate about riding motorcycles and someone invites you for a ride. This evening ride was classified as The Supermoon Ride as it was the supermoon day yesterday when the ride was scheduled. All geared up, I set out from home hoping to have a great ride with my Enfield friends but not one of us had a clue about what the supermoon would drag on to us.
We met at the usual meeting spot, which happens to be the club's traditional meeting/starting spot for its rides. That is where I met them the first time I rode with them. The usual bike discussion was on and buzzing when I reached. I met my friend, an active rider from the club with whom I have ridden before, and started discussing about my bike. They are very particular about bike maintenance and I remember they had reminded me to clean my bike regularly. My friend took a quick look at my ride and said it seemed like I have cleaned it. As we were chatting around, the rest of the riders came along and we got on our rides. Just as we fired up our cruisers, we saw a couple of police cars closing in on us from the front, as if to block our way. Our first thought was that, since it was a busy road and our congregation of 20+ Royal Enfields along with us was causing inconvenience and the cops were there to ask us to clear the spot. But the cops came all around us and asked us to kill the engines and park our rides to the side of the road.
We had no idea why we were being asked to get down our bikes. The cops then said that we were about to “Race” and cause public nuisance which they are not ready to allow!!!!! We almost tore into laughter when we learnt we were suspected for racing but kept the laughs to ourselves since we did not want to piss-off the cops. Around here, when cops get angry, things get ugly. I am not a registered member of the club but even I know this motorcycle club has been here for years and some of the members are as old as my dad. For the record, I am 28 years old.
When you say street-racing, it is usually teenagers and young adults riding plastic-made crotch-rockets which are all about speed and acceleration that you would refer to. This club on the other hand are a good bunch of cruiser riders who go a long way to ensure rider safety and responsible riding. Every time they call for a ride, there is a clear mention that all the riders must wear jacket, gloves, boots and full-face helmet. Now, a group that cares so much about rider-gear would not attempt to do anything that would compromise rider-safety and the safety of the fellow road users. Before the ride, a senior member always gives a short speech on the ride, riding gear we should wear and the formation we would ride. Nobody would do this if they do not care about responsible riding.
The senior members went and spoke with the cops while we were standing next to our rides. The conversation went on and on until after an hour we realized, we will not ride the Supermoon Ride. Apparently, from what we heard, it is our riding gear that prompted some “senior police official” to think that we were there to race and cause disturbance. In my view as long as someone is mentally stable and has the capacity to detect his/her own common sense, he/she would not expect street racers meeting at a public spot where there is a huge common-man crowd. Street racers like to keep things low. They like to be known among their circles alone because they know they will get in trouble when the general public spots them doing whatever they do. We, on the other hand belong to a class of motorcycle enthusiasts who spend hours talking about carrying spare cables and riding gear. We do not encourage speeding through busy city traffic and we keep our speed thrills to the highways where we get straight stretches of traffic-free road. We were wondering what the cops found us doing that they took charge of our rides and have us standing on the road waiting, when clearly, we did not even start riding that evening. We got on our rides, fired up the engine, the cops came and we killed the engine and parked our rides to the side of the road. I mean, we were being booked for something that we haven’t committed yet….I guess Chennai Police is going “PRE-CRIME: Spielberg Style” that now they want to stop crimes before they happen. Even by that movie logic from “Minority Report,” the cops were light years away from nailing street-racers….simply because WE ARE NOT RACERS AND WE WERE NOT THERE TO RACE!!!! SO GO HOME COPS AND GET YOUR STASH TESTED…YOU MIGHT BE SMOKING THE ADULTERATED BATCH!!!!
Then came the Broadway special performance that cops around here are veterans at, “Acting in Front of the Boss.” The cops who had stopped us and held our bikes captive had requested that they cannot simply let us go since their senior officer had ordered them to impound all the bikes. They requested us to let them park just a few bikes on to the Impound Truck so that when their superior officer arrives, he would notice that his team of committed cops is actively carrying out his orders. The senior members agreed to it and a couple of them parked their bikes and even took pictures of them standing on the impound truck simply because none of them would ever do anything to get on that intentionally.
I am trying to get a clear perspective of what had happened. The cops stopped a bunch of riders even before they started off, claimed that the riders were there to race, took custody of the bikes for over 2 hours, only to say in the end that all they wanted to do was to impress their boss by impounding a few bikes on to the impound truck. Why on earth would sane policemen do such thing on a Sunday evening? When the city is riddled with chain snatchers riding Bajaj Pulsar (a small-sized pocket rocket around here), why would they suspect owners of Bullets and Thunderbirds (all 350/500 cc cruisers) for racing?
I guess any motorcycle club should start involving the cops in their usual meetings, like inviting them to speak about road safety and responsible riding. A cop as a chief guest to a rider club event would be even better. May be that keeps the cops informed and allows them to recognize established motorcycle clubs and their intentions to stay away from causing public inconvenience.
Well, after the hours of discussion yesterday (while waiting for the cops to let us go) about whether the cops would let us go, me and my biker club friends unanimously decided that it was indeed the Supermoon at the perigee position with all its gravitational pull that pulled the nonsense out of the cops and dragged it on to us, responsible riders who just love to ride our Royal Enfields. In the end, there is no point in blaming the cops who at times like these, themselves don't know why they are doing, whatever they are doing. All that is left is superficial space-humor blaming the moon. So Supermoon, you’re to blame for you did drag the cops on responsible riders.
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