Any stop by the side of the road turns into an opportunity for locals to examine the big yellow bike. The most common questions are:
- How much does it cost? I say $4000, because I gave up trying to explain the bike is 20 years old.
- Wod is de capasody? (you have to imagine this one with an Indian accent and that funny little wobble of the head). I say 1000cc. This causes great discussion because the biggest bikes in India are usually locally-made 350cc Enfields.
- Where are you from? I say Australia. Sydney? No, the pointy bit up north.
- How old are you! I say 56. Really, you look much older! Thanks for that.
The vast majority of bikes here are 200cc or less – usually Japanese brands assembled locally and rebadged as Heros (Hondas), Pulsars (Suzukis) or Yamahas. There is one brand called Bajaj which, because the “j” is pronounced a bit like a “z”, the name sounds a bit like “Bazza’s”. Also, the fact my bike has no chain is a cause of great concern to some.
Rear view mirrors are rarely used here. Most old bikes have either lost them in the street battles over the years or, more bizarrely on newer bikes, have them folded in to protect them from the street battles!
I have travelled approximately 1500km since coming to India and have only seen one other foreign motorcycle. It was heading south towards Delhi just north of Karnal. Just got a glimpse of it going the other way in the heavy traffic. Didn’t even have time to wave.