23 April, 2012

Meet a Real Biker and Bike Collector

Ainsley Wilson
When you get ready to talk to an avid biker, you half-expect to hear him say how deeply in love he is with his beauty-on-two-wheels, that being on the road is his definition of freedom and that feeling the wind on his face is the best feeling ever. Sorry my dear readers, that’s not our man. Let’s put aside those cliches for a while and make way for a real biker.

"Real biking is about knowing your machine and knowing your roads," says Ainsley Wilson, the person whose face came to mind the moment I read about The Castrol Power 1 Blogging contest (Castrol's effort to 'define the Indian Biker').

Everybody who knows Ainsley, knows that he’s this jolly guy who can crack a joke at the oddest hour of the day. Talk to him about biking and you will learn that it is not about wearing expensive gear and zipping through the town or ripping down a highway but about being aware of the risks on the road and being mentally prepared to deal with the unforeseen and untoward. That's how serious he is about biking.

Ainsley’s biking record is not measured by the kilometers he has covered but by the routes he has taken, the places he has seen, his ability to conform to the conditions that a trip may throw his way. Ask him what biking means to him and he will say, “It is about exploring places and doing it on a machine I love." The machine of his choice is almost always a two-wheeler branded Yezdi. If it’s a long ride that has been charted out he would be on his Yezdi Road King, Yezdi 350 or Yezdi Monarch. “These are powerful bikes with good tyres and great lights and better suspension,” he explains. The others are more or less showpieces you can take around the city or for short trips, says he, talking about the 10 other bikes that adorn his garage. Between Ainsley and his brother Gavin, there are 13 bikes that they call their own.

Today the Wilson brothers are active members of the Mysore Tuskers (a biking group that older brother Gavin took the initiative of putting together), regulars at the Southern Raid (a coming together of the Yezdi - Jawa crowd of South India, and bike restoration enthusiasts. Yes, restoration even.

Ainsley tells me that he does not believe in modifying his favourite machines. The idea is to restore an old vehicle and make it like the ‘original’ with authentic parts even if it means he has to undertake a tiresome hunt or shell out some extra cash. “Everything has to be nothing-but-the-original right down to every bolt,” he emphasises. He’s been into restorations since 1998. As a kid he used to watch his father repair his bikes and soon turned into daddy’s little helper and dealt with parts and grease and all. That was how he picked up this interest in restoration, he believes.

With his dad working at a motorcycle factory, there was at least one bike at home all the time, Ainsley recalls. So evenings meant trying out the motored two wheelers and picking up tips and tricks from his father. After years of owning a bicycle, it was a dream come true when he got to own his own motorbike. Since then, there has been no looking back. He’s checked out several places around hometown and probably lost count of the Bangalore-Mysore rides he has had. His first long trip was a ride to Coorg that started at five in the morning, covering almost all of Kodagu and getting back to Mysore a couple of hours before midnight, he remembers. That was 10 years ago. This Mysorean has under his belt, trips to Mangalore, Kodaikanal, Wayanad, Ooty, Kozhikode, Hassan and rides on the Andhra coast to name just a few. I asked him which was his best trip ever and he couldn’t pick out one, "They were all equally fun," he tells. However like most two-wheeler enthusiasts out there, he prefers navigating mountain roads and riding through forests for the sheer thrill of it. “The longer the ghat section, the better," he swears.

Riding in the night, having to use flashlights in cases of headlight failures, setting things right under street lights, brushes with wild animals... he’s been there, done all that. This seasoned Indian biker says he firmly believes that real biking goes beyond just riding to being prepared for breakdowns, being able to do basic repairs, riding responsibly and knowing your route, yet being ready to take on the uncertain.

Ainsley (extreme right) and his brother (centre) with some bikes from their collection

Also check out Castrol biking on fb


June 6th, 2012 
The Castrol Power1 IndiBlogger Contest Winner

http://www.indiblogger.in/topic.php?topic=54&sort=popular


Thank you Castrol, Indiblogger for this opportunity.
Most of all, Thank you Ainsley for letting me tell your story. Thank you so much.  That Power 1 biking jacket is for you. I hope it'll be of some use to you during your many biking expeditions. Keep biking. Keep rocking.
- d. Nambiar

30 comments:

  1. Sounds like a serious biker! Good to know that someone is aware of the hazards and risks involved when riding a bike; very important. i have absolutely no clue about all these coz I cannot ride :D. Having said that, I do like those clichés as well, you cannot ride a bike without the wind blowing across your face.

    Hey your blog looks different and cool. All the best for the contest :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, he is ONE serious biker.
      Don't ever tell this THIS biker about feeling the air on your face. He'll tell you you should be covering that face with a helmet :D. I love his take. :)

      Thanks Deb. I thought the black template had run its course. I wanted to see some colour here; now there's lots of it. :)

      Delete
  2. Good enjoyable writing...and a great description of an excellent biker

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Suresh. Do visit again :)

      Delete
  3. sure is a true biker!
    you have presented him well too!

    love the new bright look of your blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Deepak. :) I so-badly wanted to tell his story.

      Me too. Love the new look.

      Delete
  4. Liked the passion of Ainsley and Gavin and the philosophy that it is the the routes taken that count, not the miles. A nice account of a biking aficionado (or two)! So, when are you joining the Mysore Tuskers?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :)
      I'm great at riding pillion :D. That's all I can do. Are you into biking USP?

      Delete
  5. A very interesting read! Best wishes for the contest:)

    ReplyDelete
  6. That was beautifully written. A lovely portrait of a true biker. Ainsley sure looks like a man with great and true passion for bikes and he knows his machine so well. And his love for the open road is so evident. Lovely piece of writing. And all the best for the contest. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Raj, nice to see you here.

      Yes, Ainsley is a serious biker and he knows what he was talking about, so it was easy to write about him.
      Thank you so much, Raj. Coming from a fine blogger like you, that appreciation means a lot. Thank you once again. :)

      Delete
  7. The more I knew the more I hesitated to ride, that is how my biking interest changed :) 8 years back, as a bachelor in Bangalore, I use to go for 100 to 300 km ride, I met with accidents and all; slowly I shifted to car rides and now I like car rides, last year I taught my wife two wheeler driving and now I fear to be a pillion or the rider :)

    Ainsley is great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's ok. :) It's not everybody's thing. You have to do what you feel is right for you. :)

      Delete
  8. Lovely post. Always feels good to read about other bikers in the country and their take on what biking means to them. I would like to add that one cannot take the risks out of biking, there's no thrill without it. It's prudent to be safe, but isn't the thrill the first reason we choose motorcycles over a four-wheeler.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Ramakant. Thank you. :) I went through you post too. good one. I was amazed to learn that you chose a two-wheeler instead of a car when you were in the US. Out here in CA, I don't get to see Indians on bikes.

      Yeah, you're right, you can't take the risk out of riding. What Ainsley was saying is that you have to be aware of the risks you're taking; (like knowing your route and being well-equipped and all that).

      There are you guys who are very conscious about what you are doing, you do your homework, you know the dangers on Indian roads and all. And then, there are those people who more or less reckless, who only want to brag about the miles and the speeds and all, right? :).

      The two-wheeler is definitely more thrilling. I like what you wrote -- about being more exposed to the elements and having less metal to protect you.
      Yes, that's more exciting, any day.
      Have fun, ride safe. :)

      Delete
  9. Awesome post !!! I must say you are talented!!

    An award waiting for you @

    http://ruchitasnotsoordinarylife.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/huge-heartfelt-thankyou.html

    Please accept it as my appreciation for your good work!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so much Nambiar :D for adding me in your circle :D and this is one heck of a beautiful post. Keep up the good job friend. All the best. And i will come back soon!

    Saikat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Saikat, Long time.
      Thank you so much.

      I'd come by your blog to see if there were any updates. We miss your sketches. Do return soooon.

      Delete
  11. love bikers!!

    http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete
  12. A collector of Bikes? Nice...

    Well, very soon you will see a blog from me about a collector of books - something that will blow your mind away :)

    PS: I know a man who's hobby is to buy a Bullet, disassemble it completely - down to the last nut and bolt, patiently assemble it back completely, and then sell it off :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Kishan, long time...
      Yeah, they've got 13 bikes now. Cool, right? These guys can also put a bike together. They do restorations, just for the fun of it.

      You should put up those stories. Shall come by and read them.

      Delete
    2. Not long time... rather first time - in this blog of yours :)

      Trying to make more time out of my schedule to read blogs posted on Indivine, when I stumbled on this one :)

      I also started writing a new non-travel blog. Will start posting them on Indivine soon, if I feel the content is worthy enough.

      Delete
    3. Actually, yeah. Stumbled upon this one? That's so cool. Welcome here. :)
      When's the new blog gonna be ready? I'm already eager to check it out. I'll come by even if it's not on IndiVine; just let me know.
      Btw, hasn't it been a while since you posted something on your travel blog? No travel happening?
      :(

      Delete
  13. Nice read, Divya. Would love to bike with him.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2013/02/colours-of-maha-kumbh-mela.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously? Should get you two connected then. :)

      Delete
  14. Hi everyone,
    I have been seeing these guys, they are the two best biker friend i have.
    You know it is very nice to ride the cute 250cc(JAVA) monsters with them. Trust me if go a trip with them, It would be lot more fun an joy.
    And i missed the JAVA day this time, very sad. :-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for coming by, leaving a message and endorsing the Wilson brothers, Ganesh. Their passion is really infectious. A big hello to them from me, in case you get to see them one of these days.
      And happy biking to you. :)

      Thank you once again.

      Delete