Imagine a machine that is powerful beyond measure, that is capable of theoritically implausible speeds. Yet that machine is controlled by a mind and a passion that make for the perfect ingredients of stories that leave you wide eyed, wondrous, and of course, full of awe.
On Christmas Eve, Calcutta Walks took a special ride down the highway to catch up with some of the fastest Calcuttans, who pursue their passion at the speed of light! They are the new face of Calcutta, who will soon take their rightful place in the spotlight! They are the incredible Superbikers of the City, part of a community that already boasts of about 400 enthusiasts, and whose number will definitely be growing in the days to come.
In the recently concluded India Speed Week event in Calcutta, Gibran Khalil, a powerhouse of energy and passion for Superbiking, was clocked as the fastest biker ever from Calcutta and placed a handsome fifth all over India in the M9 category (that is bikes ranging 1051 to 1450 cc). He leads his pack of ‘Alpha Males’ as I would deem to describe them- Spirited men with unwavering dedication towards their bikes and sport.
Gibran or ‘Highway Man’ as his alias goes, spoke at length about Superbikes and the philosophy which sustains ardent bikers like him.
He was joined by Ataur Rahman, Qadam Rasur, Sunandan Goswami, and Abhishek Roy. Abhishek also placed a commendable Third in the M7 category at the India Speed Week event. That is for bikes ranging between 649 and 899 cc.
Interestingly, all these individuals have different jobs that sustains them for the rest of the week, but that one morning in the week, those few hours, is reserved for the first love of their lives- their superbikes. They come from a variety of backgrounds but their common passion for their bikes binds them together. For example, Sunandan has been rallying for a quite a few years now at the state level, while Abhishek’s long-time friend Arindam Roy, rode in for the very first time with this group, on that Saturday itself.
They are a bunch of bikers who are admirably self-assured in their interests and achievements. They are grounded enough to know that on such monster machines, the need for speed becomes secondary. They find their zen in their superbiking and are more than content in that feeling. Not ones to brag or boast, or update their statuses on Social Media with selfies with their bikes, these men enjoy their sport with the maturity that is worth emulating. In fact, they drive with caution, using the highway for their runs as the city cannot accommodate the speed of these amazing bikes.
The natural connect amongst these riders is incredible, and the level of trust for one another’s judgement on the roads is admirable.
We sat at the coffee shop on the highway, and the conversation carried on, soaked in the warm December sun. Important issues were brought to the table- for instance, the fact that the Government needs to have a special licence issued for superbikers. This will encourage responsible riding and help create a thriving community of like-minded enthusiasts.
Shockingly, as per the rules of five-star hotels, along with other ‘two-wheelers’, even superbikes are not allowed parking within their premises! No differentiation is made, sadly, between regular bikes and such superbikes- which only speaks of archaic laws which need to be changed!
Riding these machines is only the tip of the iceberg. Maintaining these beauties takes a lot of sincere dedication and hard work; and the love shows! No silly risks are taken anytime as that might cost them their bikes! And of course, admirers and oglers can see and admire all they want, but no one gets to touch the finely polished beauties that stand majestic and powerful.
Much laughter ensued when they spoke of their love for family or even career, often taking a back seat when it came to their bikes! Gibran had a fantastic story to share of how his maternal grandfather, Abdul Malik rode his Harley Davidson on an 8 day long journey just to meet his lovely wife, all the way in Agra! Many are the also the first in their families to own these bikes, having earned them through sheer hard work and grit.
The camaraderie and bonhomie that exists in this group is heart-warming and fun! They are people, who are living their lives and loves to the fullest! One can only have admiration for such spirit.
In passing, a last word- in the age of Social Media, when visibility counts and creates impressions, it is crucial to hear voices like theirs. They are pursuing a form of sport that is daunting, risky and therefore very glamorous. But to them responsibility is key. They battle lack of adequate facilities to ride, (even the highways are not safe), induction of new owners of superbikes who wish to impress rather than enjoy the sport, high maintenance costs of these bikes and as well as the mentality of people who do not quite understand their passion. Yet they persist, regardless of the obstacles because as Gibran says, they learn from everything that comes their way- from the slow riders, they learn caution, from the fast, they learn technique, while even from the unfortunate crashes they understand the reasons that could have led to the disaster.
Calcutta has always been stereotyped as a city of the past… nostalgia seems to predominate in conversations about Her. But then comes along, these Supermen on their Superbikesm and they blaze past you, leaving a trail of glory, and you begin to shift your parameters for evaluating this city once again.Intriguing isn’t it?
And yes, if you are as unsatiated as we are, here’s a link provided by Gibran himself , who dons a GoPro camera on his helmet, to give you a real feel of superbiking! Go ahead and enjoy!
Calcutta Walks would like to thank Gibran Khalil for being so helpful. Also, a special thank you to the rest of the supermen on their superbikes!