Formed on the January 11th 2012 and based out of Ponda, Goa this group of 30 odd riders. Freakazoids turns six this year, this is their story. Around six years from today, three school friends who purchased their dream motorcycles somewhere between 2011 and 2012. Interestingly as it turned out, it was the same make and model. The Bajaj Pulsar 220 DTSi and not stopping at this, they envisioned bringing together the entire biking fraternity of Goa under one umbrella. While the ideology worked for first couple of years, destiny seemed to have lost the corner at the apex. When of the three moderators, one of them gave into his attitude and other priorities while the other stepped out of the brotherhood as he was unable to harmonize a personal-passion balance.
Dark hours demand a Dark Horse
In this dark hour the group saw one person rise to the occasion. He began to bring order among the chaos and bring the ship back on course. While he was able to manage the team effectively, he also took that bunch of gasoline guzzling piston stallions and their saddled riders to the next level. A level where the team is not only popular with the locals but has its roots connected to motorcycle clubs across geographies of the country.
Freakazoids can be regarded as one of the most active riding groups of Goa. Stabilizing team operations did not come easy. It can be said that the sense of bonding as a family is what strengthened the bond over the past five years.
To connect with The Freakazoids Goa you can reached them through the following mediums:
Sharmishta Chakravorty the first two words that introduced us formally (read “on print“) to this riding group spoke about her designation as a Senior Manager with one of the corporate houses. Take away that morning cup of tea and you as dead as a dead duck. Reading on further, it said that this is what she does during the week. And over weekend is the Director, The Musafirs Motorcycle Tours Pvt Ltd. an Archimedes genius in my head popped up a name – “SHONA” woman behind The Musafirs Safar.
Meet the Musafirs
If you are a first time reader to the Genesis section of Motolethe, unlike most others that do a biography, this is more autobiographical in nature. Our team met with Musafirs for the 1st time at a Road safety even last year in Pune. Both parties being bikers it didn’t take time for a friendship spark to light up a fire of curiosity to fuel this write-up. By and far in our observation we have seen that the members of Musafirs are more like a bunch of close-knit friends. They may not not have blood ties but a bonding stronger than that – FAMILY. It indeed is a rare sight to see a scooterette riding among gasoline guzzlers and pocket rockets with all riders clad in basic safety gear.
On of one these rides we asked Shona to tell us more about her family – The Musafirs. In her voice, this is their story
“I am a biker and I love to explore the unexplored. It all started in December 2010 for me on one of the bike rides I had been to… And since then there has been no looking back. At that time, Mumbai did not have any mixed-manufacturer biking clubs. The ones that existed were the brand loyal ones. That is when I formed a biking club by the name of ‘The Musafirs’ the same month. I then reached out to like-minded motorcycling enthusiasts to join the gang because the more people, the more fun.”
Genesis – The Musafirs Safar (Journey) begins
The Musafirs was formed in December 2010 with the intention of providing a platform for motorcycling enthusiasts to break free from their routine work-oriented lifestyle. With the sole idea to indulge in the joys, thrills and the liberating feeling that long-distance motorcycling has to offer. Keeping this in mind, we did not want to impose any restrictions on the make of bikes that join the family. This is because we were promoting the joy of motorcycling and not promoting any particular brand. Especially, not promoting shoddily built motorcycles known to leak oil which people call ‘Marking its territory’.
Shifting in to first gear
Our first ride in January 2011 saw just around 15 motorcycles and we have come a long way since then. Today, the family has around 500 members – but this has not happened overnight. Indeed a steady climb, since inception, we have ensured that we do at least one ride every month. Come rain or storm every Musafir keenly awaits the next ride. It has become a part of our lives because on the days of the rides, we do what we love doing the most – riding to far away destinations, miles away from the daily grind.
The Musafirs Safar – Proving Grounds
However, not everyone who joins us on their first ride makes it into the family. Every first timer is assessed to ensure that their wavelength matches with other fellow Musafirs. This is because we do not want ego clashes or demonstration of superiority on our rides:
One may be riding a Harley or a Dazzler
They may be a CEO of some company while other may be a clerk
When on the ride, every rider is a fellow Musafir. Someone who will watch your back when on the ride. Will pick you off the tarmac if you happen to have a fall. Over the years, the Musafirs evolved into a tight-knit family that readily accepts like-minded motorcycling enthusiasts. In times of joy as well as in difficult times, the Musafirs are there for each other. This feeling of family is what keeps the family ticking. Not only on the ride but the family also connects off the rides.
The Musafirs Safar – Benchmarking Bikes
In The Musafirs safar, well maintained bikes that can do long stretches are favored. Doing long stretches is not as much dependent on the bike as much as it is dependent on the mindset of the rider. Cruisers and tourers with almost upright riding position rule the roost when it comes to our community. This is because at times, especially on rides longer than 700-800 kms one way, we do 250-300 kms non-stop. I remember on one of our rides, we started from Mumbai and our first halt was at Dhule.
The Musafirs Safar – As Safe as it gets
The motorcycle manufacturing industry is on a steep incline with many new manufacturers entering the market. Either through joint ventures/technology sharing or as a completely new setup. By providing features like ABS, rear discs, stickier tires, auto-engine shut off beyond specific speed, many manufacturers are increasing the safety quotient.
However, in terms of whether safety measure are being adopted by motorcycle touring companies and motorcycle clubs, the answer is different.
In May 2011, the Musafirs became the first motorcycle community in the region to give reflective vests to all its riders.
This move was based on the fact that at times, when motorcyclists ride after dark, the mere light from a motorcycle’s tail lamp is not adequate to be spotted. Thus, the reflective vests enhance visibility. Even during the day, it gives us a means to identify our members when on the road. This trend has caught up with the entire motorcycling community. We now see quite a few riding groups following our footsteps and giving away reflective vests to riders.
Just a few days back I was reading a motorcycle touring event posted on the internet on which it was mentioned –
‘Every rider should wear a helmet. Helmets are not necessary for pillions.’ WOW! It made me think, are pillions born with iron skulls?
In the past, I’ve seen pictures of riding formations in which people are riding in shorts and floaters. It makes me utter only 3 words – God Bless Them! A few first timers who have joined our rides too have shown up in shorts and floaters. Oblivious of the damage that can be caused in event of a fall. Such riders are made aware of the risks involved and from the next ride they show up in complete gear. Ideally the club admin/moderator who should take up the cause of safety for each of its bikers. They should be well aware of the extent to which things can go wrong and prepare their bunch of riders accordingly.
While on the road, we have experienced accidents so bad that had the rider not been in proper biking gear, the story would have been completely different. Right from the first Musafirs ride we have had zero tolerance to riders participating without helmets, shoes etc.
Biking clubs should be absolutely besharamand adopt the ‘best-practices’ seen in other clubs – they should not feel inferior about doing so.
We have observed an upward growth trend in motorcycle touring. Motorcycling is not the NEXT big thing. IT IS THE CURRENT BIG THING! Gone are the days when every long-distance motorcycling enthusiast in India would only talk only about the RDs, REs, Yezdi’s etc. With the entry of technologically advanced and more reliable motorcycles in the Indian market, and an increase in average disposable income of people in the 25 – 45 age segment, the number of motorcycling enthusiasts who can indulge in and sustain this hobby over a long period has gone up.
The future of motorcycle touring:
The motorcycle industry and motorcycle touring is set to climb new pinnacles of popularity. Also, the Indian market is showing keen interest in new technologies being adopted in the two wheeler segment. As the industry deepens it’s connect with the youth, more youngsters taking up biking as a hobby. We would like to see more initiatives being taken by motorcycle brands to promote the culture of motorcycling in Mumbai and also across the country.
The pre-Musafir life..
Before the Musafirs happened, I had a routine life and routine work. Over a period of time, I realized that I was not doing justice to my existence and that resulted in the craving for ‘MORE’. The difference between then and now is that even though I have a full time job. The monotony doesn’t set in… I look forward to spending my weekends on the road with my bike, and with the members of the Musafirs clan. In the early days of The Musafirs I realized that travel can teach us a lot.
Hospitality Vs Hostility
While a few places are hostile, the others are very accommodating. On one of the rides to a small town about 350 kms from Mumbai I remember that we woke up a mechanic at around midnight to fix one of our bikes. He not only did that, he offered us piping hot tea and food while he was busy repairing the vehicle. People, culture, experiences are different everywhere. The more one travels, the more one connects with oneself. But then the question, why on a motorcycle and not on any other means of transport? Because when I ride, I am with myself. I can dig deep within… It is a state of meditation… Yes it also provides a sense of HIGH!
The Musafirs Safar – The story so far
I have led over 50 motorcycle expeditions for the Musafirs. If we get down to mentioning each of them, it will be a long list. To summarize it, we have covered all the known places in Maharashtra. We have also frequently ventured out to places in the neighboring states including Goa, Karnataka, Gujarat. We have also motorcycled to the northern states of Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.
The Musafirs Safar – Destination is where the heart goes!
Every destination is unique and whether or not one likes it depends on ones frame of mind. For me what sets apart a destination is the route to reach there. Let us take the example of the Ladakh region… I would say that ‘Leh’ is an over-hyped destination. Once upon a time it was only the adventurers who would venture there because LEH was only accessible via roads… bad roads. However today, you have every second person’s aunts, uncles and grandpa’s visiting that place…
Is LEH my favorite destination? No… but the road to reach there on my motorcycle is my favorite… because every kilometer is a challenge that I have to overcome… be it wading through the gushing streams of water with icy cold water entering my boots or be it riding on black ice and the bike skidding over every 5 meters. It makes me push my limits… It makes me develop a deeper connect with myself… It makes me feel alive!
Before I enter my grave, I want to explore as much as possible… This year we would also be exploring Thailand on bikes. We will be heading to the North East of India and Bhutan later this year. Are these my dream destinations? Yes… until I ride there…
The Lycans India story dates back to July 2010, when the reign of a new riding era had just begun. Influenced by his brother who was a member of an ex-super bike club ‘DEMON RIDERS’ which was established in Bangalore, our founder thought of starting up a riding club. One for entry level sport bikes division (viz. Bikes 150CC & above ) in Mysore. He got in touch with a fellow rider through a common friend. Today, that ‘Dedicated Rider’ is the co-founder of our club.
The founder shared his views of starting the club with him, in which the co-founder was interested too. They both started riding together. Thus a journey began of two individuals against a stigma. Once, that every riding club faces given the notoriety of a few that have formed a negative impact in the minds of the general public at large.
The Lycans India Story – Enter ‘De-luxe’ riders
The club was named ‘De-luxe’ riders in the first place which meant ‘it’s of a better quality and usually more expensive than the usual ones in its kind’. They even worked hard in catching up with the standards they had dreamed of setting. Initially, the thought was to start a ‘Stunting group’. Then recruitment began, from friends to family, mutual friends and so on.. Whether rides or stunting, they were well organized and were having a lot of fun. This, until some began to criticize ‘De-Luxe’ uh! – a name used for many other products. To say, contraceptives for one, buses and many more. We didn’t care about what people said, they were doing their part as dedicated riders. Be it riding or stunting, not causing any nuisance in the locality.
The Lycans India Story – To Chamundi
As newbies, every nearby place frequented by riding groups became the destination. In which ‘CHAMUNDI HILLS’ topped the list. For motorcyclists considered the ‘GATEWAY to HEAVEN’. Even dubbed Lavasa of the south for some. Every other night riding to that hill was utter bliss. Feeling the rush of their bikes brought about by the throttle inflicted acceleration that put power against traction on a road smitten by corners and the air like no other, indeed a ride to remember.
(One of our fellow rider enjoying the curves at Chamundi hills)
The Lycans India story – ‘Betta Riders’
Just when everything seemed to be fine, the club actually started to stumble with another hurdle. Dubbed as ‘Betta Riders’ meaning Hill Riders, as we used to ride the the hills very often. Now, that others had set a spark of frustration in the minds of our riders and the co-founder especially. At that point, the club started to disintegrate until it was down to just 7 members. Our co-founder thought of bailing the club out and setting it back to normal. So, the ADMINS and the FOUNDING panel rode to a nearby restaurant ‘Café County’. They sat and discussed through the night brainstorming with the idea to overhaul the club. To begin with – a name that fits perfectly in the place of the previous one. Then they struck an idea of getting the name from Greek origin.
(The birth place of THE LYCANS)
The Lycans India story – “WE ARE”
On the nightfall of Aug 7, 2010, they named the club as ‘The Lycans’. WHY LYCAN? Typically a Shape-shifting creature, when you are on the bike, you are a “wolf”. When you are off of it, you are in your “human being”. Thus, the club name was agreed upon and has been that way ever since. Though we were facing a lot of hurdles, we took it as an opportunity to bounce back and prove ourselves. ‘Without the bitter, the sweet isn’t as sweet’ and for us it wasn’t just a club, it was a ‘Family‘ and that’s when ‘The Lycans’ started its journey officially.
The Lycans India story – The first gear
Rejoicing with the warmth of self satisfaction, happiness and many as such, they were cherishing the fruit. We even started off with clicking pictures everywhere we went. For us, this meant everything, in fact it meant the world to us. We were sailing all the way very well having fun. From creating a name in the hood, setting new standards, formulating new rules and maintaining it was the only thing we knew. The very same people who made fun of us started noticing us. They even started appreciating us because they were left with no reasons to point fingers at us.
As people say, “There is always a back fall in every story of yours when u seem to be enjoying and feeling that you are on the top”.
Personally speaking, I do not believe in people talking about us and things happening the way they talked. But, fortunately or unfortunately, as hard as I wanted to not believe, that shit just played out the way it was envisioned. In fact, at a time majority of the riders rode the Yamaha R15 and everyone except the co-founder (he owned a Bajaj Pulsar 220 SF ). Thus causing differences to kick in between the founder and the co-founder. He was asked to step down, as the founder had plans of turning the club into an exclusive group of R15 riders – Club R15.
Be God’s good grace on the co-founder or sheer luck, the R15 club did not materialize, thus allowing him to stay in.
Burning rubber on asphalt
Turning the club into a stunting crew was still on the cards of our fellow founder. He practiced his stunt routines and looking at him others were also inspired to follow suit and started practicing as well. They all excelled and made a perfect stunting crew. The founder’s ‘IDEA’ was to get the stunting team officially recognized. Everything fell into place including the crew. Unfortunately for us, a series of accidents played out with members being plagued by minor and in some cases, major injuries.
One last Wheelie, no?
At that instant, we decided to give up the idea of stunting as we saw it as a message to not put our life at risk and is when we completely focused on ‘Riding and Touring ONLY’. The stunting concept was long gone.
Unlike most clubs in the city, we focus on safety without compromise. The students outnumber the working class in the club. We wanted the parents of the crew member who was joining us to feel that their child was safe with us and would have a worthwhile ride. This ushered in a positive attitude and carried their negativity out. These positive vibes changed the idea that the parents had about biking clubs.
The Lycans India story -‘Focusing On Safety’
Making sure that the rider has:
1. A “Certified” (one that carries safety ratings like ISI, DOT, etc.) ‘Helmet’. 2.The basic necessary ‘Riding Apparel’ that includes a) Riding Jacket b) Gloves c) Knee and Shin guards d) Riding boots / any decent shoes that covers the ankle. 3. That the rider never gets into any issues with his fellow rider or any outsiders. 4. To help him in any aspects if we feel it’s genuine. 5. That he learns good things being a rider.
No compromise on safety
And to ensure safety of the rider is taken care of, we assigned ride coordinators to lead and support a fallen rider.
Some coordinators are assigned to lead and take responsibility of the pack.
Others to make sure that all followed ride discipline and that no one falls.
This gives us an edge (in most cases) – parent’s support and the loyalty of their lad which has helped us to grow as a group in the city as well as in other cities.
The Lycans India Story – No gender bias
We started meeting like-minded people and started to learn a lot of things. Also, a lot of eye pleasing events that took place. I mean we see two bikes in a row, one is a man and one is a woman. Women riders have started to hit the roads. What else do we want? We learnt that we don’t need strength and bravery to be able to do this. All it takes is a bit of determination to do it and we cultivated this in our club. Surprisingly, the riders started to resonate very well with each other.
The Lycans India Story – The road ahead
We continued riding. We aren’t counting the miles, but just keeping a track as to where were were headed. All we knew was to ride consistently and this got rid of all the anxiety within. People started to recognize the change in each member. The change was so profound that we could feel it ourselves. We didn’t know that touring would change all of us for good.
Once we let the seed of passion sprout, we preferred to ride and explore than to stay back at home. Given a choice, it is wheels all the time than to be on the bed. Small talk does not make the cut for us. We learnt that bikers are the people with a good heart, good behavior and most of all good character. definitely, not what some people have perceived all bikers as. And when we all meet, we all talk about – ‘Experiences’. Because that’s what we are doing. We are experiencing something or the other when we are out on a ride.
The Lycans India Story – The Shape Shifters
Well! To jump right back again. As the name suggests, we are a pack of ‘WOLVES’. Just like the Chinese martial arts experts who have derived their skills imitating animals & birds we chose to follow the wolves’ actions. Imitating them by riding together as a pack would hunt and watch each other’s back and never leave any one behind, be it the ride or life in general.
The Lycans India Story as narrated by one of the moderators of the founding chapter. This is a story about how a group of stunting enthusiasts "shape-shifted". From an aggressive adrenaline demanding hobby of stunting to join the ranks of the more subtle touring class of riders dedicating themselves to safe and disciplined riding.
Naked Wolves India began as an owner’s group of the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS. Walking into Khivraj Bajaj, Bangalore to buy his first motorcycle little did he know the road ahead. One weekend while riding out with a bunch of fellow bikers he was appalled at the current state of “decorum”. He believed that he could make a difference. Setting foot again into the dealership he sought a few telephone numbers. And a few phone calls later a bunch of owners of the Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS met. In July 2012 in the parking lot of the Airlines Hotel they met Mr. Gourab Das, a well respected rider of the biking commune. They rode till about Nelamangala, on the northern side of Bangalore. Thus marking the 1st ever official ride of “Naked Wolves” India.
By and far with the efforts of those that can truly be called Primes:
Delhi (not necessarily in that order)
After Bangalore they joined in taking a footing in the front runners seat.
“Naked Wolves India Began” – in other cities too
While riders hail from different lifestyles, the common thread that most of the active members share (apart, from their bikes) is the zeal to ride. Disciplined and riding in a formation is paramount. A sole yet uncompromising law laid down by the founders, these riders haven’t limited their riding to just camaraderie. Their BSR initiatives have found a way to give back to the society. Their dedication to modding the future of the nation cant be measured by any matrices. Its glow can be seen on the faces of the children when they hear a pack of 23.5 brake horse powered machines coming to meet them.
Three years and counting
3 years now, spanning over 12 cities across India, they are a name to reckon with in Indonesia. They have set foot in the Philippines, thus marking another pug mark in their ever growing presence. Little did Arjun Shankar and his handful of ‘primes’ ever have an idea that they were going down in the history books. Not just as any other motorcycling club moderators, as the pillars of one of the world’s youngest-ever and quick spreading riding groups.
Own a Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS and want to join?
For those of you who own a Bajaj Pulsar 200 NS and want to join Naked Wolves India owner’s group, a few basic rules are a must that need to be followed at every ride. For details on this you are briefed well in advance by your local area/ city moderators.
With Singapore a probability, Philippines growing and Indonesia a place to be at, in India the group has chapters in the following cities and growing: