Imagine an exclusive gathering of Royal Enfield Riders aka Enfielders, from across the country and beyond, riding down to a single location, to celebrate the spirit of brotherhood. If this thought just painted a vivid picture of a passionate bunch of bikers catching up over good food, great music & awesome friends – then you’ll know what Royal Enfield Rider Mania is all about.
Rider Mania is beyond the motorcycles and more about the people that live them. They ride them and embark upon great journeys on them. They meet new people, experience new things and have a jolly good time alongside. It is about living the Royal Enfield experience, soaking it in, making it a part of you, whichever corner of the country, and the world that you go to. These riders come from all walks of life. From engineers to production guys, fine artists, professional travellers and everyone in between – Rider Mania attracts them all.
Livingit team brings to you the on-ground coverage of the Rider Mania 2016 and bytes of how some riders felt attending the event.
Rider Mania gets Bigger:
Rider Mania 2016 broke all records when it came to the number of participants. A record 6000+ Royal Enfield Enthusiasts attended the three day festival from 18 th to 20 th November, here in Vagator, Goa. These riders come from all walks of life. The festival this year, was spread over three key areas, viz. the main arena, the parking lot & the dirt-racing track. Surprisingly there were 2 new additions to Rider Mania event, here’s what we found at RM this time:
Debut 1: Art at Rider Mania
The highlight was the debut of the ‘Art at Rider Mania’ theme. Showcased for the very first time in the history of Rider Mania, Royal Enfield had thrown the gates open to some of the most talented people on the scene. They ended up utilizing every surface imaginable, including helmets to fuel tanks and even actual canvas in a bid to show-off the best of their moto-inspirations. New age digital artists took to painting the wet-bars set up near the main-stage. On the other hand, the inspiring exploits of the talented moto-duo – Helmet Stories worked their magic through a series of installations.
Debut 2: Early Risers get the ride:
The ‘Early Risers’ rides too made their Rider Mania debut in the 2016 edition of the event. Encouraging festival attendees to shake off the revelries from the previous evening, the ‘Early Risers’ rides attempted to show off a different side of Goan sights & sounds, as they are in the wee hours of the day. The first of the two rides took people through unseen Goan hamlets and had people hopping across streams enroute to the Mahadai Wildlife Sanctuary. The 14 kilometre trail section along the 150 kilometre ride route also introduced riders to the only cable bridge in Goa. A breakfast ride of sorts, it was curated by the supremely talented bunch of local motorcycling group called the ‘Goa Trail Riders’. The second of the two ‘Early Risers’ rides was a shorter, yet just as fun, 65 kilometre ride to the famed Divar Island. It sought to introduce riders to the more idyllic side of Goa, going up a few more notches on the ‘susegaad’ scale. All-in-all, the ‘Early Risers’ rides managed to get a fair bit of interest going, as was evident by the long snaking lines outside the registration booth on both days of the festival.
Custom Motorcycle Exhibition:
Another form of art which all riders connect with is motorcycle customizations. Royal Enfield motorcycles can easily be titled as one of the MOST customized bikes in India, customizations have always gone hand-in-hand since the launch of their very first motorcycles. Whether it was the brass accessories paying homage to the period look or retro-modern tweaks that followed the best of bike customization trends on the global motorcycling scene, we’ve had them all. Rider Mania over the years, has attracted some of the country’s brightest names in the bike customization field. Riding in from far & wide, they add their creative oomph to this festival to make it truly memorable. This year too was no different. Showing off their creations this year at the Custom Bike Exhibition, were exalted names such as Old Delhi Motorcycles, Bulleteer Customs, Wheel Vedas Customs, Inline3 Customs, Bulleteer Customs, JEDI Customs, and many more. Each one of these bespoke creations was a masterpiece in itself, with the bike builders living it up on the spirit of Royal Enfield.
The Café in the spotlight:
The next was The Café at Rider Mania 2016 was buzzing with inspiring activity all through the festival days. The unique journey of the riders and their passions were celebrated in great style under the ‘Bring It To Rider Mania’ theme this year. The spotlight was on riders from across the community living it on their favourite Royal Enfield motorcycles. Thus, there were book launches, inspiring talks, stories shared by famed personalities and more. It wasn’t all just inspiring talk, for there were a few professional stand-up comedy acts here at the same stage. All in all it brought the community together over laughs and inspiring stories.
Rider-Mania, a Moto-Shoppers Paradise:
A lot of exciting stalls lined the edges of the main arena. Festival patrons were spoilt for choice as they took it all in at the official Royal Enfield merchandise store. The stalls were full of stuff you could buy ranging from Motorcycle luggage, Riding Gears, Safety Solutions, T-Shirts, Helmets, Accessories & more. Most of the merchandise was sold out on the first day itself, with sales continuing to remain strong throughout the festival.
Parking Lot Action:
Shifting to the action outside, the parking lot at Rider Mania 2016 looked like it was caught up in a frenzy of activity. There were Royal Enfield motorcycles of all shapes, sizes and modifications in every direction one glanced. A simple 15 minute walk around the lot on each day of the festival was enough to understand just how vibrant & passionate the Royal Enfield Owners community is. Most of the modifications in the parking lot were cosmetic in nature, ranging from stickers and paint-jobs, to accessory add-ons. But there were many who had carefully gone about tweaking their motorcycles in a bid to make them better tuned to their individual riding requirements. Even the newly launched all-purpose tourer, the Himalayan was out in full strength, with enough specimens dotting the lanes leading to & from the festival grounds.
The parking-lot was also the proving grounds for the ‘Trials’ round, where participants showed off their skills in tackling a specially designed obstacle course. It sure was fun watching riders living it as they tried in all ways possible to climb over each obstacle in their path and complete the set course. It was a thrilling display of riding skill as they worked the controls to maintain the tricky balance between power, momentum & traction required to negotiate their way around.
Facing off with Assembly Wars:
The ‘Assembly Wars’ is a legacy event of RM and it too attracted a fair deal of attention from the crowd. It essentially was a test on how quickly a team could strip down a Royal Enfield motorcycle & then re-assemble it at the other end of the track. The right tools, perfect coordination between team-members & the right mix of skills among them were in high demand for this part of the event.
Everyone knows that their Royal Enfield steeds carry a fair bit of heft. It helps them take a pounding on rides across the country, while making them extremely stable to ride at a decent clip. But what happens when you’ve got to life your ride from one spot to another? The ‘Carry Your Bike’ competition bore witness to a lot of huffing & puffing with matching footsteps as teams showcased their strength and unity to carry their bikes and rush to finish line.
When the slowest one is the fastest:
The Slow Motorcycle Race another legacy event was in complete contrast to the typical motorcycling bug of seeing how fast one can go. Here, the slowest speed was the most desirable, albeit one where it could be pulled off without the feet touching the ground. Not as easy as it sounds, with many participants realizing this to their surprise. Fun stuff this!
The action at Rider Mania 2016 was relentless, with a lot happening all through the three days of the festival. While the main arena had the static displays and the parking lot took care of the slower stuff, those in search of a bit of speed and dust, had only to walk across the road, to the dirt racing track.
Dust & Glory:
One event which most rider look forward to is the ‘Dirt Racing’. It is all about nailing that ‘Hole Shot’ position, making your way around the track in the shortest time possible. A closely contested event, it is flocked by riders from all over the country. Both novices as well as the seasoned racers fight it out for top honours on the podium. This year, there were a whopping 9 Categories across which participants could have a go at dust & glory. Rider Mania 2016, also had, for the first time ever, an exclusive category, for the newly launched Himalayan. The elite of them all however, was the Race of the Champions. Here, last year’s podium finishers across multiple categories race against this year’s podium winners, to be crowned the Champion of Champions!
There were plenty of thrills & spills on display during all the races held throughout the event as riders battled it out for track positions, not willing to give away even an inch. Even the novice classes saw some great action going by the dust trails from the rear wheels. The sun beating down with full intensity added another layer of difficulties for the racers. Each racer had brought their own unique racing style to the track and it was a treat to watch them trace their own lines in the hunt for speed and track position. Moreover, as the races progressed, the surface got increasingly rough, with loose gravel causing riders to slide about rather unintentionally on more than a few occasions. In the end, it was all down to the ones who’d got the bike setup right and made the most of the conditions. Watching the winners & the rest of the participants living it up on the dirt-track over three days was most inspiring. The spectators too seemed to agree as large crowds thronged the races to cheer for their favourite riders on track. Who knows, maybe next year, we’ll have a lot more participants than this time around!
Dirt-riding in-fact was in huge demand, with Royal Enfield too throwing their weight behind it at Rider Mania 2016. The special, ‘Off-Road’ riding sessions where a huge hit among festival attendees, as they lined up to make the most of the expert trainers available to impart their knowledge to those who wished to ride better off the tarmac.
Nurturing Women Power:
Rider Mania 2016 also featured a special focus on women riders on Royal Enfield motorcycles. Now in its second year, the initiative is called STRE (She Travels on a Royal Enfield). It is dedicated towards improving riding standards among women and promoting the inclusion of lady riders as well as pillions into the community.
Also read: Female Indian Bikers to look out for!
3 Days of Musical Extravaganza:
Come sundown though, and it was time to unwind, over great food, conversations & some cold ones in tow. Some of the biggest music acts on the scene have gone on to play at Rider Mania over the years, and this time around too was no different. On the 1 st day, we had Sapta & Nucleya took to the stage getting revellers into the swing of things as they treated them to their unique blend of cutting edge, Indo-Western inspired electronic dance music.
The artists lined up for Day 2 at Rider Mania 2016 saw Ankur & the Ghalat Family take to the stage with a sound signature folks haven’t quite heard before. The simple tunes & soulful melodies harked back to easier times, dripping heavily with nostalgia from those heady days. Things kind of turned full circle on the melody scale as the crowd at Rider Mania got introduced to the unique sounds of dance hall music. The Reggae Rajahs had taken to the stage & were belting out their tunes with great gusto. DJ’s S A & Sound Avatar then hit the crowds with their Bass driven Hip-Hop & Trap tunes to bring down the curtains on Day 2 at Rider Mania.
Rounding up the musical experience at Rider Mania were two acts that took people back to the roots of rock music and motorcycling. First, it was Bangalore based Parvaaz who opened the evening & treated the crowds to tunes from their debut cut – ‘Baran’. It was then time for Papon to come up on stage with his own unique mix of sonic influences which somehow defy categorization, yet hit right home deep inside our hearts.
As the curtains dropped on 72 Hours of Enfieldom with those final music acts, there was so much bonhomie in the air. Rider Mania 2016 had been another blockbuster experience that everyone would talk about for days & weeks to come, long after they’d returned to their homes.