Superbikers are vrooming across north Bengal and Sikkim, a craze that could boost adventure tourism in the region.
Superbikes, high-end two wheelers some of which are priced at about Rs 40 lakh, were rare in north Bengal and Sikkim roads, but of late, the bug has bitten some.
Abhijeet Ganu, 37, a superbiker from Pune who rides a Honda Gold Wing 1800cc of Japanese make, said: “Bhutan and the northeastern states are encouraging superbiking. The Darjeeling hills, Sikkim and north Bengal have as much potential as Bhutan and the other states. A bit of improvement in infrastructure and government help would go a long way in promoting superbiking there.”
Superbikers often visit Leh and Ladakh but slowly, the focus is beaming on the Darjeeling hills, Sikkim and north Bengal.
“What is needed is good infrastructure in terms of roads. There should also be a government licence when one upgrades a bike. If someone is riding a heavy-engine bike, practical and written examinations should be taken before allowing to ride the bike. Such restrictions are in place abroad,” Ganu, whose bike costs Rs 40 lakh, said.
During his Darjeeling tour, Ganu had company in Sundeep Arora, 32, from the hill town who owns a Harley-Davidson Street 750, Sudip Hazra, 36, from Siliguri, who has a Triumph Street Triple (675cc), Aman Goyal who has a 800cc Kawasaki-Z800 and Roshan Lama who owns a 600cc Benelli TNT 600i.
Unlike superbikers from the metros, a mechanical problem in smaller places could mean an additional expense of at least Rs 7,000. “We have to bear the cost of bringing a service man from Calcutta or other metros, apart from other costs,” Arora said. “Lot of foreign clients are interested in superbiking but some confidence has to be built for them,” said Arora.
Ganu was received by ACES (A Club of Elite Superbikers) in Siliguri that has eight members and by BUGS (Bikers United Gangtok Sikkim) during his leg in Sikkim.
In Gangtok, one of the first superbikers of the state, Karma Pintso said: “Superbiking culture is slowly coming to the region. There are problems galore in terms of maintenance but biking passion is overriding all concerns.”
The groups, both of which were formed last year, are also known for their philanthropic purposes.
Ganu is also travelling for a cause.
He, as a member of an NGO, Round Table India, has been travelling across India since October 6 to raise funds to build a school for the underprivileged at Pune that will cater for 350 students. “Hopefully, I will raise around Rs 8 lakh after my journey,” said Ganu.
[Via: Telegraph, Pic: Mohan Lama]
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