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    What is it about big boys and bigger bikes? I asked the question of Bangalore’s latest HOG recruits – the exclusive Harley Owners Group – The Oberoi’s executive chef Amit Wadhawan and Food Lovers magazine’s editor and publisher Kripal Amanna: both coincidentally connected to the food biz.
    Though both are newcomers to the group, their interest in big bikes goes back to their youth. Amanna, a two-wheeler veteran from his teens, found himself contemplating his first Harley buy when the brand came to India. “Harley Davidson has always been an iconic dream brand for me,” he says. “While my heart was into it, I needed to check whether I had biking legs too, since I hadn’t biked in two decades.” So he borrowed a friend’s Royal Enfield over six months, and “rode my heart out” before deciding that yes, he could.
    Wadhawan, who loved bikes even as a child, had his imagination tickled in Singapore when he witnessed a group of chefs ride down Orchard Road in their Harleys, for a cause. Subsequent stints in Ireland and Goa kept his yen going, until a HOG event at The Oberoi Bengaluru last year proved decision maker. “A Harley was parked at the hotel for six months as a promotion. Everyday I’d go look at it. But I knew time would be the big issue.” One day a couple of weeks ago, ‘something clicked’ and he decided to “give it a shot,” becoming the proud owner of a Harley SuperLow 883 – “a dream come true!” And time management? “You have to make time,” he says, “Sacrifice sleep. Divide your hours well.”
    Amanna’s bike is a silver-accented Sportster Harley Davidson Iron 883, “easy to ride in the city or on the open highways. I think it’s got the sort of look that I could ride even in a suit — for those who know me,” he quips. And accessorising his new baby? “There’s no limit to how much you can jazz up a Harley, but I keep it simple and classic, for now at least.” He does have a riding bell “to ward off evil gnomes and trolls on the road!”
    Of course, the accoutrement is an important part, and biking leathers, gloves, helmets are chosen meticulously. After all, this plunge isn’t taken lightly. Wadhawan is enjoying selecting his stuff to support the demands of the sport – and dreaming of rides to Leh.
    Everything’s worth it for those special moments. Next on the cards is – but naturally – a gourmet bike ride for the foodie biker gang – a curated add-on to the usual shorter rides and early Sunday morning sessions — something the ‘brotherhood’ looks forward to. Says Amanna, “You’re riding hard, long and fast. Out on the open road all your worries and troubles are left behind.”
    m firstimpressionbangalore@gmail.com

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