The Wanderers of Hyderabad, Inddie Thumpers of Mumbai, Road Sakers of Pune, Royal Beasts of Delhi, Road Survivors of Chandigarh, Silver Bulls of Trivandrum, Eastern Bulls of Calcutta and Wanderlust of Nagpur. Bangalore too has its own motorcycle club, called Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club (RTMC). Founded in September, 2001 the club presently comprises of 120 riders, and has been able to generate interest in another 600 who’re eagerly waiting to get in. “At any point of time, we have nearly 450 to 600 people waiting to join us. While some are not up to the initial challenges, others stick around”, says Prashanth Kumar, a club member.
Vaibhav Sharma is one of the first names that are associated with the club. “Vaibhav is the person who came up with the idea of a motorcycle club. He founded RTMC but is not a part of it since he’s left for the United States”, claims Karthikeyan Perumal, the present club president. As part of his recollections, Karthikeyan also states that the club’s first long trip was to the mountainous Ooty and shorter ride to the nearby Nandi Hills. While initially it was a club of Bulletiers, now it welcomes any riding aficionado as long as he or she has a bike!
What makes RTMC really special is the fact that the club has people from all walks of life coming together to champion the cause of riding. “Within our folds we have doctors, engineers, businessmen, lawyers and other professionals. What brings us together is the passion for riding. Other shared passions like photography, writing and travel only serve to bring us closer”, explains Kumar.
But it’s Rider Mania, an event where Bulletiers from all around the country coming together that has catapulted the group to national recognition. “Essentially a concept to integrate the workings between different motorcycle clubs, Rider Mania first started in 2003 with a handful of 60 people. Since then every third weekend in the month of January has seen the culmination of this event. At a time one club hosts the event while the other clubs participate as guests. Since the procedure requires a lot of coordination we start preparing for the next event as soon as one is over”, states Kumar. The 2009 version of Rider Mania was hosted by RTMC and it drew as many as 680 riders from different parts of India, with people riding in from as far off places as Shillong and the North- East! “Rider Mania 2009 took place in Ooty and is touted as being the biggest of its kind ever. What makes us feel even better is the fact that we hosted it”, explain members.
Despite being of the best- known clubs in the riding circuit, RTMC follows a strictly not- for- profit and non- political agenda. “The question of fees does not arise because we respect the passion for riding. Our club does not go by any hard and fast rule. All that we really care about are safety guidelines”, states Karthikeyan. The member selection process is also something that the club really attends to. “Anyone who wants to be part of RTMC has to ride with us twice. Once a rider has gone on a trip with us, it’s clear whether he or she’s up to it or not. The second riding session in the process serves to reveal only a little more about the individual’s love for riding. An individual can take the two rides whenever he wants. There’s no timeline to it”, he adds.
Regular members as well as people interested to join get to know more about the rides through two Yahoo groups that the club possesses. Before every announced ride there’s a briefing session for new riders about safety guidelines. “We usually stress on driving without drinking, use of proper gear and the fact that no one can race. Every rider has to respect his own life and those of the others around him”, echoes the team jointly.