Every Sunday morning,when Delhiites are sleeping,the GODS step out for their weekly ride across the city. The thunderous roar of 1,000-CC engines precedes them as they drive around the city on their superbikes at the crack of dawn.
GODS,short for Group of Delhi Superbikers,are not your regular students or college dropouts chasing the thrills of speed. They are an organised group with over 70 members,comprising top executives,doctors,lawyers and even pilots.
Fifty-one-year-old Dr Arun Theraja,a cancer specialist,is the founding member of this group,which he claims is the largest superbikers club in the country.
Entry to this elite bikers club is not easy. Members are selected through an interview and based on their driving skills. One has to be above 25 years and must have a decent [educational qualification. The rationale behind this is to have mature members who will not tarnish the image of our group. Every Sunday we leave our homes around 5 am to ride. We have breakfast together and return home by 9.30 am. We go for longer bike trips about two to three times a year, Theraja,a surgeon at Maharaja Agrasen Hospital,says.
When asked how it feels to ride at 300 kmph,Theraja says its magical. Everything to your left and right is a blur. We have to crouch and look ahead through the windshield. Everything moves so swiftly,the feeling cannot be described. I rode at 300 kmph at the Formula 1 racing track in Greater Noida, he says.
The group believes in one life to ride and hence,never compromises on safety. Any member who does not adhere to the groups safety standards (expensive protective leather jackets,knee and elbow guards,and a top-quality helmet) is sent home. Theraja says members always turn up in proper safety gear.
These days,whenever a bike is launched,manufacturers let GODS take them out for a test ride to the hills near Delhi. Members are often invited to showcase their bikes at college festivals and other functions.
Theraja says the number of biker groups increased after the release of Bollywood film Dhoom. When GODS was started in 1998,only a few people had superbikes. Today,anyone who has the buying capacity owns a superbike, he says.
Other prominent biking groups in the city are the Royal Beasts and Delhi Wanderers. Vaibhav Roy,founder of the Delhi Wanderers is a chef at an upmarket resto-bar in Chanakyapuri. Delhi Wanderers was started in 2009 and its members must own Royal Enfields. With 71 members,the Wanderers regularly ride outside Delhi.
Delhi Breakfast Bikers Run is a group run by a pastor,Joshua John. It is an uncommon biker group. These bikers ride for a cause every Saturday. Every week,he meets many of the over-2,000 members of his group at South Extension.
The DBBRs,as they call themselves,are open to all bikers. Every week,the group goes for an early morning ride on the outskirts of the city. The make of the bike does not matter to us. Other groups are very strict about the bikes owned by their members but we are not, Joshua says.
He says members have donated blood and also created awareness about building houses for the poor. We dedicate our ride to something or someone every month. When we donate blood,we see to it that the ones benefiting from our support are those below the poverty line, he said.
Captain Ravee,who has served in the 11 Gorkha regiment and owns four superbikes including a BMW K 1300R,is not associated with any biker group. He prefers riding solo.
The former Army officer claims he has done more than 40,000 km till date. I keep going to various places on my bike. Sometimes I join the others,while on other days I go solo. I always liked biking, Ravee says.