Members of Royal Pandiyas share a common interest in riding Enfield motorcycles

At a time when people are lining up for Pulsars and Yamahas, here is a group of men committed to the time-tested Enfield Bullet. The Royal Pandiyas Madurai Enfielders’ Club is an exclusive group of Royal Enfield motorcycle owners.

“Be it Java or Yezdi nothing could match the thudding sound of the Bullet,” says K.G. Athilingam, president of the club. “Its majestic presence has won a million hearts around the world.”

The club was started in September 2010 to share habits of safe riding and to break misconceptions about the motorbike. “People are quite reluctant to choose Enfield motorcycle because of the weight factor,” says Athilingam. “But the fact is that it never lets you down. The bike is comfortable to ride because of its broad wheel base and brilliant road grip. Of late, the motorcycle has undergone a lot of changes to improve mileage. The brake pedal is shifted to the right hand side, which is a big plus for the vehicle. It also comes with the new unit construction engine with which the cost of maintenance has come down drastically.”

The club also promotes adventure and leisure riding. Royal Pandiyas conducts its expeditions in a systematic way. “We believe in riding as one group,” he says. “We have a lead captain who decides on the speed limit and leads the group. If the group is large, we also have a mid-captain who controls the speed of the riders. The swipe captain comes last and his job is to help riders facing problems.”

The convoy travels with a full-fledged mechanic and catering teams to take care of the needs of the riders. “Being the main dealer of the Enfield bike in the city gives me the luxury to have trained personnel in our support team,” says Athilingam.

The team has covered all major hill stations in the state including Yercaud, Ooty, Kodaikanal, Munnar, Sirumalai, Megamalai, Thekkadi and Kolli hills. “We fix a trip after careful consideration of the weather condition and facilities en route,” says S. Kadhar Mohideen, general secretary of the club.

In charge of the club events, Kadhar Mohideen prepares an annual calendar and fixes each trip well in advance. Every year the team participates in the all-India Royal Enfield Rider Mania, organised by Enfield enthusiasts and riders in Goa.

“The trip to Goa is unforgettable,” he says. “We covered a distance of 750 km on a single day, which is no mean achievement. We travelled in adverse weather conditions and on bad roads. All the members returned safe and there was not a single breakdown.”

After reaching the destination, the club conducts recreational events such as carry your bike, slow race, bottle pick-up and bike polo. Every ride also has an off-road component, sometimes spine-chilling. Says Athilingam, “In one of our off-road rides we went inside the forest area in Sirumalai Hills. With no electricity, we carried generators and spent a night in the dense forest.”

The club also took its members to Dhanushkodi. “Riding bikes on the sand is a risky proposition,” says Kadhar Mohideen. “Our enthusiastic members gave the green signal and we reached the destination without any hassle.”

At least 25 members participate in each ride. Depending on the distance the club decides whether it will be a one-day or two-day trip. Club members are spread across the state from Chennai to Kanyakumari. “We have members from Puducherry and even from Abu Dhabi,” says Athilingam.

“My 20 years’ dream of owning an Enfield came true in 2010 when I got the motorcycle after waiting for three months,” says A.V.T. Raghav Ramana, a member from Tiruchi. “It is a heavenly feeling to ride on this motorbike. The 140 km distance between Tiruchi and Madurai looks nothing to me, as I regularly visit the Temple City to meet my friends.” The club has given him an opportunity to meet friends, he feels.

Last time they participated in the Riders Mania in Goa, the club members caught the attention of other participants, winning prizes in many events. The Royal Pandiyas Club has planned to organise Riders Rage 2012, a state-level meet of Enfield bike enthusiasts in Madurai during December.

Started as a small group of 15, the club has grown to 200 members. Having completed more than 15 trips in two years, the club members are now gearing up to participate in the three-day Royal Enfield South Reunion in Ooty from August 17.

More In: Metroplus | Features