Dr. Mukherjee Dande gives his ‘black beauty’ an affectionate pat and says, “Every twist of the wrist releases adrenaline and the feel-good factor enhances my mood. Biking for me isa stress-buster.”
The physiotherapist’s love affair with the Yezdi B began 15 years ago when he claimed his uncle’s discarded bike and lovingly restored it to running conditionwith the help of a local mechanic. “In my student days, a bike ride was a panacea for all ills of the world. I zipped off and loved the wind in my hair,” he recollects.
Mukherjee soon realised that the iconic Jawa - later known as Yezdi - that ruled the roads in the 1970s and 1980s, was still a favourites with many bikers. He began to think of ways to bring them together on a common platform. Soon, he managed to gather a few other like-minded bikers , but not enough to start a club yet.
They began participating in events in Bangalore which had a robust Jawa Yezdi Club. There, they met new trailblazers who explored the world on their rugged machines. Mukerjee describes it as “ a wonderful convergence of men and machine where visitors get to see vintage Jawas and Yezdi bikes that once symbolised a certain kind of lifestyle.”
- In January, the club members take part in an annual all-India Jawa-Yezdi riders’ meet at different locations in the country.
- In the second week of October bikers from the southern states have a three-day camp. This year, it’ll be at Munnar in Kerala where besides members of the host club, Smoking Barrels, other participants will be from Roaring Riders (Chennai), Jawa Yezdi Club (Bengaluru) and Beating Hearts Andhra Jawa Yezdi Motorcycle Club (Vijayawada).
- Once a month the riders roar off to a nearby place for a day’s outing filled with fun and shared experiences
His long-cherished dream of a local club for Jawa-Yezdi fans materialised on International Jawa Day on July 14, 2014 when the Beating Hearts Andhra Jawa Yezdi Motorcycle Club was formed. It now has over 40 supercharged adventure-seekers as members in the 21-65 age group.
On the very same day this year, the members of the club stood alongside their vintage models in a row near Indira Gandhi Municipal Stadium on Bandar Road, intriguing the curiosity of passers-by. They also planted saplings at the Road Transport Authority office, and felicitated senior mechanics Durga Rao, Adinarayana and Das before zooming off to the ancient Kondapally fort in the suburbs.
The Beating Hearts Andhra Jawa Yezdi Motorcycle Club is environmentally conscious. It encourages its members to keep their bikes in ideal running condition with all necessary pollution certificates. “Since these are old machines, most owners use them only on weekends for short rides,” explains Mukherjee.
At regular intervals, the bikers visit government schools to teach students about the importance of following road safety rules.
“Passion for biking infuses a great sense of responsibility. To ride a motorcycle, you need to carefully manage your acceleration, braking, traction and lean angles, all at the same time. You are more involved than when driving a car. You also get smart about rules of the road, especially the forgotten ones, blind spots and ‘slow curve ahead” signs,” says Malleswara Rao, a retired professor of mechanical engineering from V.R. Siddhartha Engineering College. The two-stroke model stole his heart in 1975 when he was a 10th grade boy. He bought a 1979 model Yezdi in 2010. “These are easy-maintenance, high-performance vehicles that give the rider an enriched experience,” he says.
Besides Yezdi, his collection of two-wheelers include a Luna (50 cc, two-stroke), two Rajdoots (mini and big), a Bullet (350 cc four stroke), a Honda Activa and three Chetaks. Some of them are parked at his Hyderabad home and some at Vijayawada. “I keep all the vehicles in running condition by using them simultaneously,” says the 59-year-old.
Says K. Ramachandra Raju, a senior assistant in transport department and a loyal follower of the brand,“It’s only when the Japanese bikes came to India in the mid-’80s that the Jawas/Yezdis started losing relevance.” When in college at Ibrahimpatnam, Ramachandra rode a borrowed bike from his friend’s grandfather and fell in love with the Yezdi. The 30-year-old employee today owns the Yezdi Classic, Classic-II, Model-B and Roadking.
P. Venkatesh, M. Srinivas Rao, A. Mahesh, M. Pradeep, B. Sree Ram G. Babu are some of the active members contributing to the growth of the club.
Decades after the vehicle production stopped, the passionate community of riders continue to rave about Jawa’s well-engineered yet simple design, offering wonderful riding, comfort on even the worst of roads.