Club Hub Featured Club: Wanderlust. Club Hub is a dedicated section for Motorcycle Clubs in India, featuring one club at a time. We aim at highlighting India's most eminent and prestigious motorcycle clubs under this section. In this article, we feature Wanderlust Motorcycle Club.
For us its always been what we set out to do 11 years ago; to ride out, to lose ourselves to the throb of the engine, the sound of the wind and the rubber on the road, to discover ourselves and the world around us, and then to party like its our first ride.
Can you please take us through your journey with Wanderlust MC and your inspiration behind setting up this group?
Tracing back footsteps, I guess the whole idea of first being a biker was seeded in my mind when I was a kid. Hearing dad’s stories of his travels, and then watching Clint Eastwood westerns with him and those visions of cowboys riding through scenic landscapes and being drifters and living on the road, as a kid I’d imagine myself doing that. Then I got into rock and metal music in my early teens, thanks to my mom who introduced me to it, and the songs about being on the road, riding motorcycles, living on the edge, that further fuelled my imagination and urge to live that romanticized life on the road. The motorcycle became the modern horse. I got my first one, Royal Enfield Lightning 535 in 1999, and I immediately wanted to have a club to ride around with, but there was hardly anyone in town back then who I knew or who seemed like would be interested in motorcycle travel. By 2004 I’d done enough solo riding in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, a solo ride to watch The Rolling Stones perform in Bombay, and then riding solo to Goa for Rider Mania 2004. There I first met and interacted with the clubs of the time. Mainly Inddie Thumpers and, that was it. I announced it there and vowed that the next RM, Wanderlust would be there. Came back, got to work. And a month later, Wanderlust MC was on the road.
"My Club is my quantum of solace. I seek my peace amid the wildest & the craziest people I know."
The journey, as all of the most interesting journeys are, has had its smooth and rough patches. For a place like Nagpur, 11 years ago, people who took us seriously were a faraway dream. Each new member with potential had to be practically tutored and shaped into what we’re all about. The concept was something not many understood. A lot of members have come in and gone over the years, but the club’s been roaring along as well as a fine oiled machine.
What was the concept behind instituting a name to describe your club?
I first heard the word WANDERLUST the same month I got my motorcycle in 1999. Megadeth’s album called RISK was released which contained an awesome track by the name. I instantly liked the word and understood exactly what it meant and decided that’s what the club is going to be called,because that’s exactly what the club has to be about; a never ending, insatiable and uncontrollable desire to travel and wander.
"Riding is a painful pleasure for me; its like getting a tattoo & drinking a bitter drink. But in the end you have a grin on your face."
What is the focus of your club going further in the years to come and what keeps the spirit alive?
The common madness we have about what we do and what we’re about. Quite a lot of our earliest members are still active and riding, the core of the club is as crazy as it was 11 years ago. We’ve still not had enough of travelling, exploring and having a blast at it whether it’s at 2AM on the banks of PangongTso or at a dhaba at the dead end of a forest trail with no roof over our heads for the night. The club functions less on mechanical methods and more like a family. It’s spontaneous. Family also means that we all have a great sense of respect and responsibility towards each other. In the past 11. That’s how we plan to move ahead as well. Never to lose touch with where we’re coming from and going exactly where we’d intended at the start. Anywhere.
Let us know key highlights or motivators towards the growth of Wanderlust MC?
The first fact about us is that we’re the first motorcycle club of central India from a time this concept was unheard of here. We’re constantly credited now, that’s there’s a multitude of clubs in this town for being the one’s who brought in this culture to our city and that’s something we sit back a take a bit of pride in. Theculture has grown and as more and more clubs sprout, what we’d started here is flourishing. It’s a happy feeling. Secondly, Wanderlust is also one of the founding clubs of BOBMC, which is now the oldest and biggest brotherhood of bikers in India and the harbingers of this entire counter-culture movement in India which has suddenly exploded over the recent few years. We also are till date the youngest club to host a Rider Mania in our city back in 2007. And now we’re ready to host the next one in 2016.
Throughout our journey, Inddie Thumpers from Bombay and Royal Beasts from Delhi have been our partners in crime. Thumpers also helped me a lot in the early days of the club in how to manage a club, how to organise rides keeping safety in mind etc.. There’s a lot we’ve learnt from them in particular over the years.
"An alternate way to introspect on the material aspects of life, riding means a journey to be emancipated. Needless to say, a bunch of random people waving at you enroute, indeed take you to a state of social well being"
What are the most memorable rides of Wanderlust and what are the rides planned which will mark another milestone in your achievements?Share a group picture or video of a memorable ride.
I really don’t think we’ve had a ride that hasn’t had something memorable of special about it.. but in terms of distances, the adventure, the time/days spend on the road, the odds faced and the max fun quotient derived in most recent memory, it’d have to be the Getting’ Leh’d tour 2013 and the Rider Mania 2014 tour of the southlands.
What distinguishes Wanderlust from other clubs in the country?
Preferring quality of members over quantity and keeping it real. Also, we have the maximum amount of members who’ve gotten themselves permanently inked with the Wanderlust logo; Lustures For Life as we call them. Not every member is allowed to get the Wanderlust tattoo; one has to earn it.
Now that biking culture is growing, how do you plan to spread awareness among bikers to be a part of clubs?
We spread awareness by being who we are and doing what we do. We’re out there, riding. Bikers get noticed wherever they go, making new friends everywhere. That’s how it’s spread so far. People see you, they meet you, they get inspired to do what you do. THIS keeps it real as only the one’s who really FEEL it take the plunge. Those are bikers for life. The one’s that get into this culture as victims of a lifestyle package sale or just wanting to be cool and a part of the crowd are temporary. Besides all that, when we’re not riding we reach out through social media. Sharing pics and stories from the road. That creates a lot many more dreamers and turns some of them into bikers.
How do bikers outside your city participate in the events organised by your club?
We’ve only done one event so far; Rider Mania 2007 and the participation was decent, but it’s still remembered as the most fun RM from those days. Then in 2008 we had a sudden plan to ride to the Lonar crater lake in central Maharashtra and we shared the idea of a joint ride with the indie Thumpers who shared it with Wanderers and the word got around and more clubs from Hyderabad and Hubli joined in and we had a party of about 50+ bikers. We decided to do the ride every year and this year in it’s 8th edition more than 15 clubs and around 200 bikers are turned up. We call it Gaddha [crater/hole] Mania, and it’s actually more of a multiclub/multicity joint ride to a fixed destination than an event. Again we’re not a club into organising events for revenue or popularity. The only exception to that rule has been the BOBMC Rider Mania, which is more of a community building exercise and the ultimate celebration of the biking brotherhood and culture. We’re here to ride and travel and meet friends from other clubs and other cities on rides and faraway destinations. That’s how the brotherhood grows.
"Riding for me is peace of mind. Exploring different places, meeting different people & learning from them, increases my knowledge. Wanderlust for me is meeting with my brothers & sharing my experiences which gives me strength to ride more."
How does your club ensure Safety during rides/how do you promote safety?
We have very stringent rules of the road. All safety gear is a must on all highway rides. We’ve sent back people who showed up without helmets or proper boots for riding. There’s a strictly no drinking and riding rule. Intoxication is only allowed when all bikes are parked for the night and no one is allowed anything otherwise. We’ve done a few helmet awareness rides in the city with TOI. And we make sure we always practice what we preach.
What is procedure one has to go about to join your club & what are the other skill sets that the group is on the lookout for besides a passion for biking?
The procedure is just to get in touch with us after you’ve got yourself a Royal Enfield and decided you wanna travel on it with us. We first take in applicants as prospects. They have to fulfill a certain criteria involving a few important rides. All the while we evaluate the prospects attitude, team spirit, personality and behavior with others. Then we decide whether he/she’s in or out. Though we haven’t tried starting chapters elsewhere in India yet, we have members in Delhi, Bombay, Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad. Friends we’ve made over the years on the road and they just became a part of the family.
No particular skill sets we look for besides a persona natural urge to travel on motorcycles. The rest comes naturally as we go along. We teach some, we learn from some.
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