I rode a motorbike in Mysore. At first I was terrified. Driving through the city, the motorbikes zoom precariously close to cars, weaving in and out of the four-wheel traffic. Most motor accidents in Mysore involve a motorbike, and as you can imagine, the rider hardly fares well against sedans, busses or trucks. Reading the paper each morning, there are often headlines about motorbike riders being struck and sometimes killed.
With that in mind, I agreed to take a motorbike ride with my 24-year-old host sister Nimisha.
We woke up early in the morning, at 6 a.m., hoping to ride over to a popular park and catch the sunrise.The scooter she has isn’t a motorcycle, it’s a moped with a big black cushy seat. We both wore helmets, which is compulsory in Mysore.
Nimisha knew I was nervous, so she let me grab onto her during the ride. A lot of women ride side-saddle on the back of their boyfriend or husbands scooters. Not me. I sat firmly planted on the back, one leg on each side of the moped.
When we took off it was still a bit dark and thankfully, hardly anyone was on the road, giving us a clear path to the lake.
It was a rush feeling the cold air blowing in my face, especially after a night of food poisoning. Dozens of motorbikes were lined up outside the park, where inside people walked and jogged the 3 kilometers around a large lake. The path was crowded with people in work-out clothes and traditional dress. Nimisha even saw one of her friends strolling the lake’s perimeter.
We haven’t seen too many gyms in India, but Nimisha said people come to the lake to get physical activity very early in the morning before the sun rises and the temperature soars to at least 70 degrees.
After the walk we stopped at a popular juice cart parked outside to buy some betel nut juice, which is very popular in India. It is supposed to help settle the stomach, Nimisha said. Then we hopped back on the scooter and drove home, facing very little traffic. I am still pining for my next ride.