Sunday, March 23, 2008

Riding their way to success

This is an article about Ghost RYDERZ that featured in Hindu metro plus

Zooming into the limelight Members of ‘Ghost Ryders’ on a practice session

Bikes, the first love of many a man. The adrenaline rush that he experiences on riding a two-wheeler is unmatched. What started as a common passion of a small group of friends is today a full-fledged 75-member-strong community called ‘Ghost R yders,’ inspired by the popular movie by the similar name.

“It began with get-togethers in the museum park and long rides along the Kovalam and Shankumugham beaches when we were teenagers,” says a nostalgic team organiser Mikhil Mohan. “Then each one got busy with college and soon after moved to metros like Chennai and Bangalore for jobs.”

It didn’t end there. Many realised they couldn’t let that passion die out. Thus, old buddies met again, the team was revamped and christened ‘Ghost Ryders.’

Against all odds

It was no cakewalk for these youngsters to travel where they have reached today. For most people the first image that conjures up when they think of boys and bikes are hooligans racing at break-neck speed. Be it those wannabe machos who think speeding on their raucous bikes is the only way to a lady’s heart or those incessant honkers who think that continuous honking can get them past any traffic signal – they are indeed a nuisance. It is against such prejudices that the Ghost Ryders had to prove their mettle.

Jiji, one of the team members remarks: “Not many approve of adventure sports because of the risks involved. Particularly in Kerala.”

However, these bikers aver that they are here to pursue a passion and not live life on the edge. They came, they joined hands and are now out to conquer the world in their own style.

The real impetus came when some of the older members returned home to the city and five of the friends purchased Pulsar 200 bikes. Initially they just went on long rides as they were under the notion that stunts could be performed only on super bikes. However when they realised that these were misconceptions, they began experimenting. They understood that stunts are possible even on stock bikes available in India. Lack of guidance and appropriate know-how of performing stunts did lead to accidents and injuries, admit one of them. But the team’s dedication has enabled them to master some of the most difficult and incredible stunts. Mikhil’s younger brother Akhil Mohan’s comprehensive research on ‘stunting’ on the Internet has been integral in achieving this excellence. “Once the theories were learnt it was easy not only to perform the stunts but also to teach others,” says Mikhil.

The team is coordinated by Suraj Panicker. Akhil is the official cameraman. Indrajith is a stuntsman-cum-editor. Jiji and Mikhil claim it is the excellent camerawork and the editing that have contributed to the popularity of the four videos of the team. Some of the youngsters who attempt the stunts are Srikanth Rajan, Sunith Hamsa, Mikhil Mohan, Jevon Roscoe, Raamkumar, Raj Mohan, Shamjith S.H., Arun Kurup, Pradeep Kumar, Sharan Sasi and Jiju Anand.

All of them are emphatic about the fact that no one should attempt the stunts without training or ride bikes without a license. Mikhil claims: “We are not here to be a nuisance to others. It is just for entertainment that we do these stunts.

“We carry out these stunts in extremely controlled environments and practise in areas far from the populace.”

Indrajith emphasises: “It is mandatory to use protective stunt gear and helmets. We also take great efforts to master the techniques. Such precautions reduce the risks involved.”

The team emphasises that the success of the bike stuntmen in North India as well in the rest of the world is because of the public support in terms of encouragement and finance. For now they are content riding their way to success and fame.

The stunts are classified under Wheeling, (‘Basic’, ‘Foot peg - front and back,’ ‘Old School’ and ‘Stander), Stoppie (‘Baby’, ‘Rolling’, and ‘Endo’) and ‘Christ’, ‘Side Skitch’ and ‘Chain Saw.’

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