My First Harley-Davidson Boot Camp

Harley-Davidson India recently announced a BootCamp for its Associates. I was waiting for something like this and I volunteered to attend. The excitement was so palpable, that I decided to arrive in Delhi the night before the BootCamp. Needless to say that I spent a sleepless night.

The Prelude

That's me posing on the Ultra Classic

I arrived at the Lodhi Garden restaurant on the dot at 10:00 am, and the first thing that greeted my eyes were these Harleys lined up on the sidewalk. There was the Sportster, the Fat Boy, The CVO and a couple of others I can’t recall now…it was all so overwhelming!

After the registration formalities, I headed straight to the beverage counter for some coffee…I had to calm myself down and make sure I wasn’t behaving like a 5-year-old in Disneyland.

They had lined up one bike from each Family that they are planning to launch in India. There was the Sportster, DYNA, Softail, VRSC, Touring and CVO. I was salivating like a dog!

The event started with a short presentation by Anoop Prakash, the CEO of Harley-Davidson India. He’s an affable guy who loves to ride and made us all feel very comfortable. The presentation took us through the Harley-Davidson’s history, their bikes and some interesting tit-bits.

Did you know that Harley-Davidson manufactures 5000+ spare parts that you can use to customize your bike?!!

We were split up into two groups of fifteen people each. Group A got to ride first. I was in Group B and had to wait some more! While the first group was out on the streets, we were given a low down on all the bikes they plan to launch next year by John. John is a great guy and knows each bike like the back of his hand. He’s a walking, talking FAQ; ask him all the questions you have.

The Bikes

My favorite is the Ultra Classic! I love long rides and this is the machine to do it on. Check these babies out at

The first group had already returned, faces beaming with excitement while John was extolling the virtues of the 2010 VRSC Night-Rod Special which was the last bike. This is a killer of a bike and my suggestion is that if you don’t have much experience, drop this from your list; you could literally get yourself killed.

The Gear

It was our turn now and we were led to where the riding gear was. There was this lovely Harley leather jacket on the hanger which, when I lifted it off the rack, I nearly lost my centre of gravity! It weighed a few hundred kilos I thought! This was solid stuff. If you had a fall with this jacket on your back, you can be sure you’d survive without as much as a scratch! However, I must admit in all honesty, that this piece of clothing is certainly not for India unless you’re riding in the Himalayas. I was drenched by the time the ride was over.

Next the Harley helmets and then the Harley gloves and off we went to choose the bikes we thought would feel comfortable riding. I chose the Fat Boy….mama mia! I got the bike started and gently gave it some throttle…mmmm…this was what it was all about!

The Ride

The bike that I ride everyday has the gears on the right and the sequence is one up and three down. On the Harley it was the reverse; gears on the left, and sequence one down and the rest up. I had a pillion riding with me and she nearly flew over my head, when instead of shifting up, I hit the breaks! I was very, very careful after that.

We had to ride in formation and were strictly instructed not to overtake the leader. Riding in traffic is no fun and a Harley at that! But I couldn’t get over the fact that I was finally riding my dream bike, even if only at 40 kmph. Hardly had I finished licking my lips, when the ride ended; it was too damn short! My recommendation to the organizers is that the rides should be at least a couple of hours long

But I must admit that it gave you a fair feel of the machine and sets you thinking how and from where you’re going to cough up the money when the bikes are launched.

The Brunch

We were hungry by now and there was some lovely fare; HamBurgers, Pasta, Sandwiches and beverages. The event ended with a Thank You speech by Anoop. Each one of us got a Certificate of Participation, a lovely Harley-Davidson laptop bag, a T-Shirt that read, “Motorcycles, Music and Mayhem”, a Harley-Davidson branded photo frame to put your picture atop a Harley and bandana to cherish.

The Boot Camp schedule is as below:

Mumbai, on Nov 22, 2009
Bengaluru, on Nov 29, 2009
New Delhi, on Dec 13, 2009

It costs Rs 3,500 to attend a Harley-Davidson India Boot Camp, but it is peanuts when compared to the experience. And mind you, all of the Rs 3500 is being donated to

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