Going down the past lane

Going down the past lane
C Venkatadri grew up in the company of bikes and their spares. He was barely three years old when he had his first ride on the bike, his father being a passionate biker and motorist. It was in his father’s garage that he started experimenting with these machines as a child. “I would watch my father effortlessly work on his fleet of vintage cars and bikes. I learnt the mechanics of restoring and repairing cars and bikes from him,” explains Venkatadri, who now owns a line of 42 vintage and classic bikes.

He began seriously collecting vintage and classic bikes only from 2005. “As I grew up, I wanted to ride all kinds of bikes to satiate my curiosity and wasted no time in hitting the racing tracks. I have had my share of victories there as well,” he says.

The first vintage bike that he rode was his father’s Lambretta scooter. He recollects that the very first bike that he bought was a 1932 model of DKW 3PS RT100, which had only half the parts. “The bike was in shambles when I first spotted it and had only half the parts. It weighed about 50 kg and was one of the very few bikes that had a hand gear. It was extensively used by the Army during World War I and II,” narrates Venkatadri. His next purchase was an RD 350 model. He then went on to buy himself a 350 CC Matchless Military 1948 model, which happens to be one of the oldest marques of British motorcycles and later added a Rajdoot Bobby 1976 model GTS 175 cc, to his already grand line-up. ‘It’s pretty exhaustive to list all of the 42 bikes. Of them, ten are vintage and rest fall under the classic bike category,” he adds.

The avid collector recalls with a sense of nostalgia his association with a 1978 model of a Vijay superbike. “The bike was in a bad condition when I first bought it but when I took it to the original owner, after its restoration, the man’s eyes welled with tears and I still remember how he rode the bike and was happy that it had come into the right hands,” he says. 

Vintage and classic bikes would never escape Venkatadri’s attention. “I managed to collect the best of the vintage and classic bikes from my friends and the contacts that I developed while scouting around for particular models,” he adds.

Venkatadri has two daughters who share his interest for the bikes. “My younger daughter is 13 years old and has ridden some of the bikes. The older one is 19 years old now and rides the regular scooter but hasn’t tried riding the heavier bikes,” he adds. He has no qualms admitting that he shares a strong emotional bond with all his bikes. “I work on the bikes during the weekend because my regular job leaves me no time to do anything else. We have someone who comes and helps us restore and maintain the vintage bikes but I work on the classic bike and restore it as and when required,” he says.

What does he plan to do with all these bikes? “Right now, it is the passion which is inspiring me to add on to my collection. But it would be a hard decision if I have to part with my bikes,” he adds.

(Venkatadri can be contacted on 9448070588.)

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