Punekars and two-wheelers

Saunved23 Nov, 2016 3 min read

Crazy bike rider
Photo by Atharva Tulsi on Unsplash

Punekars are fantastic drivers. From dodging potholes quicker than one dodges trains in Subway Surfers to going over speed-breakers so fast that you cannot even feel the bump — we are the embodiment of the saying “Ignorance is bliss”.

Every Punekar, irrespective of which bike, scooter, or bicycle they have, drives it like Batman’s bike. Anything that comes in the way is an obstacle.

People crossing the road? Obstacle. Red signal? Obstacle. Big garbage truck in front of you? Obstacle.

We are Pune’s “Batmen”, vigilantes in a city of vigilantes — ever watchful, ever ready to break any rule that defies our logic. Because we are special. (So special that we don’t even need Morgan Freeman to help us out.)

Of course, we cannot “just drive”. Does Batman “just drive”? No. He talks to people, shoots bullets at enemies, and flies on rooftops.

Similarly, an anonymous group in Pune (Established — 1610AD*) has taken up the extremely time-consuming task of spraying tobacco all over Pune’s dividers while riding. These men (and women) have taken the phrase “Paint the town red” to a whole new level.

1610AD* Introduction of tobacco to India by the Portuguese

Sometimes, the Government does its job (sometimes) and repaints the dividers with the standard colors (yellow and black). But our Anonymous group manages to repaint them within a few days. Wouldn’t it have been great if tobacco had been yellow and black in color? You know, just for convenience.

But bike riders are alright. It’s the people who drive cars that don’t know how to drive.

Here are the rules for driving a car in Pune, written by bike-riders aka Batmen:

  1. Never disrespect Batman
  2. Batman is allowed to cut you off in traffic
  3. Batman will always take the faster lane. You should drive on the sides
  4. If Batman hits your car — you will pay for all damages (and take a public beating if you are rude about it). Additionally, read Rule 1.
  5. If Batman hits your car, it will always be your fault irrespective of what happened. Additionally, read Rule 1.
  6. Batman reserves the right to scratch your car and damage any components.

Car drivers fail miserably at following the above rules. They will always take the fast lane, always curse you when you cut them off in traffic, and disrespect you when you hit them. How is Batman supposed to help such a city then? But when these same car drivers drive a two-wheeler, they become one of Pune’s own Batmen. Every ready, ever watchful. Vigilantes.

Pune has evolved a lot as a city of two-wheelers. In the other cities of India, people usually drive in the same direction in a lane. Punekars have devised a bi-directional lane method, wherein driving in any direction is allowed as long as traffic police are absent. Batman needs convenience for his quick errands — and no lane is small enough to not be divided.

That isn’t all. We have scientifically analyzed the art of driving and created some special driving tactics, such as:

The Bus Block

Consciously riding in front of a bus, blocking its path and asserting your dominance as Batman — because you can

The Divider Kiss

Sneaking your bike in between a car and a divider in order to get ahead faster

The Petrol Push

Helping your friend get to the petrol pump on an empty tank by pushing their bike with your leg while you ride yours and they ride theirs (and blocking an entire lane while you’re at it)

The Turn Recon

Where one person checks if there is a traffic police standing on a sharp turn before taking the turn (and then the other Batmen follow)

Empathy Parking

Double parking in such a way that the bikes in front of you can squeeze out if they really want to

Driving in Pune is an art. It is a sport, where reaching home alive is considered the highest form of achievement. We have achieved perfection in our art form, created a culture out of it, and revolutionized the simple task of “riding a bike”.

We are Punekars. We are Batmen.