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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Royal Enfield adventuring in New York

Andrew Park and wife Megha ride through Times Square.

What is it like to ride a Royal Enfield in New York City? Not surprisingly, it is an adventure, according to one Enfield owner. Surprisingly, he also says it's fun to have an Enfield in the city.

You'd expect complaints about taxis, potholes and world class traffic. That is not what you hear from Andrew Park.

He is a resident of Tudor City, a historic apartment complex on the east side of Manhattan, near the United Nations headquarters. He is also a doctor in a busy emergency room in the Bronx, but he is not a jaded New Yorker. Park moved to the city from Kansas just five years ago, with wife Megha, to finish medical school and start his residency.

That's about when he first saw a Royal Enfield -- but not in New York City.

"My first encounter with an Enfield was during my first visit to India in 2003 when I rode my wife's uncle's Enfield in a small village. I was captured then when I rode through a school-yard full of kids and they all got up out of order and started yelling and waving. I felt like I was in a movie," Park recalls.

"Then in 2004 I decided to buy a motorcycle and with the encouragement of my father-in-law Sonny, native of Bangalore, I imported a 2004 Royal Enfield Bullet Classic 65. My wife named him 'Enfie' and the name stuck. I bought my wife and me similar helmets and we were set for endless future adventures in the city.

"We would travel to our favorite places in style. We went to the Lower East Side to Pink Pony, to Nolita, to Cafe Habana, to the Upper East Side where we first lived to a café called Beanoccios, and a little French place in Murray Hill called Penelopes. Sometimes we would just drive through Times Square and remind ourselves that we were living in New York City."

Then, in 2005, Park, his father-in-law and Park's best friend from medical school did a 10-day motorcycle trip over 1,000 miles across the soaring mountains of Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh in India.

"It was a trip of a lifetime," Park said. "It would also solidify my loyalty to Enfields and add a richness to my owning an Enfield.

"Since then I have continued to ride my motorcycle in NYC with pride and joy. I literally enjoy every minute of it. I love the way it looks; I love the way it sounds; and I love how every time I take it out, I get at least one comment or question about what kind of bike it is or how they haven't seen an Enfield for years!"

Park said his Bullet has been shot by fashion photographers posing glamorous models next to his classic looking motorcycle.

"Riding around in NYC it seems no matter where you go you encounter people who appreciate your ride: young hipsters who see a vintage bike style, Indian cab drivers who always pull up to me at stoplights and tell me 'I have the same motorcycle in my country!' and the old people who have traveled and … recognize an Enfield. I feel honored."

Park is selling his Enfield, but "I do have my eye on a 2008 Black Deluxe Royal Enfield!"

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