Born to ride: Chief of Eicher Motors on his tryst with the Enfield


Siddhartha Lal, Managing Director and CEO of Eicher Motors, looks back at his tryst with the Enfield

My first set of wheels was a bicycle. Actually, my mum tells me that even before a bicycle, I had a tricycle, and all I used to do was go tearing around the house on it. I barely wanted to walk, I just always wanted to be on that tricycle. So, I’ve always liked being on wheels!

The first motorcycle I ever rode was a Royal Enfield Machismo — that’s what it was called in those days — a chrome red one. It wasn’t mine actually; it was my dad’s bike. This was way back in 1991. I had just finished boarding school and come back to Delhi and joined college. And his bike would be parked outside, so I started by sneaking it out every once in a while.

Then, eventually over time, I sort of just subsumed that motorcycle and it became mine. I don’t think my dad and I ever had that conversation; it was something that just happened. That was when I first began to really enjoy motorcycling.

This love of riding later went big, with events like Rider Mania, which is one of the biggest marquee events that we’ve been doing for a while now. But even that had its beginnings in about 20 to 30 of us just getting together and going for a ride — from different places — and coming to Goa. We later made an event out of it and it’s grown big, but it had modest beginnings.

I’ve never had any motorcycle other than an Enfield. That was my ‘first’ motorcycle, but I’ve never really owned another one. I have never bought a motorcycle in my life. I’ve always borrowed them from the company — and I’ve always returned them, I think.

I thought about it recently, and I found it to be the most uncanny thing: I’ve never actually paid good money to buy a motorcycle. Maybe I’ll do that now, just because I really should own one myself.

As told to Meghna Majumdar


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