The crazy idea of travelling around India came up when Nutty and Willy were travelling from Bombay to Pune on a train, and with their college holidays coming up they decided to approach a moped manufacturer with their idea. They thought it would be a good publicity for the manufacturer and a great adventure for them in their holidays. The five friends then approached Kinetic Engineering, who manufactured LUNA Mopeds, to request five bikes and Rs. 22,000 to travel cross-country, and spread the word about the LUNA TRF PLUS. Their enthusiasm, plan and cost estimates impressed Mr. Arun Firodia, the Managing Director of Kinetic at that time and he agreed to help them.
Willy recalls, how Kinetic not only sponsored the trip and gave them 5 brand new Lunas, but they also provided these free spirited friends with a support team in a Matador van which had a Service Engineer and a PRO from Kinetic all through their journey. The famous five then set off on their journey.
With their journey beginning, these young men travelled around and were assisted by Luna’s dealers all over India. They were even taken to functions and had to share tits bits of their trip which was covered by local press, television and radio. They even had their faces on the popular drink Sosyo’s advertising campaign in Gujarat, which a big achievement.
Sancho recalls how the mopeds were put to the test when the group were going down the slopes of Darjeeling’s tea gardens towards Coronation Bridge Sevoke across the Teesta river. The speed was maximum at 80Kmph and the brakes were failing. They had taken the shorter and steeper to Teesta. This was called the Pankhbari route. It was extremely steep going downhill, with the mountains on one side, and steep fall, on the other.
Willy clearly remembers how the four of them had come to a halt, but Sancho just went past as his brakes were failing and how he(Willy) went after him to help him. Being young they did not learn from their mistakes and continued on their journey with the same brakes.
But all this was not enough adventure. While travelling on the slopes of Nepal Mike drove his bike into a herd of cattle and created quite an uproar by hitting a calf. By this time all had had their share of crashes but Mike always bragged of not having done so. This crash gave us and the others the opportunity of banning him from drinking Coca Cola which as a novelty then as it was not available in India. Willy smiles with nostalgia at the past and says that they had named mikes bike as sir Duke.
On returning to Pune the group received a heroic welcome, and the heat melted the plastic covering on Willy’s bike so he had to ride a substitute bike. They were welcomed by unbelievable crowds, the police escort and media people.
They met Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in Delhi, and rode out of a sand-storm in Rajasthan. They even rode a single bike in Calcutta, 1982. They are 54 years old today, and live in various parts of the globe. Their children are proud as to how cool their dads used to be and even they are happy to tell the world their father’s stories. Although these Lunatix don’t have their bikes anymore, and their lives have changed with time yet their adventurous journey and the story lives on in their memories, stories, old black and white photographs and newspaper cut outs.
Time has passed and they are wiser today, but all agree on one thing and that is whether it was bravery or craziness that led them on this beautiful journey is still unknown to them. Whatever it was, they all agree on one thing that it was one of the most enriching experiences they had ever had. It has given them an everlasting friendship and has helped them to become from carefree youngsters to responsible parents today.