Riding a motorcycle, for a true enthusiast, is like a morning constitutional – your day is simply not complete without one. If you've got to ride then you've just got to ride, come hell or high water.
Fortunately for riders in the UAE, we get very little of the latter here. But there is hell to be gone through in these parts in the form of the summer heat and the sand. Talk about paying a price for your pleasure!
And then there is the fabulous terrain for both on and off road thrills: The smooth-as-baby-skin stretches of tarmac that lay the red carpet out for the right hand to twist away at the throttle, and the endless stretches of dunes for some serious dust-in-the-teeth off roading. Throw in the twisties up Jebel Hafeet and you have perhaps scarcely another country where a biker can have it better.
But ignore the safety aspect and you are more likely to end up admiring the country's medical facilities than its roads – if you are lucky.
Which is why the right kit assumes importance. The same roads that provide such exhilaration on a Ninja ZX-10 would not be averse to giving any rider a serious case of road rash if a mistake at high speeds sent you sliding for a few hundred metres. And those dunes made of fine, powdered sand can suddenly turn hard enough to break a few bones if you took a spill on them without proper protection at high enough speeds.
Kawasaki, one of the Japanese "big four" and consistent makers of the world's speediest bikes, foresaw this and backed up their tantalising range of Ninjas and Councourses with the right sort of safety apparel and protective riding gear. And if their designers can conjure up the kind of bikes that they do, it doesn't take much to turn their genius into making a drab piece of protective riding gear appear like a body suit from some future galactic era.
So we have riding jackets, trousers, boots, gloves, watches, sunglasses, et al, mainly in the signature green that is Kawasaki's own colour just as red is Ferrari's. There is an entire range of clothing and accessories to spice up your riding experience and make it safer for a day at the track at Dubai Autodrome. All stylish enough to wear to a lot of other places, as the riders testify.
"I never ride without my Vulcan II leather riding jacket and gloves," says Sharjah-based civil engineer Chandramouli Neogi, 26, who has been riding a beautiful Kawasaki Vulcan 1600 Mean Streak for a few years now. "Apart from the protection it offers from the weather, it is tough enough to ward off a painful road rash and cuts in case of minor spills that could send me scraping down the tarmac.
"Most of all though, I like the way it makes me look, blending well with my black Vulcan Mean Streak. It gives me loads of attitude and I can even keep it on after I've reached my destination and am off the bike."
Designed to go with their Vulcan series of cruisers, Kawasaki has a range of leather jackets for both men and women, with the fairer sex having further options such as T-shirts and tank tops and riding vests. Functional clothing designed very much with the cult of the cruiser bikes in mind.
Take the word "bad" and combine it with the colloquial term for the human posterior, and you pretty much get the picture of how it's supposed to make you look. Throw in a pair of gloves and an open face helmet and you have the quintessential chopper rider. Safe and stylish.
"Our range of clothing is designed primarily for rider safety and comfort, but anyone can wear it. These are fashion statements with functionality at their core," says Jim Drane, general manager, Kawasaki, at Dubai-based Liberty Automobiles, who opened the emirate's first Kawasaki showroom in Al Garhoud recently.
And the line is not confined to just cruiser riders. For sports bike enthusiasts, Kawasaki has padded jackets, gloves, T-shirts and sweat shirts and of course one-piece leather body suits with knee, elbow and shoulder protection. With a range of matching grand prix quality AGV helmets, you're ready for the track day at the Autodrome.
They say if you're not a cricketer at least try to look like one. With Kawasaki's line of apparel and accessories, whether you ride like the wind or not, looking like world champion Valentino Rossi is within your reach. Until you take the helmet off, that is.