I met Bobbee Singh of Old Delhi Motorcycles last year at the The Royal Enfield Rider Mania 2016. I had gone to Goa to hand deliver the tank I painted for Royal Enfield as part of a collaborative effort for The Fusion Project. You can read about the project with Royal Enfield here – The Fusion projects- With Royal Enfield.
Bobbee is the man behind Old Delhi Motorcycles. They custom build your bike for you! This is the introduction on their Facebook ‘About’ page –
“The Royal Enfield motorcycles have served us for almost 3 generations. There are “ustaads” or maestros of almost every single respective part of this machine. I have had the honour to know a lot of these specialists… scattered all over the country – each one of them is an untold story!
Old Delhi Motorcycles builds each motorcycle with a league of these specialists, and tells their story…for they will soon be gone!”
Bobbee came across as a very gentlemanly and self-effacing person. There was no inkling of the legendary fan following he commands. In fact, at no point did I get to feel from him the kind of obvious reverence those in the biking community have for him. He did, of course, come across as flamboyant with a swagger which is most endearing.
He had a speaking engagement at the event and he spoke about the need for safety while riding a bike. He had been in a horrific accident some years ago and almost lost his left eye. So I am certain his words about riding safe and always wearing a helmet hit home. The second thing that cemented the impression in my mind of a nice guy was the video /movie he showcased. It showed the many people who help him do what he does. Some were old and had been working with him for years. Anyone who can give respect and credit where it is due and speak with reverence for those that came before him has my vote.
We said goodbye over the phrase ‘let’s work together’. I did not expect much to come out of that because well you know how it goes…
Imagine my surprise when a few months later he actually called and said he had a small project for me to do! He was doing a custom build for an expat who wanted a little truck art on her bike. So Bobbee and I got talking, exchanged many notes and WhatsApp messages and images and the rest, as they say, is history. The part arrived via courier and I posted it right back after painting it.
I also found out that in truck art the letter ‘S’ is often painted as a graceful swan to denote an image of calm amidst insane traffic.The swan represebts God, bringing the driver/rider and his passengers a little divine protection. How about that! My evil eye protection is present here as well. Thank you Bobbee for that nugget 🙂 If you look closely enough at the video, right above Old Delhi Motorcycles, the ‘aaram se’ at the top of the piece has a swan for the ‘S’.
We connected over a linked past with Lady Hardinge Medical College in Delhi but that story is for another time.
As you can imagine I had a very small part in the project but it was such a joy to collaborate with Bobbee on this build. I can’t share the entire process but I leave you with a small video we made of my part in it. I hope you like it.