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With shared interested in travel, motorcycles, it was love at first ‘bike’ for this Mamallapuram-based couple

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With shared interested in travel, motorcycles, it was love at first ‘bike’ for this Mamallapuram-based couple


It was their shared love for bikes that brought 33-year-old Joseph Antony and his wife Roshini (29) together. The Mamallapuram-based couple, now married, met through a biking community in Chennai and fell in love. “I’m into bikes and bike trips; I have been exploring different places for about 12 years. Roshini and I started out as friends, and she later got inspired by my Royal Enfield journeys. She hopped on a bike to explore with me,” Joseph said.

Roshini added that they started doing short trips on a motorcycle together. “He works really hard to save money for his family and then some for his international trips. He has always had interesting stories and memories of his trips to share; that is what I liked the most,” she said of her husband.

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Together, they run a quaint little restaurant called ‘Joe’s Café’ in Mamallapuram’s Othavadai Street, which caters to bikers from all corners of the country, who go there for “cappuccino and breakfast”.

Roshini handles the customer service section of the cafe — it gives her the chance to meet other passionate riders. One of their fondest memories of a bike trip together, was to the mighty Western Ghats of South India. “Deep in our hearts we are still ’90s kids,” they said.

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The couple shared their story with indianexpress.com recently: from their courtship that started on social media, to getting married in the pandemic, their memorable trips, challenges faced, travelling sustainably, and the scope for tourism in Mamallapuram, among other things.

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Excerpts:

Tell us the story of your first meeting.

Roshini and I first met each other through a biking community; she got inspired by my travel stories and then got on social media to follow me. We became friends. She, too, loves bikes — both as a rider and as a pillion rider.

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It was this love that led her to me. Initially, we were good friends and then we started falling in love, because we share a good wavelength. What started as friendship, slowly turned to affection and then love, and today she is my wife.

When was Joe’s Café founded? What about it draws bikers from different parts of the country?

It’s been almost seven years now. Joe’s is a quaint and cute little restaurant for foreign and Indian tourists, located in Othavadai Street. On Sunday, bikers from all over the country assemble here to have cappuccino and breakfast. We always discuss rides, talk about bikes and share travel experiences.

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Roshini offered to help me with my customer service, which would give her an opportunity to meet bikers from all over the world and understand their passion for biking more closely.

Do you both travel a lot? What about travelling appeals to you?

We got married one year ago during Covid. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do trips because of it, but after that we managed to do them on my Royal Enfield Himalayan.

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One of our fondest memories of a trip together was when we visited the Western Ghats in southern India. As we both are mountain lovers, we have plans to do more trips up in the north on my motorcycle.

Tell us about one of your most memorable biking trips.

I have covered 10+ countries and in every country, I have beautiful memories. But, my solo trip to Thailand and Laos is my first border crossing.

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My routes from Chiang Rai (Thailand) to Luang Prabang (Laos) — Thakhek, Paske, 4,000 islands — were amazing. I had a good experience inside the deep countryside of Laos, [learning about the] history of Laos and the story of Mekong rivers.

You have biked extensively — what are some of the challenges that you have encountered?

My first road trip was on my Royal Enfield standard 350, through which I learnt a lot of things like doing general checkups, oil change, fixing electrical problems; it’s a comfortable motorcycle for a short and long spin.

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Nowadays, we all travel so easily by using a smartphone, booking a room, using maps and taking pictures.

I did not have a smartphone during my first trip to the north in 2009. Honestly, I had no knowledge about the distance and where to stay. I was not aware of where the fuel station is in the northern mountains and I travelled by asking people about distance and routes.

I always used paper maps. Adding to the extremely-complicated situation, I used my old school laptop to check locations. I had many difficulties while doing my road trips — lack of oxygen, extreme cold sickness, shortage of fuels in some places, but I really enjoyed the experiences.

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Nowadays, travelling sustainably has become important. When you go on bike rides, how do you ensure it?

Travelling or taking a break from your work is always good; it gives you knowledge, self-confidence, trust and good energy.

It’s great to see that so many people are travelling frequently; I see many people who travel on motorcycles in Mamallapuram.

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My advice to people who specifically travel on bikes is: please prepare yourself for a long trip with knowledge of how to ride a motorcycle with skills; respect the rules and regulations, respect the people and the culture and leave every place better.

What about Mamallapuram do you like the best?

Mamallapuram is a global tourist destination. We have people coming in from countries like the UK, USA, Australia, Europe, Japan, South Korea and many other places, so we have a good chance to talk to them about their travel experiences, their culture and such. I also love the city because we have a mix of culture here and also a touch of the countryside, beach, backwater and more. My friends and neighbours are like my family.

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And finally, what future trips are you planning?

I wanted to go on a trip to Mongolia, North Africa and Turkey. I hope I will make some money from my business for my trip, while also hoping the Covid situation sorts out soon.

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