With the increased popularity of riding bikes, there are several motorcycle groups on social media which facilitate knowledge sharing and promote a community feeling within biking enthusiasts and whoever might be interested in the same. To get more insight in to this, Wheelstreet, in a series of articles on biking, asked Mickey, a seasoned Royal Enfield rider who has covered many roads throughout India to share his views about social media and riding experience of many years.
Wheelstreet: Our take on that biking groups is that more and more people are posting and sharing knowledge about their routes and journeys. According to you, do you think they’ve done a good job in bringing together the riding enthusiasts while synergising the concept of riding and biking especially in a country like India?
Mickey: Yes definitely. When I started riding, we had no idea because it wasn’t really prevalent at that time and it was difficult for us to know about the destinations we could go to on trips. Nowadays, there are so many groups and so many people riding here and there, you can always see somebody’s rides to some place or the other on their Facebook page and such.
One good feature about these groups is that you come to know about new places and how to approach those places; how to maintain our bikes or how to ride in the daytime and nighttime or during the rainy season. You get to know about where to go and where not to – for example, people riding to Ladakh can now know that whether certain roads are open or closed particularly if a riding group is coming back. It wasn’t like that before.
Previously, it used to be hardcore bikers, the mad fanatic guys who used to just sit on their bikes with no biking gear; with just a helmet and simply head out just because they wanted to ride. But on the flip side it’s a fashion statement now – I know a bunch of guys who have bikes but when you ask them if they’re going to be riding and they’ll say, ‘no, it’s very hot or very cold’ or something alike. It’s similar to anyone who owns a DSLR camera where they will have a photography page.
There are pros and cons for everything. I would say that it has definitely helped in creating small gatherings of bikers or biking fests where you get to see the riders and all the crazy biking they have done responsibly. Hence, this encourages you to ride safely and to different destinations. I would also say that it’s not just about the destination but about the journey as well. I think it’s all about the journey and the destination is just the icing on the cake.
Wheelstreet: That’s great! Do you know a person who has actually come onto Facebook, been inspired, taken a bike and gone on that journey? Do you think that has happened?
Mickey : It happens a lot. I know some people who after the age of 50 have bought a bike and started riding it. I know guys who used to ride rashly but since they’ve ridden with us in a couple of bike rallies, you can see the change. When they see that everyone else is riding responsibly, it prompts them to do the same.
I know a few people who have actually gone out to make that trip extra special. I know an India-born American rider who rode from America to India.
Also, there was one more elderly gentleman, who was I think the Wing Commander in that area, who went to London on his Kinetic Honda.
Wheelstreet: Wait he rode from India to London?
Wheelstreet: How is that even possible?
Mickey: It is, wherever you run out of roads you have to take a ship or something.
Wheelstreet: We are following a lot of groups and users on Twitter and Instagram and they’re posting some great stuff. Then you have something called food rides and such.
Mickey: For many years there’s this group called DBBR – Delhi Bikers Breakfast Run, and this is what we do. They started this concept and now most of the riders will meet up in the morning at say 5 o’clock and go somewhere and you have 200-300 riders going to a dhaba and having breakfast and depart from there only.
Wheelstreet: Exactly, and they post on social and it’ll be like a different thing altogether. That is something very interesting. So apart from food and female riders, what do you think is the next upcoming thing?
Mickey: The next upcoming thing, I would say is more towards riding outside India like Bhutan, going to Thailand. We have rode to the interesting places in India, but of course there are still many places that are unexplored. Countries like Bhutan are beautiful places with brilliant rides. One can go through the North East and keep going ahead to Myanmar and Thailand and so on which aren’t very far from here. That is one thing and then again if you’re renting bikes or bike tour groups.
I had a friend who was 50+ and was staying in Goa with his wife when he suddenly passed away due to a brain haemorrhage. He was planning to do a ride with motorcycles along with RVs and trucks only to attract foreigners where if they got tired, they can go and sit in the trucks and have beers whilst another rider would take the bike and keep on riding. So that’s also coming up.
Wheelstreet: Obviously if you go on to Google and you search for motorcycle forums you get a great deal of information on that, like what’s the new upcoming thing. So do you think that it’s enough to keep everyone posted or do you feel you need to go to forums separately to find out what’s going on? What’s your take on that?
Mickey: People who are avid readers on social media, keep posting such stuff that this is happening here and this is happening there, this new model is coming up and the specifications of the model, that is there. Social Media won’t go down because it is booming and honestly in India we need to have more and more bike shows where we can have a firsthand experience of the bike and how it looks and everything.
This article is brought to you by Wheelstreet – India’s first bike rental platform.