Social Media and the Motorcycle

It struck me today how Motorcycling has changed drastically with the increasing popularity of Social Media, and the massive influence it’s had on the lifestyles of Motorcyclists.


30 years ago when I was a new rider, you would be lucky to organize a ride of 3 or 4 mates. Ring round, discuss at work, drop in, get the crew together, was a huge effort to get anything other than a formal MC club to get a ride of more than 5 bikes happening.
In fact when I think back to those days, only the rare MC run or the annual Toy Run ever resulted in large group rides as I recall it.

Now, we have forums like Kiwibiker, and Facebook/Twitter etc spawned a bunch of internet based Social MC’s with Facebook pages.
Suddenly, as noted in a post I made last year there are masses of rides.
Charity events, rides just for the sake of it, groups like Wellington Riders that were at one stage seeing 40+ bikes arrive every weekend for an off the cuff ride to wherever, for whatever, just because they can.

Today I took our lad over to Masterton to spend the evening with his girlfriend and came home via my favorite pub in the Wairarapa, the Gladstone Inn.
As I pulled in a familiar Ducati whooshed past with a wave, it was my mate Mark. The ignorant bugger didn’t stop, carried on, with another bike traveling toward the direction I had just come from.
Wondering if it was who I thought it was, I went inside, had a beer, and hooked into thier WIFI to ‘check in’ on Facebook.

An hour later I get home after carefully negotiating past a dozen rozzers or so looking for revenue, and check Facebook again once inside, and yep, was him. Message recieved ‘saw you leaving the Gladdy…’ (muppet… I was ARRIVING)
And it turns out the bike he was riding with is my old SS750! Thing is, I would never have known my old 750 was under his mates bum but for the Facebook message. And I would never have known it WAS him, I would have been still wondering ‘was that Sifflett?’

Other events like the Fatoi in a few days, FBMC (Fat Bikers Motorcycle Club) was born of the good intentions of Fatt Max, my good mate and superb blues musician, comedian, and entertainer extraordinaire. Its massive now with hundreds of members and 4 regions, one of which I myself am the ‘Pie Minister’.
It would never have grown to this size but for social media, and the regular posting of events on Facebook and the Forum etc. It seems to me, the motorcycling lifestyle almost needed something like Facebook to give us a medium to connect. Once, it was the Kiwibiker website that filled this function and many a decent ride I have had from that source, as well as made heaps of good friend who also ride.

So, my question is…. has Motorcycling been improved by Social Media and all of the connections it makes possible… or has it taken away the unique individuality and small, ‘us 3 mates’ factors to the detriment of our lifestyle? I think the former, but some may feel it’s the latter.

I know the biggest group ride in New Zealands history was organized via mainly web resources, and that was a massive protest against changes to the ACC system. If not for web forums and such, would it ever have got 6000 bikes together?
I think not.

I have met far more bikers through Facebook than through just being a biker, and the friends  I have met through Facebook that are bikers are far closer to me, far more ‘in sync’ friends than those I have met otherwise (but its a cross reference, BIKER + Facebook = instant connection) as opposed to just workmates, old school chums, ex flatmates… of course in context this is purely ‘Facebook Friends’ this categorization refers to.

So my $0.02 – Motorcycling and Social Media, were meant to be. I think its a huge improvement.

Do you?Feel free to leave comments.



6 Replies to “Social Media and the Motorcycle”

  1. Motorcyclists in general always have been a pretty social, gregarious bunch, and social media has certainly fed into this.

    Personally, I think it’s a good thing. I’ve never had as many friends in my life or been as social as I am through Internet, and the imaginary distance and closeness at the same time helps me in particular with my need for social contact/fear of social contact.

    Long live social media and motorcycling. I agree. The two were made for each other.

  2. I find it difficult to argue against the points in this particular blog. I tend to be somewhat disinclined to socialise in the normal sense, however I have met or been introduced to many acquaintances by means of social media of one form or another. Certainly the point regarding arranging or being informed of group rides is very true. As Simon has already said, especially given the natural tendency of motorcyclists to gravitate towards one another in the real world, motorcycling and the cyber world of social media were very much made for each other.

  3. Good one mate as always,
    I have two points of view on this; social media and the motorcycling community and social media generally.
    With regards to the motorcycling community, its fair to say that social media does keep people connected quickly and easily. It can be used to great effect to organise rides and events from a 6 man pootle over the hill to the huge BIKOI a few years back. It also serves as a support network for bike related strife (how do I fix this, how do I replace that, what the feck is that other thing etc), sharing good and bad roads, decent stop off points and destinations, ride stories, biker humour and a whole raft of other things. Yes, its definitely changed the way our community works and on the whole its for the better I believe.
    But, social media generally is working well in destroying the very fabric of human inter action. Sites like Facebook have brought us a whole new mind set revolving around ‘posts’, ‘likes’ and all this other stuff. It has overtaken a lot of what biker mates are about, that is getting on the bikes and going out for a ride. Then, and I find this laughable and somewhat ridiculous, is the necessity for a group of people to stop somewhere, all ‘check in’ and then ‘like’ and ‘comment’ etc….WTF, are you not talking to each other any more????…then the folk who get offended when people such as myself have a slightly negative opinion on their beloved Facebook, it gets taken so, so personal to the point where the term ‘unfriended’ is used….I once tried to have a Facebook Free Friday for the Fat Bikers and the amount of ‘no, you cant do that, what if what if what if..’ bullshit that stirred up confirmed in my mind where the whole internet thing could be taking us.
    Being on the road with a group of real friends is what ignites and maintains our passion for riding. Yes, embrace social media because it does lots of good for us but FFS don’t live your life by it and let it govern basic human sincerities such as friendship, that’s when it all falls down.
    Great blog my mate, thanks for sharing

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