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.