A rider sees a motorcycle and can imagine all the adventure that comes with it. Bike rides have always been associated with a sense of adventure. A lot of this thrill comes from the level of risk involved on a two-wheeler. This risk and thrill adds a sense of adventure even to the otherwise mundane daily commute.
Bikes are not just a means to travel, it is the extension of the rider’s personality. The way one likes to keep their bike tells us about the person. Some like it to the book, a factory fitted bike; some prefer to add their own ring to it with modifications. Some like to get it fixed, others prefer to work on their own bikes. Pretty much like having a tattoo as an extension of your being. And when it comes to expressing yourself honestly, no one does it better than the Gen-Z.
What the US War Veterans did in the 1940s by forming biker groups and modifying their bikes, the millenials and Gen-Z are doing now in our country. The Indian likes of Rajputana Customs have inspired other passionate bikers to put a bit of their personality on their bikes with its displays in India Bike Week and Auto Expo 2010.
Zoom of The Bike Boom
India had already started to adopt bikes over scooters in the 90s. When legends like the RX100 and Splendor were new in the market, they became a much more viable option of transport over scooters with their superior fuel economy and handling. But, the Millennials and Gen-Z were still growing up and the bikes were still far from starting a national trend of being our travel companions.
With the dawn of the 21st century, factors started aligning to be the launch pad of the motorcycle boom. In the past two decades, the highways have gotten better, channels like Youtube have empowered bikers to share their stories, GoPro, body armor and helmets are now readily available, and at the center of it all — better thumpers.
With a wide variety of bikes in the market, now it was not just a means of daily commute, it became a reflection of personality. You can have cruiser bike so you view the surroundings; a bike which is quick if thrilling speed gets your adrenaline pump through your blood; or an adventure bike if you like to get off the road; and at all points you can change it to go with your vibe, the way your passion drives you, change it to the way your boAt floats. Now commuting the highways on a two-wheeler was a lot safer. The Boomers used a two-wheeler out of economic compulsion, but the Millennials and Gen-Z chose the bike to be their travel partners for the sheer bliss that comes with riding.
“I have no strings on me”
While riding, you feel everything that you pass through, interacting with the environment at every moment as the engine thumps under your seat and cities get smaller. And let’s admit it, whether we hate it or like it, we cannot help turning our heads whenever a bike with any kind of substantial sound zooms past us.
But what makes the bike ride special and different? There is Highway Hypnosis, your back hurts, generally bike crashes are way more fatal than a car crash, and a ton of other challenges that come with a long bike ride. Why does a 20-something choose to risk a highway ride on a bike?
For one it is the sheer sense of freedom that comes with a bike. Biking is a liberating experience. While being on their machine, taming their beast as riders leave cities behind, they also forget the everyday stress of life. It does not stop at just that; it is the wind on your face, the smells of the country that enters your being as you pass through.
The bike gives a route of expression not just through the way it looks, but also through giving an option of adopting a style of travel. Rather by making biking your lifestyle. The bike is not limited to the schedule of the bus, train or plane that one books. Riders can follow their own schedule, move at their own pace, stop where they wish to stop, and choose to enter the landscape which would otherwise be admired from afar. This style of travel offers the liberty to detour as one wishes.
This experience is not limited to oneself. There is a whole subculture of bikers who capture their journey and share it. With the boom of the internet, Youtube and GoPro, some Millennials and Gen-Z have made vlogging a bike ride as a means of their bread and butter. Starting with juggling a day job and editing vlogs on the weekends, using expensive equipment, motovlogging is an expensive hobby. But, the rewards are not just monitory, the motovloggers make their viewers their pillion, getting them a first person account of their thrilling journey. It gets them a bumpy road to online fame, they help people select bikes based on their reviews, some do it for a cause, and at last they get some kind of a monetary benefit out of it.
Not being part of the herd, lets one make their own story. It lets you interact with the communities you visit. You can explore spots which a planned tour will not allow you to explore.
Riding gives you the feeling of having control. The only thing controlling you are the speed limits and stop signs. You have an open road ahead, and all the time to yourself. One can choose to share the journey, either in the form of a story, or with a travel companion. What food to eat, packing it from the base camp, choosing a touristy restaurant, or stopping at a place where the locals eat - you get to choose what happens throughout. At any point it gives you all the choices and that makes the journey more rewarding than the destination.
So saddle-up and get going! Dug dug dug or vroom, #DoWhatFloatsYourboAt.