It’s the same old story.
Every time I write one of those articles criticizing the Indian motorcycling scene, and after it has gone viral, I ask myself “What the hell was the point?”. One of the most disturbing aspects about the articles is the fact that I rarely ever get any arguments against my positions.
It is impossible that everything I say is correct, my attempt is always to light a fire, add some fuel to it, and watch the cities burn. What I end up with are fucking slumber parties around the fire, people strumming guitars, stroking each other, and me.
It’s pathetic, it’s too nice, I feel like a hippie. A conversation that doesn’t make you uncomfortable is seldom one worth having. I’m a troll who seems to bring out the best in people. If I was Littlefinger, Lannisters and Starks would have been BFFs for life.
Is it the way I write? I always imagined my style should make abusing me easy, I mean I would do you in a heartbeat, but it looks like the effect is negative, people are either afraid, or they think I don’t care. In any case it’s just sad, I need more readers to disagree with me more.
I have never been mentored by an editor, have always written without any rules, and rarely ever read any other Indian writer’s articles. I live in a hole, I need to be pulled out, not given Playboys and lube.
Even though my article didn’t manage to start a meaningful discussion, I had plenty of conversations inside my head. The most obvious one was about me being Sherlock fucking Holmes. What I write about isn’t a mystery to anybody, they can all see that something is wrong in our motorcycling ecosystem. My only achievement is being able to express those thoughts in words, something others don’t do because they’ve got better things to spend their time on.
It’s easy to shout “Fire! Fire”, the hard part is getting a hose and running towards it. In this article, my attempt is to piss a little on the burning train that is our world of motorcycling. Will it help put out the fire? No. But I’ll get to say I tried.
One of the main points of this article was the fact that the people brands and PR agencies think are influencers, are actually the sort of dickheads that genuine bikers despise and laugh at. These celebrities are just an awkward phase in the life of their teenager followers. Their influence is meaningless.
If you want to sell a laser-guided missile to a shark, it doesn’t make sense to market it to a bunch of sheep.
The obvious question that flows out of this fact is, who are the people brands and PR agencies should go to? Below is a list of the sort of people I would have chosen if I was in marketing, and I did work with some of them when I was.
This list is limited, I am not on any other social network except Facebook, and even there I don’t have a lot of friends. I am careful about accepting requests, and those who I follow, I follow genuinely.
It is important to understand that most of the people in this list will not accept any assignment from a brand or PR agency. There could a number of reasons for that:
- They ride for pleasure, not for likes
- They do not want to be told what to say/do
- They do not have the time to deliver what’s expected
- They would rather keep a low profile
- They couldn’t give a shit
All I’m trying to show is that these are the kind of people who actually influence motorcycle buying decisions in our country, they are the thought leaders, with real power and reach to the right crowd. If you are into marketing, and you want to target the audience that has the will, experience, and money to buy your products, these are the kind of people who get it done.
I have attempted to segregate the influencers into groups, based on their field of specialty. I will obviously miss quite a few people worth mentioning, either because I don’t know them, or because there isn’t enough space.
These are the people who do a bit of everything, they are like the grand old wizards of our ecosystem, like a bunch of Gandalfs on motorcycles. Their main power is not their public social media following, but the network they have of real, tangible humans, the network they have developed over years.
1. Varad more
I’ve only met him twice, in Pune and Hyderabad, and whenever you are close to him you can hear the Godfather theme in the background.
2. Sachin Nair
One of the few people in this list I’ve actually ridden with, I have talked about him extensively in the past, and will keep doing so in the future.
He’s the guy behind Store4riders, and Motohive.in, with the latter being probably the only Indian automotive website I ever visit.
I have talked about him in the past, have worked with him when I was in marketing, and look up to him for all things practical.
I’ve worked with him on a few projects as well, this dude can deliver, and deliver well.
The owners of Let’s Gear Up and the TBG brands, they have their fingers in retail, manufacturing, and track riding, among other things.
These are your travel specialists, riders who’ve roamed around the country, and in some cases the world. When someone’s thinking of a long-distance motorcycle trip, these are the sort of people they approach to get advice.
Has ridden from India to UK on his 390, is planning to ride the Americas now, and is one of a kind rider in our motorcycling scene.
Vir Nakai and Harsh Man Rai have a significant following everywhere, create stunning pictures, and know all the right people.
He’s always gone somewhere, Sri Lanka most recently, and manages to make videos out of his adventures too, something I’m yet to do.
Who doesn’t know Mojo Baba, the man with a butt made of actual iron, connections with all the right brands, he’s even doing tours now.
I once messaged to ask her to eat more and ride less, she responded by planning an expedition to Antarctica or something.
6. Om Vaikul
True Wanderer winner, photographer, writer, his photo has been stolen by every single Ladakh tour operator.
I use Youtube primarily as a source for crash videos, Hitchslaps, and science stuff, I do not like creating videos about motorcycles, and I do not follow most Indian video creators. Those I do are below.
I met him once, at IBW of all the places, and realized he’s only slightly less awkward around people than I am.
One of the rare Youtubers nowadays who spends more time pointing his camera to the road rather than himself.
People have risen from their graves to comment on my Facebook post to check out this guy, I have subscribed, you should too.
These are your experts in both on and off-road racing, people who do national championships, Raid de Himalayas, Baja 1000, and everything in between. More importantly, most of these people give back to the community in one way or another.
He’s ridden the Baja 1000, runs trackdays, has a workshop, organizes tours, and kicks ass.
A bunch of sexy people with real track experience, who are using it to promote the sport, while having a bit of fun on the side.
All I ever see him doing are wheelies in sand, on a bright orange KTM, oh and participating in rallies.
Been following her adventures for a while, the amount of things she’s done scares me sometimes, her future plans are scarier.
He’s everywhere, racing, teaching, posing, and knows how to look good at all 3.
These people are hard to categorize, they have a niche of their own, and a very specific niche at that. I’m sure there could be a lot more people here than I’ve mentioned, but I don’t know a lot of people.
If you want wallpaper style pictures of your products on frozen Ladakh lakes taken in the middle of winter, he’s your guy.
He is a racer, he’s a businessman, and he owns Slideways Motoranch, I would be more than happy to be just one of those 3.
3. Aniket Das
He has spent time at Kiska, seems to be BFFs with CS Santosh, and is everywhere where the action is, be it Baja or Dakar.
Sometimes when I want to add more people to my friend list, I go to his profile and send requests to his friends, he knows everyone.
Dude on a scooter who can’t seem to stop going to Ladakh, and doing dhaba meetups.
This is the guy least likely to accept any marketing projects, he only rides cycles, and he’s a little bit insane.
One of the guys behind MTM, and a bunch of other interesting projects, he works from the shadows like a Ninja.
I forgot to mention him, I shall now use a rusty table spoon and commit ritualistic suicide with it.
If someone as friend-challenged as me could find all these people just on one social network, I find it hard to believe that people who do this for a living have a tough time looking them up. Yes most of them will not take your breadcrumbs, but that’s precisely what makes them real influencers.
The total followers of all the people I’ve mentioned here would probably be less than Mumbiker Nikhil’s subscribers, but the tiny distinction is that their followers don’t have to beg their daddies to buy them a pack of gum.
If you know someone who’s influenced you but isn’t in this list, tell me.