“Ride for women safety”, “Ride against child abuse”, “Ride against poverty”, “Ride against corruption”, “Ride against cancer”, “Ride against……..”.
This blog is a my view about such rides and why I keep myself away from all this. Disclaimer: This is my individual belief. My club still ropes in such rides, but I don’t attend it personally. If you feel disgusting, my apologies – I really don’t care!
Due to advent of many performance motorcycles in India, many biking clubs have grown exponentially in the past 5-10 years. Being closely associated with motorcycles and travelling, I time and again stumble upon plethora of upcoming and established biking clubs in India and elsewhere. I love when motorcyclists becomes riders and eventually talk really high about their clubs with pride.
Mentality of Indian youth have widened incalculably since past 1 decade. Various social matters and causes are now being conversed very highly, thanks to social network sites. Now, motorcycle clubs are not only limited to meets and rides, but they have started inculcating working on social issues to change their stance in the society. I know many biking clubs including my own club (www.indiabullriders.com) who vowed to become better bikers & responsible riders so that society do not associate bikers with hooligans but considered as “just-another-normal-human-being” who rides a motorcycle.
Ride for point A to point B for a cause – What are we proving?
Today, you join any biking network on facebook and you will get invites for at least 1-2 “riding for cause” events in a month. All you need to do is assemble at a place, get the initial briefing (which 90% of people do not care to listen), start from point A, end the ride at point B and ……. That’s it!
3 years back, I had attended one of such rides that was organized by few bullet riding clubs. One of their preferred mechanics died because of cancer. Ironically, I still don’t remember what was the exact reason for his death as I was getting different opinions from different people. He didn’t have enough money to take care of his medical expenses. Most of the bikers were moved by his demise and wanted to spread awareness.
So, one Saturday morning I was informed by one of my club members that there is this ride to spread “some kind of awareness”. My first questions was – “What happened?” to which he didn’t have any clue. The only motivating factor for us to join the ride was, we have had never done such thing before. So 5 of us reached BKC next Sunday morning to see around 40-50 more bikers, half of them smoking like chimney with banners in hand that read “ride against cancer”…. interesting, indeed! We all were briefed by some senior riders of other clubs, each trying to put across their opinions and desperately waiting for the others to shut-up. Within next 10 minutes, we were told to kick start and push off to the destination. “What’s the destination”, I asked my friend. “Let’s follow the tail”, he advised.
So we rode blocking 2 lanes of the highway at an average speed of 50-60kmph. I loved how the ride was going on as it is a sheer pleasure to watch series of bullets in 2 lane formation and the onlookers envying the pack. After a ride of around 30 kms, we reached a narrow lane that lead us to a church near Kandivali. There was a big ground outside that church where each club marked their parking lots. Soon the smoking chimney shot off and I turned to my friend asking “Now what? Was he a Christian?”. My friend was now confused, he tried to inquire and was told “Don’t you know this is a ride to spread awareness about under privilege children. This is an Orphanage dude!”. We heard another biker talking his buddy – “Fuck man, it is so hot out here. Tanning ho gayi hai mujhe. Isse acha Lonavala nikal jaate ride-shide ke liye” (as if Lonavala air has special anti-tanning formula!)
Anyways, I decided to push off immediately as I couldn’t relate to cause. What are we proving here? A few days later, I asked Robbie (co-founder of IBR) that why the hell we should attend such rides. Ride for cause is not about moving your machines in formation from point A to B. Women will not feel safe if we ride, they will feel safer if we move our royal ass out of the saddle and stand up against the atrocities happening in front of us. A child need care, love and affection and riding 10 kms away, do not make any connection. There are orphanages & schools being run by local bodies (not even supported by any NGO) in remote areas and we are still concerned about skin tanning…WOW! You puff a cigarette at point A and blow it out at point B, but the placard saying “cancer awareness” in your hands will always look weird.
It is better to be directly associated with the needy. It is much better to work directly to irradicate the undesirable stuffs. It is way better to become a better human being. It’s best not to ride, save on fuel expense and donate it to one who needs it more.