Motorcycle diaries, now on video

A view of the endless roads that have no name - PHOTO COURTESY: Malavika Ravisubramanian

A view of the endless roads that have no name - PHOTO COURTESY: Malavika Ravisubramanian  

Bengaluru’s bikers hit pay dirt, recording their rides on camera, sharing it on social media and biker forums to give a first-person account.

Whether it is the high of zipping on the highway, weaving between trucks and cars or smoothly climbing up curved roads in the Ghats to catch a sunrise, bikers in Bengaluru are increasingly making videos of their rides. It is the new way to do the motorcycle diaries.

The easiest way to show friends and fellow bikers what they’ve been up to, it is the next step, after the still photography craze.

Strapping on or mounting expensive shake-proof water-proof sports action cameras on to their helmets, bike handlebars, or chest harnesses, these riders set out alone, or in groups, capturing the first-person view of their rides. Sometimes, they use more than one, supplementing it with their phone cameras to offer different perspectives of the same ride.

Telling stories using this video is the ultimate aim, or sharing it with fellow bikers, family and friends.

If you get tired of seeing roads endlessly, some even give you an idea of where they eat, make a pit stop for a coffee break, allow you to listen in to the hum of their bikes, or set the video to music with the edit.

Meet some of Bengaluru’s pro bikers who run communities, have done international overland journeys, or are weekend hobby riders, and listen in on their videography experiences.

Malavika Ravisubramanian

25, German language associate, is from Coimbatore, and works in Bengaluru

Groups: I’m a part of The Bikerni (the first all-women motorcycle association of India) and Lone Wolf Bikers Family, Coimbatore

Bike: I’ve been riding a Yamaha SZ-X 150 cc for the last five years. Right from childhood I had a fascination for machines, and after a very long time convinced my parents to get me this bike.

Filming and photography: I use a Garmin VIRB camera mounted on my helmet or on my bike’s handlebar. I started videographing my bike rides about a year ago. I’ve always been interested in photography, but found that I had to split attention between biking, and then stopping at spots to take pictures. But with this mounted video camera I have a remote control for it on the handlebar, so I can switch on and off as I ride.

I can do still photography with it too as I ride. I don’t share my photos and videos widely. It is only for friends on Facebook and Whatsapp. I’m still getting a hang of editing it.

My favourite rides: Riding from Bengaluru to Goa through the Ghats is great – filming on the curved roads is great and open highways also make for great photographs. I’ve ridden Coimbatore to Goa, Coimbatore to Pune, to Kolli Hills, Valparai, Munnar, Agumbe and in lots of places in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Last year I did a solo ride on the Leh-Khardungla Pass.

Santosh Kumar

40, working fulltime on Motorcycle Travellers Meet (MTM) Grid – a forum of serious motorcycle travellers and adventure motorcyclists

Bikes owned: Honda (city bike), Suzuki DR 350 (for smaller roads and short rides), BMW GS 650 (dual purpose travel bike)

Using cameras for rides since: Last four years

I use: A combination of cameras on the bike handlebars, helmet and on myself. I sometimes use two cameras at once to get different perspectives of the same ride – a combination of a GoPro and an iPhone. GoPros are the most commonly used bike cameras because of their mounts. RAM mounts are also commonly used for motorcycles. When I started off, I honestly had no idea why I was even documenting my rides. These gadgets were available to record your ride and I started collecting footage, but didn’t know what to do with it. But once I started working on the MTM Grid, I started getting a storyline to it. Now I plan what I will record based on what I have in mind.

What I shoot: Now I record sunrise/sunset for time-lapses, eating in restaurants, swipe-out shots. Nobody just wants to see a road being shot – I’ve learnt that over time. Now I’ve invested in better software to process the footage.

My last ride: Was two months ago, where over 15 days I was trying to explore and map smaller roads, and dirt trails in Nilgiris, Munnar, Cochin and surrounding areas.

Giridhar Bhujanga

35, software engineer at Walmart Labs

Bikes owned: I currently ride a Kawasaki Ninja 300, and a Triumph Daytona 675R (a sports bike). I earlier used to own and ride a Yamaha RX-135 and a Bajaj Pulsar 220F.

Riding groups: I’m associated with BRATs (Bangalore Riders Association of Triumph), BURN (Bangalore United Riders of Ninja), and Bangalore Bikers.

Rides I’ve done: I’ve been riding since 2013 to Chennai, Kolar, Ooty, Sakleshpur, Nandi Hills, Mullayyanagiri, Kudremukh, Goa. I ride almost every weekend. Sometimes we friends just ride to the Bengaluru International Airport for a cup of coffee or do night rides to the airport.

Filming my rides: I use a Go Pro camera mounted on my bike or helmet, and I mostly record group rides. I also make videos of bike washing and maintenance.

Once I’m back from a ride, I edit the video within a week, and add a background music track as well. I believe that music makes the video come alive.

I currently have over 25 videos on my YouTube channel

Videos are great because: It is one way to see how the ride was. Pictures do justice to your ride but videos actually capture the good moments.

Arunabh Majumdar

29, mechanical engineer from IIT-Mumbai turned full-time biker

First long ride: Was in 2015 from IIT-Mumbai to Bengaluru on an Activa where I rode the bike along the Konkan coastline covering beaches over 12 days.

Later I rode to Vighakote, a place 700 feet from the Indo-Pak border on a Hero Honda Splendor, and to Leh- Ladakh. I’ve been riding bikes since a decade, but started using cameras only about a year ago. I quit my job in a tech company to ride full time.

I’m living off my savings and will go back to a job once I run out of money.

Bikes: I don’t have a geared bike of my own. I specialise in lower-cc commuter (100 to 150) cc bikes.

I rode from Bengaluru to Bangkok (covering three countries and 7,000 kilometres) in 28 days on a TVS Star City+, a 110 cc bike – This ride termed the "TVS Bangalore Bangkok Moto Run" was fully sponsored by TVS. The preparation and the paper work before the trip took considerable time. It took three months for my bike to be shipped back to Bengaluru after the ride!!

Why cameras: After every ride, I used to travel blog. I’m lazy and the amount of writing to be done is way too huge. No written travelogue can come close to a movie or a photograph. I wanted to document a first person view of my ride, so I started filming. After every major ride, I make an ‘after movie’ for myself. I don’t usually put it on the Internet – I’m not the kind of guy who puts it up on Facebook for likes.

The point of a journey is to discover. My film, which is fully edited, is for my personal consumption, for me to reminisce later in my life when I grow old.

I’ve shot: The north east of India I have documented in its entirety. A Go Pro camera runs at a time for about three hours. I had almost 60 GB of photographs and videos from my Bangkok ride.

I use a Go Pro mounted on my helmet, a phone camera, and sometimes a third HD camera.

Corrections & Clarifications:

This article has been edited for a factual error.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:36:50 PM |

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