Man and machine Motoring

Motovloggers: Influencers on the go

On March 4, about 60 bikers from a Kawasaki Versys group went on a ride from Bengaluru to Shettihalli, which lies in the Greater Bangalore metropolitan area. As the machines roared down a winding, sandy stretch towards the Shettihalli Rosary Church, a 19-century structure redolent of Gothic architecture, there was a mishap. The soft sands had caused the tyres of a Versys to lose traction, resulting in the fall of the motorcyclist as well as the pillion rider. As this motorcyclist was recording this ride with an action camera, the terrible tumble was captured.

Following the ride, the motorcyclist, Bulu Pattanaik, uploaded a video ‘How I crashed my Versys today’ on hisYouTube channel Bulu Biker. Eighteen hours after he had uploaded it, I viewed the video, and there were nearly 16,000 views and over 300 comments. In the video, which includes a clip of the accident, Pattanaik explains what saved him and his wife, who was riding pillion. Both of them were togged up in riding gear. He drove home the necessity of riding gear not only for the motorcyclist but also for the pillion rider.

Drive responsibility

Pattanaik has an impressive following. As on March 5, 2018, he has 49,148 subscribers on his channel. He sees himself as a ‘social influencer’ and is aware of the responsibilities that go with being one. When I get in touch with him, he talks about how motovlogging can be a tool to educate bikers on good and safe biking behaviour.


“There are young greenhorn bikers watching your posts. So, motovloggers have to be conscious even of the unspoken messages their vlogs may be sending out to these impressionable kids. We have to make sure that we are not promoting speeding through our posts. Good motovloggers edit content, and in the editing process, remove anything that may cause young immature bikers to try out something that will put them out of their depth,” says 36-year-old Pattanaik. Motovlogging is generally associated with commentary-based videos of rides through scenic places, motorcycling techniques, modifications and demonstrations of equipment such as action cameras. It has a wider scope though, much of which remains unexplored.

“It can help draw attention to issues that you want government agencies to address. Sometime ago, in Bengaluru, there was a ban on helmets that didn’t come with an ISI certification. While this move, called ISI-helmet rule, was aimed at keeping substandard helmets out of circulation, it ended up keeping out imported helmets that were as good or better than ISI-certified helmets. This anomaly was pointed out by motovloggers. The rule was later withdrawn,” says Pavan Kumar Reddy, who rides a Suzuki Gixxer and hosts his motovlogs on YouTube channel GixxerCruza.

Reddy’s YouTube channel has a modest following; he says once he gains more subscribers, he will highlight traffic problems and function as an influencer.

Besides traffic issues, motovloggers can also focus on poor and badly-maintained infrastructure. As motorcycles can enter narrow streets, they have the ability to call attention to the poorly maintained roads, pedestrian pathways and similar issues.

Earning its keep

“Once you reach 10,000 subscribers on your YouTube channel, the scope for advertising goes up. Besides the advertisements YouTube places on your videos, there is affiliate advertising,” says Pattanaik, who runs two start-ups and also has revenue flowing in from motovlogging, through brand associations.

The number of professional motovloggers is on the increase, across the world.

As the community is well-networked through online resources, the profession is bound to grow. I do hope it goes beyond reviews though, and sees the birth of a new category — ‘professional motovloggers for civic awareness’.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 6:51:42 AM |

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