Virtual online life vs. motorcycles

Stephen Edwards 30.7.2013


Internet check in for flights, on line shopping, home banking, medical results sent to your PC from your doctor, social media, even DNA testing by post and the list goes on. So what do these things have in common?

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There are any number of answers that could fit but I have one that not too many may immediately come up with. They are all designed to minimise actual contact and interaction between people face to face. I for one am not a big fan of that premise. Don't get me wrong I appreciate the conveniences and we live in an ever changing world but that does not mean every change is for the better.

This observation has a direct relevance to, what I see as, the overall motorcycle experience. As a young man in the 1980's getting into bikes, one of the integral parts of the lifestyle was centred around the local bike shops. These were, of course, businesses but they were so much more than that to us. These were meeting places where we saw and indeed made, friends with fellow customers and shop workers alike. They were the places of dreams where we could look at the new models we could not afford but aspired to. It was where we bought the gear that we could pay for after much discussion with fellow bikers, as well as the staff. We could touch the goods, try them on, bring in a broken part to ask if they had something like it and so on. The owners, I am sure, at times maybe got fed up with us but they also knew that this was where we spent our money when we saved it up and we were their life blood.

That experience is very rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as more and more small companies have to close their doors due to people buying goods on line because they can save a few Kc. It is easy to have cheap prices when you have an internet shop and no real premises, staff and stock to pay for. It works I suppose and it is the reality of it. There are a few big players who survive and still today, at least generally, bikes are bought in person.

Interesting though that the re-launched Moto Morini had the plan to do only on line sales right from day one. As a wide eyed teenager biking was a wonderful thing to me that has turned into a life long passion. It has given me the best of friends because there were people around at every turn.

It is a terrible shame, I feel, that this is starting to go away as humans increasingly disappear inside screens and who knows where the ultimate destination for this will be? Biking to become an electronic game that will eradicate all the danger, inside a better than life video simulation but worse than that, shall also eliminate all the real people.

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