Stunt Riding: What it Takes? An Aspiring Professional’s Guide

Expert Speaks | 10 Jul 2020

Expert Speaks: Road Safety Discourse – Oggy F

Motorcycle: A basic necessity

My story with motorcycles started out of necessity.  It took me an hour or more every day to reach home post office hours.  Company policy stated that men would be the last to be dropped when they share a cab with other employees.  It started to prick me that I could utilise this time to do something more productive.  That is when I thought of purchasing a motorcycle, which aided my first escape and that’s how two-wheelers entered my life.

The story surrounding two-wheelers started to come into the picture after I realised that it wasn’t safe to ride in a city where an accident or a roadside death was of no one’s concern.  With zero riding knowledge whatsoever, I taught myself to ride a motorcycle, with the help of a lot of friends and with numerous riding tutorials around our football ground.  The ritual included numerous trials of going in circles to get the balance right and to get accustomed to the whole concept of riding two-wheelers, which was new to me.

OggyF Vlogs:

Following people on social media who were creating content to bring forth instances of reckless driving in their area, was an idea which struck my head.  I started to record my rides from home to the office and while on my way back.  Eventually, it dawned upon me that there wasn’t much to be done on my part, as there are reckless and ignorant riders everywhere.  The only effort I had to put in was that I had to be there with my camera at that point in time.  Formerly, people who visited my page acknowledged it as a ‘crash compilation’ show.  Also, back in the day, I was yet to get the hang of editing and sound mixing.  I was never after ‘views’ as that wasn’t my ‘agenda’ behind investing this whole time into it.  I just wanted to showcase what it is like out there, what’s wrong, and what shouldn’t be accepted.  Later, I started to add some humour to the story and started the ‘Bad Mumbai Drivers’ series.  Becoming famous or attracting more viewers was not, and still is not my motto.  I wish to be helpful to people in any manner possible.

What role does riding motorcycles play in your life?

It is my escape from the monotony of work life.  Unlike some other Youtubers, I do have a 9-5 Job.  Off the screen, I work as a business trainer and as an Instructional Designer.  To me, motorcycling gives me my own time.  It allows me to catch up with my friends over the weekend. Also, the ride down to my workspace and back are the two things I look up to every day.

After uploading various videos, did you ever consider Vlogging as a career?

I am sort of an introvert, to be honest.  Sharing my personal life over social media is the last thing I would want to do every day.  Back in the day, when my girlfriend and I were on a vacation in Singapore, I asked her to smile for the camera and that was the time when she urged me to put it away and asked me to enjoy the moment with her.  It was then that I realised I didn’t want to do this for the long run! I realised back then that the expectations of my audience were never going to end.  It is for us to decide where to stop.

Tell us about the most exciting riding destination you have ridden to

The most exciting riding destination for me will be Amboli ghat.  There are a lot of factors surrounding the story, but among all, Amboli ghat was the first hilly section which amazed me with its fantastic views.  It was the first mountainous section we rode through, on our way to Goa.  Over the years, I have ridden through that place more times than I can remember.  The memories from all these rides and the emotions felt as one belts it through the corners will stay with me forever.

On the road or off the road? Why?

Clearly, it will be the roads.  I haven’t ridden off the road many times and for the times which I did, it was scary.  Although off-road riding teaches you a lot and it did help me ride my bike on the road better, it will be the ‘roads’ for me.  Well, at least until I start enjoying the ‘off-roading’ bit.

Trackdays or touring?

I’ve made millions of memories riding down to events on a motorcycle, accompanied by friends from across the country.  Touring gives you some me-time; it gives you these special moments with your ride.  It lets you bond with the machine and enables you to be in the moment.  Track days for me have always been about getting better.  On the track, I’m working on my numbers and it’s more of a process in which I’m trying to learn something new. Whereas while touring, I can do things at my own pace.

What is your vision towards creating new content?

I started to create content surrounding motorcycles, as I thought it was a necessity considering the nuisance caused by ignorant riding styles of those on our roads.  The one thing I always try to do is to make the video informative.  Whenever a viewer finishes watching my video, the idea is for him or her to take away something new.  If experienced riders are watching, then they are reminded of the facts which exist.  Whether it’s traffic rules or essential maintenance tips while touring on a motorcycle, I try to keep some sort of information in there. Apart from facts and figures, I try to reach out to the audience in the simplest possible way.  Working my way with the audio-visuals, I also go through all the analytics Youtube has to display.  This data helps me understand where I drop the audience in the videos.  It helps me find out the reasons behind it and allows me to have a better understanding of my audience.

What are your thoughts about the post-lockdown riding scenario? What will change, and what should be avoided?

Everyone will have to be cautious, considering the halts will change due to the closures caused by the pandemic.  We will have to carry our refreshments and our own garbage bags. We have to be careful about the way we ride.  The last thing we want to do is to stress our medical staff even more and risk entering the premises of a hospital due to some silly riding mistake.

What will be your advice to upcoming vloggers, with regards to content?

I think for the creators, it remains crucial to understand the platform that they are going to be a part of.  Youtube helps you with making videos in context to editing the media, adding background scores, and until the very last detail, you wish to add.  Creators first need to understand what makes them unique.  They should first set up and run their own themes. Understand editing, including the lights and sound mixing.  Apart from all this, be prepared for the haywire comments to be dropped in the comments section.

Once you have ticked all the boxes, go for it.  Don’t start by creating a channel first but prepare yourself to the best of your potential and then create your page.  Most importantly, be unique in what you do, and your audience will be true to you.

Your best memory around motorcycles?

It was back in 2014, my first ride from Mumbai to Goa, where I was attending a motorcycle fest. I was accompanied by a friend who was shooting a feature with his 1000cc motorcycle.  Back in the day, I used to ride a 150cc motorcycle.  Along the way, I used to lag behind and caught up while they were shooting or were at a halt.  It was a never-ending journey as it took us almost 14 hours to reach Goa.  Never mind the hours, as that has to be my best motorcycling memory.

The most embarrassing moment around a motorcycle?

It happened when I took my first motorcycle to the washing centre to get it cleaned.  After it was ready and all dried up, I hopped into the saddle and tried to crank it up.  There was no response from the motor, so I felt that maybe there was some water clogging the jets.  After a prolonged wait, I took the bike to a nearby mechanic and shared what was wrong with the bike.  As I tried to start the bike again, the mechanic switched on the engine kill switch and boom! The engine came to life! I still take all my motorcycles to the same service station and the fellow mechanic walks up to me, every time, just to turn on the kill switch and we have a good laugh over it! Among all the memories, this has to be the most embarrassing for sure!

ADVs or Super nakeds?

Although I don’t own one, yet, my preference will always be for ADVs. Considering the condition of roads in our country, ADVs come in handy and also offer high compatibility with all kinds of terrain.

One important thing which you always carry during a ride?

There are dozens of things to be carried during a motorcycle ride, but for me, the one thing I consider essential has to be a power bank.  Being miles away from your home and while riding in unknown territory, it is important to stay connected.  The last thing you will wish for is that your phone’s battery runs dry in the middle of nowhere! Considering that fact that I am recording for a good part of the ride, one of my camera batteries is always charging while I drain the others while recording.

Also Read: Cornering and Foot Position: A Guide to be in Control

How do you manage your commitments towards your family while delivering your social presence?

My work hours are scheduled at least a month prior.  Also, I’m never really in a hurry to upload videos.  I work on my videos at my own pace.  My family is spread across perimeters, although we still catch up every weekend over a video call and discuss our whereabouts.  My family time is never really compromised as my time commitments are well spaced.  Also, supporting the fact that I work from home whenever I can, it helps me maintain a healthy balance between the two.

Favourite road-side eatery?

Narona’s Corner, Goa, India.

Favourite road-side dish?

Butter chicken.

The most important piece of advice you ever got about riding? And from whom?

Of all the learnings I’ve picked up over these years, the best advice came from two guys.

Sagar Sheldekar: He taught me how to benchmark to get a clear idea of things.  It felt right, considering influencers nowadays come up with conclusions saying ‘this bike offers the best braking in its class and this offers the best handling’, etc.  With a benchmark in my mind, it helps me compare and understand motorcycles better.  This score helps to draw precise conclusions and allows delivery of honest reviews.

Varun Painter: He told me how one should never give up his or her credibility for a brand.  And how important it is to stay true to the audience and take on campaigns which are worth your and your audience’s attention.

This was pretty wise in terms of advice, as over the years, I’ve been approached by a variety of brands, of which, I’ve only associated with a few whom I felt were worth my audience’s time.

Also Read: Expert Speaks: Fitness of the Fast – Harith Noah

Favourite music genre while riding?

  • Rock
  • Acoustic Rock
  • Trap Music

Mountains or Beaches?

Beaches aren’t my thing as even when I end up on one; I never really get into the water or go swimming.  Mountains are my thing.  The sheer beauty and the views while being surrounded by towering peaks gives me peace of mind.  It makes me realise how small I am and each time they surround me, I sit down for a while and fill my heart with tranquility as I reflect on life.  Unfortunately, I haven’t ridden to Ladakh, yet, although the opportunity to go there this year did present itself.  But guess what? This pandemic has postponed it for good now!

How can we educate people more about road safety?

We can use social media to educate content creators and viewers to create and watch more sensible content.  Considering the vast number of people who now have access to the internet, if we create more responsible content, we’ll eventually see the change.  A few years ago, if people posted a picture where they are riding without a helmet, they’d get a lot of likes and supporting comments.  Today, you won’t get away with it without being called a “squid” or “chhapri”.  At the end of the day, what we see more of on social media is a representation of what the social media algorithm thinks we (actually) want to watch more of.  So if we, as content creators and viewers create as well as view more sensible content, the change will take place a lot quicker and our daily commutes won’t seem like a round of PUBG.

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