Different kinds of community, centered around different hobbies and social identities, constitute the Chinese mobile internet era. Today, the way people interact with each other is becoming increasingly diverse. In previous issues, we’ve already focused our attention on Chinese Cosers, electric sports players as well as plane model makers. All these people, connected to each other by the same hobby, form various active networks together.
In TMTpost Photo Gallery 035 (Plus Video), we traced a group of Chinese motorcycle riders via WeChat group. In the age of upgraded consumption, Chinese motorcycle riders are also changing. They are becoming younger and younger on average, and most of them pursue a very individualistic lifestyle. Besides, they must be able to afford their hobbies and hold some avant-garde values. With the rise of mobile internet, they no longer need to keep their hobby to themselves.
Instead, they could communicate with people with the same hobby, such as hiking and motorcycle travelling, get into WeChat groups and even hold social activities with the help of internet platforms. To some degree, motorcycle has already transformed from a transportation tool into a medium of people’s spiritual life.
On the one hand, they can ride on their customized motorcycles, dressed in colorful suits, and ride on the road as fast as they like; on the other hand, however, they can be white-collar workers who hold five-to-nine works, artists who live a secluded life or pole dancers who work till early morning…
[Click here to watch the video about the interview with three Chinese motorcycle riders]
Vivi is a pole dancer. She starts work at 10:00 PM, and dances till 02:00 AM. After work, she would go home on a motorcycle. “I used to ride to mountain areas along with my motorcycle friends, but I quit fearing that I might get hurt and not be able to dance anymore. Whether I am happy or upset, I ride motorcycle.”
Vivi’s father is an acrobat. After the age of 14, she began to perform in European countries and lived in Germany, the US and Italy for seven years. However, in the acrobatic circle, teenagers are the best performers. After the age of 18, she had no choice but to become a pole dancer in Beijing. Back when she was performing abroad, she could hang out with a group of friends; but she had no friends in Beijing and seldom felt a sense of belonging here. After she fell in love with motorcycles, however, she regained freedom, and finally felt a sense of belonging hanging out with other motorcycle riders.
Xin Zhihua was having a rest in his own art studio. After graduating from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, he became a professional painter and art work dealer. For him, he needs to stay quiet when painting, but get crazy when riding motorcycles. To some degree, riding motorcycles helped him relax himself. “Deep down, however, I can get really crazy when painting, but stay very quite when riding motorcycles,” he explained.
He had two motorcycles, and both of them are worthy over 300,000 yuan (over $ 45,229). “I also have a car, but when I really want to feel the wind, speed, I ride motorcycles. In leisure time, I also design and modify motorcycles. Besides, I am also a super fan of photography, but riding motorcycles is my lifetime hobby,” he told TMTpost.
Bu Yi (the motorcycle rider to the right of the picture) was riding on the Tongzhou north Tunnel Bridge, and showing his greetings to another motorcycle rider he encountered on the road. “If other motorcycle riders found that I didn’t wear protective clothing or ride on the wrong road, they would approach and barge me,” he explained. For him, strict intendance among motorcycle riders will not only improve our safety awareness, but also improve the riding environment for motorcycle riders, and this is what he referred to as the “rider spirit”. According to transportation rules in Beijing, riders could ride motorcycles with Beijing-A plate inside Beijing, but they could not ride motorcycles with Beijing-B plate inside the fourth ring.
Racecar driver Sun Jin was training off-road riding on a circuit in suburban Beijing in the above picture. To strengthen his physical endurance and get better prepared for the racecar match to be held at the end of August, he rode for at least 100 rounds every time he trained. “Riding motorcycles costs more money than what’s earned. For one thing, race motorcycle circuit rental fee is high. There aren’t many motorcycle circuits in China, so it could be quite expensive to rent motorcycle circuits. For another, it’s expensive to fix racecars. On average, three tyres burst after each match. It costs me over 10,000 ($1,507) to replace them. In addition, the application fee is usually a couple thousand yuan, and I have to fix and maintain motorcycles, let alone the fuel cost. In total, I have to pay 20,000 yuan (around $3,014) for each match,” he explained, “I started riding motorcycles nearly a decade ago, and I can no longer remember how many matches I’ve already participated in. However, even if I win in these matches, I can only get a trophy, not bonus. So I ride just for fun. When riding motorcycles, I feel as if I am the ruler of the world.” He also ran a motorcycle repair store around the circuit.
“For me, working is like being kept in chains,” Wang Xi told TMTpost. We took the above picture following his advice. Mr. Wang established a platform for Chinese motorcycle riders, believing that the mobile internet can bring motorcycle riders closer to each other. His platform targets mainly high-end motorcycle riders whose annual salary is around 150,000 to 300,000 yuan. According to him, imported motorcycles are very popular among young riders in first and second-tier cities, while Made-in-China motorcycles target mainly low-end riders in third and fourth-tier cities. “Chinese motorcycles riders purchase a new motorcycle with larger displacement every nine month, so motorcycles can be called a type of high-end toys for them,” he said.
Yan Han, owner of an interior design studio, is also founder of female Harley motorcycle riders club “Top Riders”. She loves Harley motorcycles and bought her first Harley (Harley 883L) four years ago at the price of 300,000 yuan. Her second Harley is modified Softtail Deluxe and cost her 500,000 yuan. “It’s the dream of every motorcycle rider to have a Harley. Different from ordinary motorcycles, Harley represents the pursuit for freedom and happiness instead of pure speed. I travelled on Harley for at least 20,000 kilometers every year,” she said.
Su Taiping, aged 51, is also a motorcycle rider. He bought his dream motorcycle Happiness at the price of 2,000 yuan from a friend in the 80s. “At that time, Happiness motorcycle was sold at around 7,000 yuan, similar to the price of an apartment. However, I was still a factory worker and earned 10 yuan a month. I started riding race motorcycles in 1983. The majority of the first-wave race motorcycle riders have already passed away, yet I am still alive,” he said, jokingly, “I’ve bought over a dozen motorcycles and have been repairing motorcycles or selling second-hand motorcycles for a decade. Many motorcycle riders in Bejing would ask me for help when something went wrong with their motorcycles.” For him, first-wave motorcycle riders love race motorcycles because they represent fashion, today’s motorcycle riders care more about being who they really are and travelling on motorcycles to see the mountains or the sea.
A racecar driver went to this motorcycle repair & modification shop near 798 art region in Beijing to see if the spare parts he ordered two months ago from Italy arrived. He bought the motorcycle at the price of 300,000 yuan, and spent another 30,000 to 50,000 yuan on modification. The technician told him that they would not only improve the motorcycle’s appearance by decorating it with flowers, stickers and paints, but also changed the engine, tyre, shock absorber, air purifier, escape pipe, etc. to enhance the motorcycle’s overall security performance.
On July, 30th, 2016, 30 motorcycle riders were attracted to a track test activity held by a Chinese motorcycle maker. The organizer charged every rider with merely 100 yuan. At present, there are only two race motorcycle circuits in Beijing. “To purchase a new car in Beijing, you have to first draw a license plate lottery and get a plate. In comparison, it’s more convenient to ride motorcycles, and you don’t need to worry about traffic jam,” a motorcycle rider told TMTpost, “Motorcycles made by Chinese motorcycle makers are certainly less welcome in the Chinese market, but they still have a large market.” Statistics suggest that there are over 160 million race motorcycles and 30 million race motorcycle riders in China, and that the total transaction volume of second-hand motorcycles is over 6 million yuan (over $ 900,000).
On July, 16th, 2016, CMBC was held on Beijing Goldenport Circuit, and over 150 race motorcycle riders participated in the game. “We raised over 9 million yuan sponsor fee for the game, but we still didn’t make any profit,” Zhang Lei, an organizer of the event, told TMTpost. Mr. Zhang organized such national games six to eight times every year, and was very optimistic about the future of race motorcycle market, believing that riding motorcycles is becoming increasingly popular among young Chinese riders, more and more race motorcycle circuits are built in many first and second-tier cities across China and both Chinese and foreign motorcycle makers are busy holding, promoting as well as sponsoring race motorcycle games.
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[The article is published and edited with authorization from the author @Zhu Lingyu, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.]
Translated by Levin Feng (Senior Translator at PAGE TO PAGE), working for TMTpost.