BMW Motorrad has launched a new online network which allows riders to plan tours, meet friends, and share their experiences. The BMW Motorrad Community, which is now live, is a social networking tool with a difference, as it is more about the real world than the virtual one. BMW says their aim was to “provide a platform for people who share a love of riding to find each other, arrange trips, and spend more time than ever out on the road.”
The BMW Motorrad Community is split into four main areas: TourFinder, Profile, Photos, and Meet and Ride. TourFinder is arguably the most exciting feature, as it allows members to enter their favorite tours and for other members to search for these tours based on their criteria. To start a search you can enter a destination, length of tour, distance, level of difficulty and type of tour — or any combination of those. TourFinder then suggests a route base on those criteria. For now, just a few have entered their tours into the system — mostly in Europe — so the results are limited.
Since TourFinder allows members to enter their own tours, the number of options and results of searches should grow quickly. To design a new tour, riders simply click on the interactive map to mark out their route, then give it a name and description. Riders can rate each others tours, using a star-rating or thumbs-up/thumbs-down icon, as well as leaving a comment about a tour, and uploading photos and videos of themselves riding it.
The Meet and Ride area allows users to find each other and organize a ride. Members can either plan a trip and invite others to join them, or browse requests for riding partners and find a trip they would like to join. They can then arrange when and where to meet using a message system. The Route Diary automatically updates when members plan or join a route, makes keeping track of plans simple and provides instant access to details of any plans made through the site.
The My Profile section is an opportunity to share photos, videos, riding tips and more with either friends or the whole community. A choice of privacy settings mean details are only shared with those the user chooses. Accounts have the option of adding or finding friends. These can be people who become acquainted through the Motorrad Community, or existing friends, whose details can be imported from other social networking accounts like Facebook. Individuals can also join or create groups, manage a news feed, and, most importantly, add details of motorcycles. Weather reports for the user’s area are a useful extra and even include a suggestion for what piece of BMW Riding Apparel will suit the conditions.
The Photos function provides the opportunity to browse others’ images of their machines, or sights and scenery from tours they’ve taken and contribute their own shots if desired.
The BMW Motorrad Community is easy to use and could become a useful networking tool if the service gets a large enough following. It certainly looks like a great way to link people together online and then getting them on the road to share their passion. Visit www.bmw-motorrad.com/community to explore and join in.