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Responsibility and Ethics - Issue #15

Adam Chandler on Motorcycles
Responsibility and Ethics - Issue #15
By Adam Chandler • Issue #15 • View online
What is expected and unexpected in the world of motorcycling when your hobby is also a form of income?

Nothing about me or the way I represent myself will be changing but when I saw the below image in my Inbox yesterday, it brought forward a wave of anxiety and pressure that had me thinking that this would make for a good newsletter post. As always, I’ll try to be concise.
I’ve told a few Internet friends privately that I feel as if this year will be full of pressures, temptations and opportunities to squander my upward trajectory before I begin. It’s how I confront these opportunities and maintain integrity that matters. What I’m talking about was a seed planted in my mind a few years ago when FortNine’s YouTube channel opened up the can of worms that is the motorcycle review racket. The ‘independent’ journalists supported by advertisers like the motorcycle companies they are supposed to be objectively reviewing & commenting on and how a bad review of the new S1000R would mean future bikes worth reviewing may not be offered to that journalist or their magazine in the future.
On my doorstep are opportunities this year that could become realities and seriously change what I’m doing in 2021.
  • Becoming the President of the Vermont BMW Club
  • Starting my term as a BMW MOA Board Member
  • Qualifying for the GS Trophy
  • Reaching 10,000 YouTube subscribers
  • Running two rallies this year
  • Improving my photo & video skills enough to be seen as more professional and legitimate
  • Maybe being invited to actually review & test new motorcycles and gear
  • Elevate from ‘sponsored’ with discounts to sponsored with free stuff as in signed agreements with manufactures to use their parts exclusively
A few of these things have happened, most have not. In the last 12 months, I’ve turned down 3 exclusive sponsorships though because the terms weren’t worth it to me. I’ll go into that in another post but the short of it is, I know I add monetary value to every company’s product I feature online and I do it 100% out of my own pocket by purchasing the thing at full price and then talking about it. When a company comes along and says “Take 12 things off your bike that we don’t make and we’ll sponsor you”, that’s a hard pass for me. I run what works for my bikes, not what I get for free.
This post also was spawned by some language in the MOA Board Member Code of Ethics I agreed to when I submitted my name for nomination. A few items below stood out the most:
  • Board members shall in all cases be cognizant of any situations, actions or positions taken that could be perceived as a conflict of interest. They will avoid inappropriate communications with individuals trying to influence by improper means or seeking to receive personal gains through Board decisions.
  • Board members shall not accept gifts, discounts and or privileged treatment which have a total actual, or estimated value in excess of$ 30.00 without approval of the Board.
  • Board members will remain cognizant that in any and all situations,whether official or social, that their opinions can be interpreted as those of the Board and the BMWMOA.
While these are only a couple of things, they are the codes that stood out most to me. In short, I have a list of potential conflicts that I’m going to share here with you all, the MOA members:
  • Official Sponsorship Relationships:  Klim, AltRider, Acerbis, GoPro, Jesse Luggage, Denali, Leatt, Forma, CRC, IMS, Motul, TomTom
  • I earn a living wage from TomTom who sells a motorcycle GPS product (TomTom Rider 450) and is a supplier to BMW Motorrad for maps content and the BMW Connected App
  • I earn money via Amazon Affiliates when I link to products sold by Amazon on my YouTube channel ($1100~ a year)
  • I earn money via YouTube both subscriptions & advertisements ($4800~ a year)
  • I may or may not hold retirement investments in industries related to motorcycling be it insurance, logistics, manufacturing, etc via index funds but I don’t actively invest in any companies that would pose a conflict in the MOA
  • I am always seeking new opportunities to make money as I’m mid-30s and still on that upward earnings trajectory…this is an area where I need to remain mindful of the impact I have on people when I choose to align with a brand that inadvertently creates a conflict for me on the MOA board
Despite these conflicts and the hunger for additional opportunities, I have agreed to and will uphold the Board of Directors Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct throughout my term and, should a member feel that I have a conflict, will take swift action to ensure the conflict is eliminated.
…and now to the meat of this newsletter for which I’m thankful for your patience.
The value and occasional entertainment I add to this community of people who ride motorcycles is something I take very seriously. I’m never going to get everything perfect the first time but I’ve really enjoyed learning as I go. I try something, admit mistakes, correct and try again and the trust you all have in what I write being my view and not a sponsor’s view is very important.
Now that Adam Chandler is no longer just another motorcycle rider on the Internet but someone affiliated with organizations with generations of established success and track records, I promise I won’t take that for granted and use their esteem to progress my career or place. I’m honored to be involved and look forward to bringing my skills to the organizations for the betterment of the organizations and not for my own gain.
Thanks so much for reading and I look forward to the next couple of years!
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Adam Chandler

This is my weekly ramblings about motorcycling. For the most part, these will be editorials you will have seen in regional and national motorcycle publications or longer posts and ride-reports as seen on ADVRider.com. Occasionally, I will post content here that is exclusive to paid subscribers and eventually be made free for all. Thank you.

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