We’ve all been to those motorcycle events. Sportbikes here, enduros over there. Better not park over there unless you’re riding a full decker Harley and wearing the proper club colours if you want to keep your teeth intact. Don’t even get me started on those guys doing burnouts and wheelies on litre bikes covered in neon lighting.
The Moto Social aims to be something different. By bringing these various segmented factions together into one inclusive monthly gathering at a local café in a manner that requires them to park beside, and interact with, complete strangers, the hope is that they’ll learn a little something about their new friend and maybe even wave the next time someone on such a bike passes by.
Becoming something of a phenomenon with events now being organized in various cities around the globe, things started off modestly. The first meet was in Toronto back in 2013 with a small group of individuals who had a lot of enthusiasm. Sharing the location beforehand and pictures of each event afterwards on Instagram, followers and participants grew exponentially. Always with an emphasis on good vibes.
“We created the event to build community and to build camaraderie in our city,” says Viktor Radics, who co-founded the event with his wife Sam. “We set out to create an event that was more about the people than the bikes themselves. We wanted to make Toronto feel a bit smaller and get people more excited about seeing one another.”
Initially only having Toronto in mind, the scope grew to include Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal. “We quickly realized that every major city would benefit from having a positive crew bringing amazing people together,” adds Radics.
“These existing relationships and the future friendships are what is motivating us to expand into other cities around world.” And expand it did. In February 2017, The Moto Social found its way to Cape Town, South Africa, with London, New York, Winnipeg, Hamburg, Budapest and others following suit.
Radics attributes the success of The Moto Social to their desire for inclusivity and humanity’s innate desire for connection and community; they’ve merely managed to tap into needs that weren’t being met in today’s day and age. The events have resonated with riders of all backgrounds, interests and ages, some of whom would make the pilgrimage from hours away each month to see what bikes people would dust off and bring out. Rather than just salivating over the fastest, newest or most expensive, there is plenty of appetite for the rare, the obscure, and the bizarre. Just our style.
With Hamilton, Halifax, St. John and Prince Edward County set to join the list of participating cities this season, it is clear The Moto Social entity has grown beyond the management capabilities of a dedicated few. Each city now has a devoted team of passionate volunteers who plan and share each month’s location, even canvassing the neighbouring homes and business to let them know what to expect so they aren’t caught off guard. Keeping the theme of hospitality and inclusion, the event even welcomes those who don’t ride, encouraging a family atmosphere by inviting people to bring their kids along to see that these big noisy bikers aren’t as scary as they thought.
Dan Lim is an avid motorcyclist and professional photographer who recently joined the Toronto team. “The Moto Social has always been and will always be about the people,” says Lim. “Motorcycles just happen to be the common thread, the conduit by which we come together to form a community.”
So how do you stop the squids from ruining the party for everyone? Well, you can’t, but you can try to minimize the douchebaggery. “Our chill vibe is at the direct mercy of those who attend the events,” says Radics, “We’re constantly working to overcome this challenge through leading by example, communicating what we’re all about and asking our community to help us do the same.”
Now kicking off its sixth season, The Moto Social has managed to remain shockingly free from corporate sponsorship. Holding the attention of a demographic that many brands and advertising agencies would salivate over, selling out would be easy and lucrative, but that’s not in the plan. The goal is simply to bring people together to hang out and be cool to each other. That’s it.
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