Bikes are what cars used to be – mechanical, impractical, and dangerous. Even as a car guy who doesn’t ride, it’s tough to stay away.
In the Toronto area there’s a monthly bike meet called The Moto Social. I checked it out as I had grown bored of the traditional Cars and Coffee scene, but still wanted to be around gear heads and engines.
Here’s what they are doing right and car guys are doing wrong.
They only meet up once a month. People look forward to it and they have something to talk about since the last one.
They change the venue each month. This makes all the difference. It makes the events a destination. You have to ride to a different part of the city each time, taking in the views, looking for the side streets. No one has a spot they “camp” in each time, because each time is different.
Plus, for the most part the locals are curious not annoyed. It’s like the circus has come to town. The good kind of circus.
They meet at night, at a coffee shop, in the city, on the street. This is infinitely better than some nondescript suburban big box parking lot in the wee hours of a Saturday morning.
The bikes are packed close and the sidewalks are equally jammed with people. Everyone is walking around.
Being on the street makes all the difference. It becomes about the bikes and the riders relation to a place, not some antiseptic wasteland.
All bikes are welcome, even if most are Cafe Racer and newer. You see everything from small vintage thumpers, to high dollar customs to the latest speed machines from Italy and Japan. Most are ridden, not show bikes, some are clearly tracked.
This variety kept things interesting. Different sounds, dollar values, bike cultures, all coexisting in small chaotic groupings.
But the most important thing is it’s a social gathering for riders, not a show off event. The vibe is so different as a result. There is no cheesy music, no people camping in lawn chairs, no trophies on display, no binders full of build pictures, mercifully few people just showing off how much money they make, and no burnouts or Mustangs vehicles flying into crowds.
It was about riders and their love of riding and bike culture.
I think it’s time for local Cars and Coffee culture to take a page out of The Moto Social book and reinvent itself.