You may have heard of a motorcycle event in Toronto called #TheMotoSocialToronto. If not, #TheMotoSocialToronto is a monthly motorcycle community social that I created to build community in the city of Toronto. The event is held on the 1st Wednesday of every month and it’s always hosted by a different independent cafe or business in Toronto. I wanted to create something unique that gave motorcyclists in the city or even just those interested and curious about the motorcycle world the opportunity to come together, meet in an inclusive environment and casually socialize. 2015 was the 3rd year of the event in Toronto and I felt like it was time to grow and help build community in other cities in North America. Step one: #TheMotoSocialOTTAWA.
On Wed. July 29th we hosted #TheMotoSocialOTTAWA for the very first time in our capital city. This was the first time ever that the #TheMotoSocial was hosted anywhere outside of Toronto and it was a big step for me. This inaugural event was supposed to be a 1-time test event to see how the Ottawa motorcycle community responded to the opportunity of getting together like we do monthly at #TheMotoSocialTORONTO. To say that we were pleasantly surprised by Ottawa’s response is a bit of an understatement. We were floored by Ottawa’s response and we were so blessed by the positive feedback we received. Now we’re working on continuing to host #TheMotoSocialOTTAWA on a monthly basis.
We teamed up with The Ministry Of Coffee in Ottawa to host the first event at their new cafe at 1013 Wellington St. W. in Hintonburg. We had roughly 100 motorcycles turn up throughout the night, and a lot of curious people wondering how and why so many bikes came together at once. The atmosphere was friendly and low key, people were chatting and checking out bikes and our crew was having a blast getting to know everyone. It was an overall success from my point of view and I’m looking forward to connecting with more of Ottawa’s moto community as we progress.
Turning #TheMotoSocial into something more than just a Toronto meet-up has always been my vision. But, I owe a big thanks to my friends at Town Moto for helping me start moving forward with it. It’s always the solid friends around us that really know how to support our dreams and help us reach higher. My friends knew where I wanted to go and they were the ones to fan the flame and motivate me to turn my idea of hosting the event in other cities into a reality.
On the morning of June 29th, The Town Moto crew, some friends, my wife and I all saddled up at the shop in Toronto and headed East to Ottawa for the event. It was an exciting morning for us.
The typical excitement from heading out on a trip was strong but it was mixed with this nervousness and uncertainty about what to expect when we arrived at the event in Ottawa. We knew where we were going, we knew how we were getting there but we had no idea what sort of turnout we would get.
Our route of choice from Toronto was a mix of highway 401 and highway 115 to Peterborough and the smaller and more scenic highway 7 the rest of the way into Ottawa. It was a hot day. Some said that it was record breaking getting almost in the 40’s. We could definitely feel it. I was riding my 1992 BMW R100RT with the massive fairing pushing any breeze perfectly around me. My vintage little “dash vents” weren’t much use either. The rest of our crew were on naked bikes. Andrew was on a Triumph Bonneville, Alex was on Kawasaki W650, Max was on a Shadow750 and Sam, Emily and Allan in a VW Jetta blasting the A/C.
After breakfast in Peterborough at “The Only Cafe”, we continued East on highway 7 and planned to stop at a quarry for a swim along the way. A big thanks to Max in the crew for the recommendation. The swim was definitely a highlight on this trip. The cool water brought our sprits up when we were draining from the heat and really helped us push through the last few hours on the road.
We continued East on highway 7 and enjoyed the twists and turns and the cottage scenery. Highways 7 is a 2 lane highway with occasional passing lanes that wind through little lakes and cottage country between Peterborough and Ottawa. It doesn’t add much travel time compared to bombing across on the 401 from Toronto but its a much more pleasant trip.
We rolled into Ottawa a few hours before the event, we met up with our friends Simon and Avalyne who helped us organize #TheMotoSocialOttawa, grabbed a quick snack and headed over to the venue. We pulled up to the Ministry of Coffee and were greeted by so many smiley locals who were stoked about the event. We parked our bikes, let it all soak in for a second and started chatting with folks. We had all kinds of bikes turn up with every age groups and all walks of life. Exactly like it is back home in Toronto. Thats the exciting part for me.
Meeting young guys & girls who are stoked about having bought their first bike, chatting with older guys who have been riding for 50 years and who have hilarious stories to tell is the best. Mixing up the conversations, connecting one another and getting stoked together about motorcycling and one another. Sure, everyone individually is different, special and unique but as humanity we are all equal and I really get stoked to watch and experience everyone take a break for a minute and come to #TheMotoSocial as just a motorcyclist and as people interested in motorcycling to socialize with no agenda. To just soak in what’s happening and have a good time.
Connection is why I organize #TheMotoSocial and why I planned to branch out into other cities. I’m trying to create a welcoming environment for motorcyclists to come together and to hang, meet one another and connect. Not everyone will connect with everyone, but with time you will find people you connect with and you will find people you really can draw closer to and call friends. It’s just a space, an event styled to be low key and so we can all come together and chill out and enjoy some good company.
Thank you Ottawa for your amazing response! We were blown away by your acceptance and your positive feedback. We’re working on hosting another event this season and working on turning it into a regular monthly event for you in 2016. Stay tuned for details at www.themotosocial.com
See you soon Ottawa! Ride safely!