Town Moto Toronto

The thriving state of motorcycle culture in Toronto

First came Town Moto, then a DIY motorcycle workshop and later, a Harley Davidson Cafe pop-up shop. Then came the noisy and downright dangerous stunt riders on the Gardiner.

There's most definitely a resurgence in motorcycle culture happening at the moment, but what's causing the commotion?

Places such as Doc's and Studio Cycle and a publication like Toronto's Fast Times have been revving around for a while. But it feels like since Town Moto opened its doors over four years ago, motorcycle culture has been on the rise in Toronto. One of the reasons might be visibility.

"It's sort of like a contagious thing in a way," says Andrew McCracken, co-owner of Town Moto. "When I got my first bike, none of my friends had bikes and then the next year four of my friends got bikes. It spreads that way."

McCracken says he's seen a rise in riders every year since he opened. Even non-riders seem interested when there's a meet up outside the shop. Despite the big noise, wheels and leather, it's a really friendly and welcoming crowd, so joining in on the fun isn't that hard.

Also, like most things on earth, the internet has had an impact on its popularity.

"I think people have more exposure to it with social media. They can see their friends or people who ride bikes enjoying it and the lifestyle and going on adventures and working on bikes," he says.

Peter Reford agrees. He runs Moto Revere, a membership-based, community garage space.

"It's a very welcoming community," says Redford. "I've had days where I'm out at events or running errands and forgot to bring a bungee cord and I'm trying to strap something down in the most horrific way. I had an older guy parked three spots over watching me come over and give me his cargo net saying 'you need this more than I do right now.'"

Redford raves about the community itself. He and McCracken mention the Moto Social, a monthly summer meet up organized by Torontonian Viktor Radics. He started it two years ago with 10 to 20 friends meeting up at coffee shops; now 600 to 700 show up each time.

"There's just a lot more events happening inside the city and people are more easily hearing about them more," Redford says. "I think it's always been around, but it's definitely growing and people are meeting up in ways that you didn't see before."

When asked about stunt riding and that side of the culture, neither of the guys had much to say. They seem to be part of a world of friendly, cool-looking, easy riders who just want to be outside - and not pay for parking downtown.

There's definitely an aesthetic attraction to many, but it seems like it's the simple fact of a community growing through word of mouth and social media activities that's causing a rise in riders.

"It may be intimidating to some people," McCracken says. "But I don't know any scary bikers at all. Everyone I've met is super friendly and typically helpful."

Photo from the Town Moto Facebook page.

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