VIKTOR & SAM RADICS

On building community and connecting with others

CAMP-KyleTopping(@xkylex)-9727.jpg

Viktor and Sam Radics are creatives and community builders. Their fascination for people and curiosity is what drives their sense of adventure and work. They are the founders of a global community building organization called The Moto Social. Through this organization, social events are hosted around the world to build communities and help people feel more connected and at home in their cities. Their ability to create common ground amongst diverse people and connect with others in a genuine way is what sets them apart and why their events have been so successful over the past 7 years and now run in twenty-one cities around the world. We sat with them to chat about what it takes to build a community and connect with others - even those that may in many ways differ from us.

JUMP TO TOPIC

 

ON STARTING COMMUNITY EVENTS 

Dorcas:

How did The Moto Social start and what was the inspiration behind it?

 

Viktor & Sam:

The Moto Social started in May 2013 and the goal was to host events in Toronto for locals - to build a positive community around our motorcycling interest and connect with people with the same interest here in the city.

Dorcas:

From that moment until now, what would you say has been some pivotal milestones or lessons along the way?

 

Viktor & Sam:

We think discovering that the community we were creating or the culture within that community is something that humans desire to be a part of, no matter who you are. Once we started the events in other cities, we found that there is this need or commonality - that we are interested in one another, especially when bonding over common interest. 

CAPE TOWN-ArchieLeeming(@ArchieLeeming)_

THE DYNAMICS OF BUILDING A CULTURE

Dorcas:

So what would you describe as the culture you’ve created?

 

Viktor & Sam:

There is an emphasis on inclusivity - on our end - that everyone is welcome. In the motorcycle world, there’s a bit of a separation that we don’t really understand where it comes from or why it happens. 

 

There all kinds of different genres and styles of motorcycles - and there’s also a ton of different types of people that ride motorcycles. So really, motorcyclists aren’t all the same - it’s all kinds of different people riding bikes. There’s multiple stereotypes and segregation between different types of categories of bikes and people. It’s always seemed to be a thing. So what's unusual about The Moto Social - what we do - is that we are intentionally bringing everyone together. Everyone from every genre of bike and every type of person and personality. Which can be challenging at times, but we still have to remain positive.

"So when you roll into a parking lot it feels like all of these people are standing around and being unwelcoming, but really what’s happening is that no one really knows how to approach each other. "

SAINT JOHN-TerrillSands(@terrillsands)_M

Dorcas:

What kind of stereotypes exist? - For people that are not really in that world - and to paint a picture that what you are doing is not the norm.

 

Viktor & Sam:

We would say the stereotypes are what you normally think of when you think of motorcyclists. Often called the ‘biker life.’ The Harley riders and the people with patches, maybe. Wearing all leather. Typically, a bigger bearded guy with a big and obnoxious cruiser bike. The reason why they are stereotypes is because you literally have to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and you ride a specific type of motorcycle fit into that culture.

 

In North America - in the motorcycle world - there’s a huge club culture, which we think is where some of these stereotypes came from. But that isn’t the only stereotype - these mentioned are  maybe your typical biker stereotype and what a lot of people think of when they think “motorcyclist.” They think motorcyclists = bikers, but there are people that ride sportbikes and look completely different. They dress a certain way. Especially if you ride a specific kind of sportbike, there’s always a stereotype around how you ride, as well. There’s more rush and speed to it and not as chill, perhaps.

 

The truth is that within those two genres of motorcyclists, they’re not all those stereotypical people. People assume that they are and it’s not actually the case. 

So then we get into what a stereotypical motorcycle community get-together is and it’s usually those two genres of motorcyclists: the sportbike rider and the biker-type person. Somehow those communities have not figured how to create a very welcoming and positive environment. 

 

All the other motorcyclists - the people who are riding vintage motorcycles are not wanting to associate or look like these other groups. Or there’s another category that are adventure-touring riders who are riding off-road/on-road motorcycles - they strap tents onto the back of their motorcycles and go riding through gravel roads, forests, and really get into nature. That community doesn’t typically go to the stereotypical events because it’s not really the place for them.

 

We think all motorcycle meetups started with the intent of, ‘let’s meet, hang out, and get together,’ but the result is almost the opposite. It’s more uncomfortable because they don’t know each other and no one is taking the lead.  So when you roll into a parking lot it feels like all of these people are standing around and being unwelcoming, but really what’s happening is that no one really knows how to approach each other. 

 

So going back to what our culture is - we are hosting-focused. We encourage everyone who runs The Moto Social events in different cities to act as if everyone coming to their event is coming into their house. To introduce themselves, welcome them to the event, and introduce them to other people there. It’s kind of the same concept as if you are hosting a house party properly, people will naturally feel more comfortable. 

 

Someone at the house party needs to open the door, welcome the person at the door, take their coat, and to help them feel comfortable and fit into the already-existing crowd in the living room. We are very focused on taking that action or playing that role, so that the people - the guests - that come to our events can actually connect.

 

We also encourage our attendees and community to also play that role. Because without hosting and being welcoming, people likely won’t approach strangers. So that’s how we’ve created a very welcoming and genuine vibe.

 

 

ON EXPANSION AND IMPACT

Dorcas:

The Moto Social now has meetup in cities across the world - what drove the need to expand into those communities and what did that entail?

Viktor & Sam:

We originally didn’t think about anywhere except Toronto. We did it in Toronto for a couple of years and just saw the positive result of people connecting. We started seeing people that we were meeting at our events around town together - like bumping into them at restaurants with a group of friends we know that they met through our events. We just felt like it would really benefit other communities and cities.

 

 The first few cities that we added outside of Toronto really encouraged us. We had some connections in Ottawa and Montreal, and so we chose to start there and basically host them ourselves for the first season. 

 

There was a community of people there that we were hoping to tap into. And so we passed it on to them, and had them continue hosting the events without us. So the first step was really Ottawa and Montreal. Beyond that and out into other countries, people started reaching out to us. They bonded over it on Instagram and started asking, ‘hey, can we do this in Cape Town? Hamburg, Germany? New Zealand?” We chatted with them, vetted them, and then went and met them.

Dorcas:

How has building these communities shaped the way you live currently?

Viktor & Sam:

It’s shaped us in the sense that we don’t feel like we are limited to what the location we live in has to offer. It broadened our perspective on what is possible - experiencing things in different countries often inspires us to want to do something different. We feel really connected to all these different people in all these different places in the world. Like the world is smaller and we belong to the planet, not just this one little city that we live in. 

 

One interesting thing that we often talk about is whenever we go to a new place, there are always people that we meet for the first time that completely remind us of other people that we’ve met in other parts of the world. It’s this really strange feeling - there’s almost this multiplication of certain types of people. It makes it really interesting to meet people around the world because you feel like you’ve met them before. The amount of times that we have gone somewhere new and thought, ‘this person is like Mark back home.’ It really makes you think that there is somebody to relate to no matter where you are.

ON EXPERIENCING THE INBETWEEN, AND CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE

Dorcas:

What does building a community through riding together look like and why is it a different kind of experience?

 

Viktor & Sam:

The priority of our travels are always the people - going to connect with the people that we’re teaming up with to host The Moto Social and that local community that we are investing in and serving.  

 

Connecting with people looks like riding together and sharing that experience. The thing with motorcycling is that you’re not just hopping into a car to get from Point A to Point B, the traveling/journey from Point A to Point B is the experience. It’s the experience with the people. So you stop a lot - you stop for lunch, to gas up, etc. 

 

Even the start of the day is completely different. When you’re doing a motorcycle trip with a group of friends, it’s so different from a car road trip. With a car road trip, you prepare for the trip inside the car for the car ride. You don’t necessarily prepare for the external elements.

 

The car road trip is usually like, ‘the four of us jump into a car and drive somewhere. Or maybe eight of us drive with two cars. We meet somewhere along the way or we meet at the destination.” But a motorcycle trip with ten people usually looks like everyone is coming solo from different parts of the city. We meet somewhere at a gas station, gas up, and then together in a group, we start riding from Point A to Point B. Stopping every 100 or 200 kilometers and sometimes there is stuff that happens along the way that you laugh about. 

 

On a motorcycle when you stop somewhere in a group, that could be an adventure or story of its own. You might bump into someone that is excited about seeing you guys in a group and wants to talk. Next thing you know, they’ve invited you to their cottage and then you’re at this random person’s cottage that you met at a gas station. That doesn’t really happen when you roll up in a minivan.  

"There is also a trust that is built when you find commonality. Up until that point, there’s still a gap between you and that other person and when you find common ground, it’s almost like you’re creating some sort of bond around something where trust is built. "

"The thing with motorcycling is that you’re not just hopping into a car to get from Point A to Point B, the traveling / journey from Point A to Point B is the experience. "

Dorcas:

Learning to experience people that are not like us has never been more important. Would you say having common interests is a key factor in connecting with others?

Viktor & Sam:

The commonality definitely makes things easier. But even within the commonality, there are belief, value, or priority differences. So being open, humble, and being slow to judge are probably the biggest things.

 

For us the motorcycle might be the common thread, but through conversation, there will be other things that we find common ground on. Even the way we start up conversations, there’s this unspoken goal of finding that common ground. It means that we have to ask questions and learn about that person. In the first three questions, you might figure out that they like LEGO. You know already that one of your buddies who is also at the event is a mega-LEGO nerd, so you got this common interest that’s even outside motorcycling. Then maybe you’re like, ‘oh let me introduce you to Rob because he’s really into LEGO too and you could talk about it.” Boom, you made a connection for that one person. But it could even be as simple as like - we joke about this - the dude is wearing a red shirt and you introduce him to another person who’s wearing a red shirt. You legit just made a joke out of it and be like, “wow, you both have really good taste in T-shirt color choices.” Then they laugh it off and start talking about other possible common interests. 

 

We’re always trying to create connections with people - if we write people off or instantly show disinterest in someone because of something we disagree with, then we are going to be living life writing off people because we’re going to disagree with almost everyone, to some level. Rather, each person should focus on the commonalities that we can find to at least enjoy that conversation or the experience that we are sharing with them.


There is also a trust that is built when you find commonality. Up until that point, there’s still a gap between you and that other person and when you find common ground, it’s almost like you’re creating some sort of bond around something where trust is built. You begin to see a different side to that person. That’s maybe one of the things that we are good at - we can approach a stranger in a very approachable demeanor and build trust and connection in a short amount of time.

ViktorRadics_Auckland_to_Invercargill_NZ
BUDAPEST-AdamCsordas(@SimanAdam)-2019062

Dorcas:

With the changes in the past few months with COVID - how have you seen it impact connecting with people and the work you do?

 

Viktor & Sam:

It’s affected our ability to host events as we can’t bring mass groups of people together. We aren’t able to do the positive community-building that we have in the past so we pivoted to doing some things online in small ways. For example, hosting online chats with different members of the community around the world.

 

There’s been some good in that we have been able to take advantage of the time to think and unwind from how wound-up we’ve been in the process. But there’s also been the negative socially - not being able to socialize, connect, and meet - a very important human need that we all have. 

 

There’s also the side of going from consistently stepping outside of your comfort zone. Going to the events and putting yourself in any social situation. Even as welcoming as these events can be it requires you to step outside of your comfort zone. So perhaps the negative side of not being able to be in those social environments is not being pushed outside of our comfort zone enough - thus, becoming more comfortable with being comfortable. Simply put, there hasn’t been as much of a reason to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone lately. 

 

Also, you start questioning everything and I’m sure this is a general thing. What is okay? What is socially acceptable right now? Is this a comfort place for me? I think we are making decisions based on what is comfortable, given the situation we are in.

Dorcas:

What are some places you’ve been to that have made you feel like home the most?

Viktor & Sam:

There’s so many. We’ve gone back to Cape Town the most. That was one of our favorites just because of what that place meant for us. It was a place we were spiritually connected to. Cape Town meant growth, in a way. It’s the first place that we started The Moto Social outside of Canada - so it was a milestone. 

 

I (Vik) basically met my twin in Cape Town. One of the two guys that reached out from Cape Town - we’re like the same person. He’s just a male model, so I can’t really say that we’re twins (laughs). We have so many similar experiences growing up - obviously, in different parts of the world - but like family things. It was a cool thing. 

We started The Moto Social in Budapest with a really cute couple and their friend. That has been of significance to me because I was born in Budapest - my family is from Hungary. The experience of travelling to Budapest to do something that’s with motorcyclists in our age group was a refreshing feeling of connecting with different Hungarians. My picture of what Hungarians were like was one way here in Canada and going back to start The Moto Social and connecting with locals that are our age was so encouraging, fun, and eye-opening. That was also a bit unique.

 

We have friends in 21 cities around the world and it’s really cool. It also means that people in all of those cities also have connections in 21 cities around the world. So what used to be just a network in Toronto is now a global network.

SAM-ViktorRadics(@vikpiccreative)_AUSTRI
 
 

ON STARTING COMMUNITY EVENTS

Dorcas:

How did The Moto Social start and what was the inspiration behind it?

 

Viktor & Sam:

The Moto Social started in May 2013 and the goal was to host events in Toronto for locals - to build a positive community around our motorcycling interest and connect with people with the same interest here in the city.

Dorcas:

From that moment until now, what would you say has been some pivotal milestones or lessons along the way?

 

Viktor & Sam:

We think discovering that the community we were creating or the culture within that community is something that humans desire to be a part of, no matter who you are. Once we started the events in other cities, we found that there is this need or commonality - that we are interested in one another, especially when bonding over common interest. 

CAPE TOWN-ArchieLeeming(@ArchieLeeming)_

THE DYNAMICS OF BUILDING A CULTURE

Dorcas:

So what would you describe as the culture you’ve created?

Viktor & Sam:

There is an emphasis on inclusivity - on our end - that everyone is welcome. In the motorcycle world, there’s a bit of a separation that we don’t really understand where it comes from or why it happens. 

Dorcas:

What kind of stereotypes exist? - For people that are not really in that world - and to paint a picture that what you are doing is not the norm.

 

Viktor & Sam:

We would say the stereotypes are what you normally think of when you think of motorcyclists. Often called the ‘biker life.’ The Harley riders and the people with patches, maybe. Wearing all leather. Typically, a bigger bearded guy with a big and obnoxious cruiser bike. The reason why they are stereotypes is because you literally have to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and you ride a specific type of motorcycle fit into that culture.

 

In North America - in the motorcycle world - there’s a huge club culture, which we think is where some of these stereotypes came from. But that isn’t the only stereotype - these mentioned are  maybe your typical biker stereotype and what a lot of people think of when they think “motorcyclist.” They think motorcyclists = bikers, but there are people that ride sportbikes and look completely different. They dress a certain way. Especially if you ride a specific kind of sportbike, there’s always a stereotype around how you ride, as well. There’s more rush and speed to it and not as chill, perhaps.

 

The truth is that within those two genres of motorcyclists, they’re not all those stereotypical people. People assume that they are and it’s not actually the case. 

So then we get into what a stereotypical motorcycle community get-together is and it’s usually those two genres of motorcyclists: the sportbike rider and the biker-type person. Somehow those communities have not figured how to create a very welcoming and positive environment. 

 

All the other motorcyclists - the people who are riding vintage motorcycles are not wanting to associate or look like these other groups. Or there’s another category that are adventure-touring riders who are riding off-road/on-road motorcycles - they strap tents onto the back of their motorcycles and go riding through gravel roads, forests, and really get into nature. That community doesn’t typically go to the stereotypical events because it’s not really the place for them.

 

We think all motorcycle meetups started with the intent of, ‘let’s meet, hang out, and get together,’ but the result is almost the opposite. It’s more uncomfortable because they don’t know each other and no one is taking the lead.  So when you roll into a parking lot it feels like all of these people are standing around and being unwelcoming, but really what’s happening is that no one really knows how to approach each other. 

 

So going back to what our culture is - we are hosting-focused. We encourage everyone who runs The Moto Social events in different cities to act as if everyone coming to their event is coming into their house. To introduce themselves, welcome them to the event, and introduce them to other people there. It’s kind of the same concept as if you are hosting a house party properly, people will naturally feel more comfortable. 

 

Someone at the house party needs to open the door, welcome the person at the door, take their coat, and to help them feel comfortable and fit into the already-existing crowd in the living room. We are very focused on taking that action or playing that role, so that the people - the guests - that come to our events can actually connect.

 

We also encourage our attendees and community to also play that role. Because without hosting and being welcoming, people likely won’t approach strangers. So that’s how we’ve created a very welcoming and genuine vibe.

"So when you roll into a parking lot it feels like all of these people are standing around and being unwelcoming, but really what’s happening is that no one really knows how to approach each other. "

SAINT JOHN-TerrillSands(@terrillsands)_M

ON EXPANSION AND IMPACT

Dorcas:

The Moto Social now has meetup in cities across the world - what drove the need to expand into those communities and what did that entail?

Viktor & Sam:

We originally didn’t think about anywhere except Toronto. We did it in Toronto for a couple of years and just saw the positive result of people connecting. We started seeing people that we were meeting at our events around town together - like bumping into them at restaurants with a group of friends we know that they met through our events. We just felt like it would really benefit other communities and cities.

 

 The first few cities that we added outside of Toronto really encouraged us. We had some connections in Ottawa and Montreal, and so we chose to start there and basically host them ourselves for the first season. 

 

There was a community of people there that we were hoping to tap into. And so we passed it on to them, and had them continue hosting the events without us. So the first step was really Ottawa and Montreal. Beyond that and out into other countries, people started reaching out to us. They bonded over it on Instagram and started asking, ‘hey, can we do this in Cape Town? Hamburg, Germany? New Zealand?” We chatted with them, vetted them, and then went and met them.

Dorcas:

How has building these communities shaped the way you live currently?

Viktor & Sam:

It’s shaped us in the sense that we don’t feel like we are limited to what the location we live in has to offer. It broadened our perspective on what is possible - experiencing things in different countries often inspires us to want to do something different. We feel really connected to all these different people in all these different places in the world. Like the world is smaller and we belong to the planet, not just this one little city that we live in. 

 

One interesting thing that we often talk about is whenever we go to a new place, there are always people that we meet for the first time that completely remind us of other people that we’ve met in other parts of the world. It’s this really strange feeling - there’s almost this multiplication of certain types of people. It makes it really interesting to meet people around the world because you feel like you’ve met them before. The amount of times that we have gone somewhere new and thought, ‘this person is like Mark back home.’ It really makes you think that there is somebody to relate to no matter where you are.

BUDAPEST-AdamCsordas(@SimanAdam)-2019062

ON EXPERIENCING THE INBETWEEN, AND CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE

Dorcas:

What does building a community through riding together look like and why is it a different kind of experience?

 

Viktor & Sam:

The priority of our travels are always the people - going to connect with the people that we’re teaming up with to host The Moto Social and that local community that we are investing in and serving.  

 

Connecting with people looks like riding together and sharing that experience. The thing with motorcycling is that you’re not just hopping into a car to get from Point A to Point B, the traveling/journey from Point A to Point B is the experience. It’s the experience with the people. So you stop a lot - you stop for lunch, to gas up, etc. 

 

Even the start of the day is completely different. When you’re doing a motorcycle trip with a group of friends, it’s so different from a car road trip. With a car road trip, you prepare for the trip inside the car for the car ride. You don’t necessarily prepare for the external elements.

 

The car road trip is usually like, ‘the four of us jump into a car and drive somewhere. Or maybe eight of us drive with two cars. We meet somewhere along the way or we meet at the destination.” But a motorcycle trip with ten people usually looks like everyone is coming solo from different parts of the city. We meet somewhere at a gas station, gas up, and then together in a group, we start riding from Point A to Point B. Stopping every 100 or 200 kilometers and sometimes there is stuff that happens along the way that you laugh about. 

 

On a motorcycle when you stop somewhere in a group, that could be an adventure or story of its own. You might bump into someone that is excited about seeing you guys in a group and wants to talk. Next thing you know, they’ve invited you to their cottage and then you’re at this random person’s cottage that you met at a gas station. That doesn’t really happen when you roll up in a minivan.  

​​

"The thing with motorcycling is that you’re not just hopping into a car to get from Point A to Point B, the traveling / journey from Point A to Point B is the experience. "

Dorcas:

Learning to experience people that are not like us has never been more important. Would you say having common interests is a key factor in connecting with others?

Viktor & Sam:

The commonality definitely makes things easier. But even within the commonality, there are belief, value, or priority differences. So being open, humble, and being slow to judge are probably the biggest things.

 

For us the motorcycle might be the common thread, but through conversation, there will be other things that we find common ground on. Even the way we start up conversations, there’s this unspoken goal of finding that common ground. It means that we have to ask questions and learn about that person. In the first three questions, you might figure out that they like LEGO. You know already that one of your buddies who is also at the event is a mega-LEGO nerd, so you got this common interest that’s even outside motorcycling. Then maybe you’re like, ‘oh let me introduce you to Rob because he’s really into LEGO too and you could talk about it.” Boom, you made a connection for that one person. But it could even be as simple as like - we joke about this - the dude is wearing a red shirt and you introduce him to another person who’s wearing a red shirt. You legit just made a joke out of it and be like, “wow, you both have really good taste in T-shirt color choices.” Then they laugh it off and start talking about other possible common interests. 

 

We’re always trying to create connections with people - if we write people off or instantly show disinterest in someone because of something we disagree with, then we are going to be living life writing off people because we’re going to disagree with almost everyone, to some level. Rather, each person should focus on the commonalities that we can find to at least enjoy that conversation or the experience that we are sharing with them.


There is also a trust that is built when you find commonality. Up until that point, there’s still a gap between you and that other person and when you find common ground, it’s almost like you’re creating some sort of bond around something where trust is built. You begin to see a different side to that person. That’s maybe one of the things that we are good at - we can approach a stranger in a very approachable demeanor and build trust and connection in a short amount of time.

"There is also a trust that is built when you find commonality. Up until that point, there’s still a gap between you and that other person and when you find common ground, it’s almost like you’re creating some sort of bond around something where trust is built. "

ViktorRadics_Auckland_to_Invercargill_NZ

Dorcas:

With the changes in the past few months with COVID - how have you seen it impact connecting with people and the work you do?

 

Viktor & Sam:

It’s affected our ability to host events as we can’t bring mass groups of people together. We aren’t able to do the positive community-building that we have in the past so we pivoted to doing some things online in small ways. For example, hosting online chats with different members of the community around the world.

 

There’s been some good in that we have been able to take advantage of the time to think and unwind from how wound-up we’ve been in the process. But there’s also been the negative socially - not being able to socialize, connect, and meet - a very important human need that we all have. 

 

There’s also the side of going from consistently stepping outside of your comfort zone. Going to the events and putting yourself in any social situation. Even as welcoming as these events can be it requires you to step outside of your comfort zone. So perhaps the negative side of not being able to be in those social environments is not being pushed outside of our comfort zone enough - thus, becoming more comfortable with being comfortable. Simply put, there hasn’t been as much of a reason to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone lately. 

 

Also, you start questioning everything and I’m sure this is a general thing. What is okay? What is socially acceptable right now? Is this a comfort place for me? I think we are making decisions based on what is comfortable, given the situation we are in.

Dorcas:

What are some places you’ve been to that have made you feel like home the most?

Viktor & Sam:

There’s so many. We’ve gone back to Cape Town the most. That was one of our favorites just because of what that place meant for us. It was a place we were spiritually connected to. Cape Town meant growth, in a way. It’s the first place that we started The Moto Social outside of Canada - so it was a milestone. 

 

I (Vik) basically met my twin in Cape Town. One of the two guys that reached out from Cape Town - we’re like the same person. He’s just a male model, so I can’t really say that we’re twins (laughs). We have so many similar experiences growing up - obviously, in different parts of the world - but like family things. It was a cool thing. 

We started The Moto Social in Budapest with a really cute couple and their friend. That has been of significance to me because I was born in Budapest - my family is from Hungary. The experience of travelling to Budapest to do something that’s with motorcyclists in our age group was a refreshing feeling of connecting with different Hungarians. My picture of what Hungarians were like was one way here in Canada and going back to start The Moto Social and connecting with locals that are our age was so encouraging, fun, and eye-opening. That was also a bit unique.

 

We have friends in 21 cities around the world and it’s really cool. It also means that people in all of those cities also have connections in 21 cities around the world. So what used to be just a network in Toronto is now a global network.

SAM-ViktorRadics(@vikpiccreative)_AUSTRI