Q&A with Erik & Sarah.
Community Hosts of #TheMotoSociaLSANFRANCISCO

 

With our 5 year anniversary fast approaching, there's a lot of exciting news coming down the pipeline. Not only are we adding 5 new cities to the mix, we're also introducing the rad team members behind TheMotoSocial in each new city. Here's a fun little Q&A introducing Erik Jutras and Sarah Wohl – the community hosts of #TheMotoSocialSANFRANCISCO.

Cover Photo by Monica Semergiu

 

 
 
 

Erik Jutras

@mrpixlehead

Who are you and how are you still alive?

My name’s Erik, and I guess you could say I’m a jack of all trades, those trades being design, illustration and photography. I've bounced around quite a bit: I was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Montreal for 10 years, returned to LA where I stayed until I packed my stuff up at 26 and moved up to San Francisco where I’ve been ever since. Yes, I still crave poutine and gravy. I get by on a steady regimen of coffee, sushi and photographing motorcycles– you name it, flat track racing, custom bikes, off-road ADV exploration, I love the diverse and historic culture surrounding it all. 

What made you want to be a part of The Moto Social team?

When Sarah and I first experienced The Moto Social during a visit to Toronto a few years back, I’d have to say we were blown away, and perhaps a little envious of what you guys had going on there. Seeing a motorcycle community turn out in force for the sake of hanging out together, regardless of what bike you ride, and not necessarily for the purpose of going on a ride, was sort of surreal to witness based on the 500+ people who showed up. You don’t see that quite as often here, and especially not in those large numbers– sure there are organized rides put together where all are welcome to come along, and of course people easily connect through the common bond of riding motorcycles, but I feel that The Moto Social provides something that is perhaps deeper and fosters connections that go beyond the bikes. At that Toronto event, camaraderie was all around, it was open to all, and even included us out-of-towners. So needless to say, we were elated to have been asked to host #TheMotoSocialSANFRANCISCO and we're excited to see that same positivity and those bonds develop in our city.

What have you been taught through riding motorcycles and the moto community?

I think the most interesting thing I’ve learned through riding motorcycles is how much it opens you up to experiencing the world you travel through–more so than if you were traveling by car. You get to experience a physical connection with your environment–the road’s twists, turns and imperfections, the sights, sounds and smells. I also love that strangers tend to want to talk to you more about your bike and what you’re doing, and they maybe feel more open and comfortable doing so just because you ride a motorcycle. If motorcycles can create a connection with people who don’t ride, then that connection with the rest of the motorcycle community is surely even more amplified. I could talk for hours with another biker about their background and bike stories, and it’s pretty cool that motorcycles end up being that bridge to enable that. And then there’s the nod/wave and the willingness to help each other out that really makes me feel like we’re all in this together. 

Aside from your city, which of The Moto Social cities would you most want to go visit, and why?

While I’ve visited most of the Canadian cities, I’d love to spend more time in Vancouver. I love the city’s vibe, its geography and greenery. And then it’s really hard to make a call between Auckland and Cape Town because both seem equally amazing for riding and culture. What the hell, how about all of them?!

Top moto hack?

I keep zip ties and bailing wire on me almost always. You never know when a crucial bolt or some other part will rattle loose when you’re out in the middle of nowhere.  If you want to hear a good moto MacGyver hack story - Back when I had a ’78 Honda CB550 years ago, I went out for a ride in a park near my house that's a little desolate in some parts. My electrical went out on a steep, seldom traveled road, and pushing it back home was out of the question and I didn’t have my cell phone on me to call for a tow truck. I pulled off the side cover and narrowed it down to a burnt fuse, which I had no spares to replace it with. I looked at the fuse and noticed that I could twist off the metal end cap. I thought to myself, “If only I had a narrow piece of metal to put into the fuse tube, maybe that would complete the connection.” I looked on the ground and lo and behold in a crack on the road near my bike, I found a thin, small, piece of metal that I was able to bend to fit into the tube to complete the connection between the fuse end caps. I popped the fuse back in and squinted at the dash in anticipation as I turned the key. The dash lit up, the bike kicked over and I quickly rushed to get home before it crapped out on me again. Looking back, I could’ve fried my electrical probably, but I only had a short ride home and decided to risk it. Moral of the story is: keep some spare fuses along with the zip ties and bailing wire.  Also, shout out to the Universe for the assist!

Who is responsible for getting you into riding motorcycles?

I first got into riding through one of my oldest friends, who also convinced me to move up to San Francisco. He had this kinda rusted ’82 Honda 450 Nighthawk that he wanted to get rid of to trade up to a 90’s model 750 Nighthawk. I sprung at the opportunity to buy it for like maybe $500 and was on Craigslist moments later looking for riding gear. I was pretty stoked because I’d always loved the idea of having a bike when I lived in LA, but the freeways there were so chaotic, congested and full of distracted drivers that I knew it probably wasn’t a wise choice to get one at that point. San Francisco was a great place to learn to ride, and we would take the bikes out late at night and hone our riding skills in the Presidio–an old park in SF with lots of history and which was always a ghost town at night.  From there, I got my license and then my realm of exploration expanded North, East and South across the bridges to the mountainous national parks and coastal highways beyond. Riding here in the Bay Area is stunning, and I love showing people the fun local twisties, so definitely give a shout if you happen to be rolling through! And thanks to my bud Anthony for selling me that life changing rusted bucket of bolts on 2 wheels!

 

 
 
 

SARAH WOHL

@ohhappydaily

How did you end up in the city you are hosting?

I was born in Southern California but grew up on the east coast.  After many years of putting up with New England’s temperamental winters, I was itching for a new place to call home and started surfing for jobs on the west coast (best coast 😜). I relocated to San Francisco on my own and without knowing anyone and it has been the best decision I’ve made. It led me to amazing experiences, adventures, great friends, and my now fiancé/fellow #TheMotoSocialSANFRANCISCO host, Erik.

Aside from your city, which of The Moto Social cities would you most want to go visit, and why?

Auckland!  Several friends of ours have toured New Zealand by bike and rave about the beautiful changing landscapes, mellow roads (except for that whole opposite side drive thing) and friendly people. Kiwis tend to think they live in the best country in the world so I’d love to give it a visit and experience what all the hype is about.

What are you most looking forward to in your first season as a Host of #TheMotoSocialSANFRANCISCO?

Though we meet tons of moto-enthusiasts in the Bay Area, there aren’t as many organized events as we’d hope and the ones there are, tend to be large group rides. I’m most excited about kicking off #TheMotoSocialSANFRANCISCO to better connect our community, bring people out of the woodwork and break down barriers to having folks find new friends. It’s pretty incredible how just the simple love of motorcycles is enough of a commonality to bridge gaps in cultures, backgrounds and styles.

Favorite spot in or thing about your city?

That’s a hard question to answer because there are too many amazing things about San Francisco to list. Some of my top favorites are:

  • The views: SF is known for its hills and they are worth the climb.  Whether it’s spotting the stunning orange of the Golden Gate Bridge, seeing the sun glisten over the bay, catching a glimpse of the lofty Coit Tower between rows of San Francisco’s victorian houses, I think it's one of the most beautiful cities in the States.
  • The food: anything you want at any time, SF has some of the best brunch, ethnic cuisine, modern California cuisine and farm to table food finds.
  • The neighborhood culture: every neighborhood in SF has a unique vibe. Everything from the architecture to the microclimate to the shops and eateries, making your way through San Francisco often feels like you’ve traveled to multiple cities because each hood has its own diverse flair.

Who is responsible for getting you into riding motorcycles?

When I moved to San Francisco I started thinking about learning to ride with the hopes of having an easier time commuting around the city. That desire was soon fueled by meeting Erik who shared with me his love of two-wheeled travel. All of our earliest dates involved riding two-up on his Triumph Scrambler, we even went on a long moto camping trip with friends just a few weeks after we had met! Erik helped teach me riding skills, find the right starter bike, and continued to encourage me as a new rider. Now we have a shared passion that takes us all over the globe doing something we love, together.

Bucket list motorcycle trip?

I have a pretty good case of wanderlust and a travel bucket list a mile long. Pretty much any place I’ve dreamt of going I’d also want to ride a motorcycle through. Erik and I rented dirt bikes while in Costa Rica and moto-toured through Colombia. Next on our list is Japan, Iceland and New Zealand.

 


+ MORE FROM THE BLOG