mahabis photo essay // hitting the californian coast on an electric bolt

This photo essay and the story behind it is essentially a behind-the-scenes look at a product shoot by freelance photographer Monica Semergui . While we wouldn't usually indulge in a commercial photo shoot this one was a bit different- the product was the Bolt M-1, a high tech, fully-electric motorbike produced by a local San Francisco company that goes by Bolt Motorbikes.

This was also a pro-bono job undertaken with an attitude of absolute glee as the glorified bicycle zipped along the winding streets of San Francisco and beyond. 




‘This collaboration was a labour of love and friendship. Supporting small enterprises in our community is something I haven’t given much thought to before.' - Sermegui wrote on





She is an accomplished commercial and travel photographer originally from Romania but has been living in San Francisco for the last 11 years with an interest in tech start-ups and travel photography. This shoot was quite typical of her portfolio- real people and real light. We love the lack of filters and photoshop.





The early shots were taken behind around Parnassus near the Golden Gate Park. Then it was on to the Great Highway, the Inner and Outer Sunset districts, and in two other locations around Potrero Hill. 

The shots for Bolt look carefree but actually Semergui had a crew of three and two vehicles beside the bike. She hung out the window of the car shooting away as a rented truck follow behind. Occasionally she and her crew packed the bike into the truck to get to the next locations quicker-the Bolt may sound fast, but actually it only goes around 32 miles an hour. 

But sometimes it's neither size nor speed, but attitude that makes you cool.





In California, and many other parts of the world you don't need a motorbike or driver’s license to ride a vehicle with the speed potential and motor size of the Bolt. In usual mode it goes under 32 km per hour (which keeps it legal without a license in California) but for those wild at heart it can get up to 56 km per hour in sports mode!





The Bolt runs on an electric motor powered by a single battery which will take you about 80 km on the one charge (carry a spare if you need to go further in one day). Some of the advantages of the electric bike include that the engine doesn’t require any maintenance, there are no gas fumes produced as you recharge and very little on the road. You never need to worry about oil changes, chain replacement or spark plugs ever. 

The disadvantage would be when a Harley pulls up next to you at the stoplights and your eco-electric bike looks a little less powerful. 





Okay, so you won't ride to Vegas on it but you will find it the most hassle freeway, cheap, environmentally friendly and economic way to get around town. The youth of Italy and Spain rode around on mopeds looking supercool for generations.  It's small enough to pull into the hallway or onto the porch of your house or apartment too. If you are trying to downsize the stress and simplify your life, this the kind of convenient comfort piece to go with your loft-living and workday-in-slippers type lifestyle.




Sermergui said that she wanted to support a local start-up business and a form of transportation that is environmentally friendly.

'’s great to see innovation in transportation that takes into account renewable energy options.'

For more about the days shoot and adventure (which included a minor police pursuit and a bike flip) check out the whole photo essay in the photographers on words on  You can check out and ponder investing in a Bolt M-1 at

You can also see more of Semergui work at


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