CROIG: aka @caferacersofinstagram
Motorcycles and Adventure go hand in hand. The freedom that comes with riding a motorcycle is unsurpassed. If you’ve never ridden a motorcycle you are truly missing out on one of the greatest experiences a man or woman can have. When you get into motorcycles not only are they a joy to ride, but a joy to admire. Each bike has a personality of its own, and it seems the more your ride the more your bike develops a greater personality. One of the coolest genres of motorcycles is the vintage and modern Cafe Racer.
What is a Cafe Racer you may ask?
A café racer (/ˈkæf reɪsər/ kaf-ray-sər or less commonly /ˈkæfi ˌreɪsər/ ka-fi-ray-sər) is a light-weight, lightly-powered motorcycle optimized for speed and handling rather than comfort — and optimized for quick rides over short distances. With bodywork and control layout recalling early 1960’s Grand Prix road racing motorcycles, café racers are noted for their low slung racing handlebars, prominent seat cowling and elongated fuel tanks, often with indentations to allow the rider’s knees to grip the tank. The term itself developed among British motorcycle enthusiasts of the early 1960s, specifically the Rocker or “Ton-Up Boys” subculture where the bikes were used for short, quick rides between cafés — in other words, drinking establishments. (info from Wikipedia)
One of the best outlets to admire cafe racers is though the social media outlet, Instagram.
We caught up with the guy behind the super popular Instagram feed @caferacersofinstagram that hosts over 190,000 followers and had a few questions about how it started and where it’s headed.
BC: How did @caferacersofinstagram aka CROIG start and the initial thoughts behind it?
CROIG: Well, I started the page just because I wanted to show people that I know how to run social media so its almost like I was trying to create a portfolio, I was not happy with a job so I just decided to try something different and cafe racers were obviously a big part of my interests so it was just natural to do that find cool photos of builds and share them and thats how it came to be. It just started taking off and growing very quickly and I don't know I just continually posted content and it kept growing.
BC: When did CROIG start officially?
CROIG: Officially I posted my first post on December 30 of 2013 and it was a clutch motorcycles build, I think it was of a nice little XS650 cafe racer.
BC: Why motorcycles and specially cafe racers?
CROIG: Well, I started ridding sport bikes since collage and I've been doing that for a long time and I don't know it was to intense all the time and I just wanted to enjoy riding and being on a sport bike your kinda crunched up and uncomfortable. So, one day I had a roommate who was getting into more vintage motorcycles and showing me pictures and we started talking and ever since then I was hooked. I just got into vintage motorcycles and I don't know there is just so much more character to them and the fact that your riding an old machine around and your bring it back to life. And also the community all around the vintage bikes. I guess I was just hooked on everything.
BC: When did the Instagram feed start taking off and how has the public response been since it's conception?
CROIG: Well, lets see.... I think it just started taking off pretty quickly. Initially, I had to be a little more proactive you know reach out to people and always search the hashtags and just try to find the most interesting builds but then even after a month it started growing quite quickly thats when I really noticed or realized that maybe I should take it a little more serious, within the first two months even, and its just been growing quicker and faster and exponentially every day. its pretty amazing just goes to show how popular or how cool the scene really is. People from all over the world are starting to follow the account.
BC: So, I found a video online when your feed hit a hundred thousand. When did you hit a hundred thousand and how did that video come about? CHECK IT OUT BELOW
CROIG: Aww man, I think I hit a hundred thousand in October of 2014, I'm not quite sure. The mural video came about from some close friends of mine from collage and one was a roommate and it just made sense because we always talked and collaborated and tried to brain storm all the time. So, we decide to show off the talent and thats how it came to be. We planned it and they executed it.
BC: So, is it hard to maintain such a successful Instagram feed?
CROIG: Yes and No. I think a lot of it just comes from my interest in motorcycles so its not like I'm having a hard time coming up with content but at the same time you can start over thinking things. Its really strange because I try to do it as organically as possible, I try not to turn this into something thats just not fun anymore. So, for me its just been a great hobby or side gig or whatever you want to call it. Just being able to be able to talk with people, read about peoples stories, and see some of these builds come into fruition.
BC: Do you feel any pressure from the Instagram community?
CROIG: Not really. I try not to let it be that way. I think the community has only been great to me. With our recent tour and getting to meet everyone its been nothing but positive vibes so far. So, no, I really don't feel much pressure. I'm just trying to do what I enjoy and be creative and have fun in the process.
BC: Have you had any whack or hater comments?
CROIG: Ya, I mean I definitely had that before. You know people just saying, Oh, Its just hipster shit or whatever. But when it comes down to it you know I'm happy with what I'm doing and I really just try not to let negativity bring me down. When it come shown to it, whats the worst thing that came happen riding around meeting people on 40 year old motorcycles and seeing new things everyday.
BC: Has this Instagram feed changed your life and if so how?
CROIG: Well, its allowed me to express my self creatively and also I don't know its interesting just being able to start talking with all these builders I used to follow and being more connected with the community. There's so much to say. I mean I wouldn't have expected within one year that I'd be spending three weeks on the road meeting people that I didn't know at all and befriending them, seeing community in each area, state, city whatever you want to call it. In a weird way its faith in humanity restored because I've never experienced anything like that before. It's defiantly a once in a life or first in a lifetime experience. But, its been over whelming in such a good way though.
BC: Can you tell us a little bit of the brand and the products you have been working on for CROIG?
CROIG: As far as the brand we are just going to work on collaborating with people within the community that are like minded and try to bring some cool products to people that are unique that they will enjoy. We have been working on a backpack, a bag that you use for everything for school, carry around town, take on a weekend trip, so I thought I would give it a shot and their is this local lady here in Minnesota that was doing some good things and we met up and came up with this design. So over last summer we shot ideas back and forth and decided to give it a go. We are definitely looking to come out with more products hopefully this spring. With the t-shirts those are all done with local designers, but we are working on being able to create prints again with people within the motorcycle community. So pretty much everything will have a collaborative mindset for the most part. It will be some select products that we believe in. We are wanting to have a website where people can go to and see some cool stuff. And from there I don't know I guess the sky is the limit.
BC: Switching gears a little, How did the CROIG southwest tour get started and what are some of the highlights from the trip?
CROIG: Well, with the page I was able to get my foot in the door at a local advertising agency and gain some experience. It really just opened my eyes to the advertising world. In October unfortunately due to budget it didn't end up working out at the agency, but that ended up kinda being a blessing in disguise it allowed me to have the free time to plan the tour. It was already something that was on my mind for 2015 but with the timing it just made sense to pack up and hit the road. You know try to figure out what the next step was. Andy ( @cb_builds ) and I started talking and planning and do it all together within a month and found some really cool sponsors and ya the ride just ended up being absolutely amazing just being able to literally meet everybody through Instagram and plan each stop in each city with people from the community and they open up their homes and showed us everything around in their area. It was an experience that I can't really say that I've ever experienced before.
BC: Where did the tour start and end?
CROIG: We started I'm Minneapolis, Minnesota. we bought a van for four hundred bucks the morning we are supposed to leave because our ride fell thru and we just wanted to make it work still. we drove through a couple snow storms and made it down to Austin, Texas. from there we were able to sell the van and hit the road on two wheels. Started off in Austin head to Houston then went to San Antonio, and from there we started heading towards Albuquerque, New Mexico. From Albuquerque we rode eight hours straight to Phoenix, Arizona, from there went through Sedona, The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Then we headed over to Durango, Colorado, back down through Taos, New Mexico then back up to Denver, Colorado where our trip ended. We had a buddy come down and pick us up to take us make to Minnesota. All together it lasted three weeks.
BC: What are some of the goals for CROIG in 2015?
CROIG: Well, I think I just want to continue being a positive influence on the motorcycle community. Giving a voice or being able to show case people of all spectrums of the motorcycle community. You have your professional builders but at the same time there are people who are doing really cool things just in their basement or their garage. So you know there's no discrimanation it's just lets create something really amazing out of these vintage machines. I just want to continue showcasing that, I want to continue bring the community even closer, so breaking barriers even between languages and stuff, you know its pretty universal when you are able to share a motorcycle with a community. BC: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, and we wish you the best of luck with CROIG and all your future endeavors.