If you look back over the course of human history, few things have been as impactful and symbolic as transportation. How we got around from one place to another has evolved with the next generation building upon what past generations have taught them.
Whatever mode of transportation gets you around: your car, bike, boat, etc… it is an extension of your person and you have your own connection with your vehicle.
It’s not just individuals though.
Cities boast about their transit systems and there’s a strong sense of nationalism when it comes to different automakers worldwide. In Minneapolis, we are extremely proud to be one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world!!
Just across the river in St. Paul, lives a guy, with his dog and his bike - a different kind of bike though.
Meet David, founder of CROIG co and Cafe Racers of Instagram. We usually get together a few times a week, along with a few others, and collaborate as we are all in fields relating to one another. Over the weekend, I asked him about his journey with CROIG and what he plans to do next.
When did you learn to ride, and when did you get into cafe racers specifically?
I learned how to ride while I was attending university. After school, my room mate, Adam, showed me some vintage motorcycles and opened my eyes to that world. I realized I didn’t need to go fast to enjoy riding.
The @caferacersofinstagram account now has over 330k followers. How did it begin and what was the growth like?
Well, I started it a year and a half ago and it was originally because I ended up spending a lot of time looking at vintage bikes and wanted to have a place to share all the cool bikes I’d come across. I also really wanted this job at a local digital agency and thought this would be a good way to get their attention - and it worked (though only for a short time) I also got some advice and words of encouragement by my friend Ahmed, who started @dogsofinstagram.
Why the short stay?
Opportunities at the agency didn’t really pan out, but I also realized I already had the job I wanted and decided to take a chance in pursuing it further: building a vintage motorcycle lifestyle brand. CROIG was the hashtag we used on Instagram and it is kinda funny to say, so we stuck with it.
How is CROIG unique from other community-type accounts/ groups you can find online?
CROIG has a very engaged and loyal following. People are so proud of their bikes and very supportive of the greater community of riders. I’ve seen so many rad bikes and have been fortunate to have met some of their owners.
You generally don’t show your face in photos taken of you, why is that?
CROIG is much bigger than I am as an individual. I wanted to keep the focus on the moto community as a whole and create a stage for people to share with one another, and that’s what it’s about.
"People are so proud of their bikes and very supportive of the greater community of riders."
Building the community and the brand and doing this as your full-time job has led to some pretty cool opportunities. Any that stand out in particular?
I’ve been very fortunate to be involved in organizing group rides and meeting other riders. Just last fall we did a 3-week tour of the southwestern U.S. on our CB550’s and rode through all kinds of terrain and conditions - it was one hell of a time and we are hoping to do it again this fall on the East Coast.
We are looking to build a bike in the near future with the hopes of giving it away after the tour and people see it. But meeting Norman Reedus (of The Boondock Saints and Walking Dead fame) last week and riding and grilling steaks with him was pretty cool, too. [big grin]
Quite the contrast from a few months ago, wouldn’t you say?
Seriously, tell me about it. The Instagram account was hacked and compromised, and the hacker began to delete all of the photos intending to sell the account. There were countless nights when I couldn’t sleep and was on the phone contacting anybody I could to try and get the account back.
The community became aware of the hack and mobilized pretty quickly to put me in touch with the right people and help get the account back. I couldn’t do it without them.
The account has tremendous global reach, and it is still growing, but how do you also keep it local?
This was really important to me because at the end of the day, we all like to ride motorcycles and we wanted people to see our support of the motorcycle community both internationally and locally. That’s why we also promote the garage we are based out of called the Moto Collective, a DIY garage focused on building bikes, advocating safe riding, and ultimately building the community here.
Very cool, so what’s next?
We’d like to continue to help build and support the motorcycle culture by starting to create more content that highlights different people within the community. With CROIG, we are also looking to expand into motorcycle products with our E-commerce beyond accessories - so be on the lookout in the future!
Thank you David for this amazing interview and giving us a better picture of how you started. An inspiration to many I think, turning your passion into a full-time job. We wish you all the best in building & cruising!
- Roy -