Relevance within a community has to be built. This is especially true when motorcycles are involved: this is a community that values hard work and rewards sacrifice. It didn’t take long for David Chang and Andy Blaschko of @caferacersofinstagram to figure that out. We got a chance to chat with David recently. David knew early on that to make an impact it would take effort. He needed to create connections, nurture relationships, get some grease under his nails and sweat the small stuff. An enthusiast since his college days, a passion for the timeless style of the cafe racer developed out of a realization that fully-faired sport bikes were wasted speed machines in a congested city. That and the fact that any cafe racer is beautiful to behold made his decision to focus on this particular community a natural decision. Documenting and celebrating something you love is a gratifying task.
“Initially I focused on social media to try to build a following so I could get an advertising job.” His plan worked and he was hired, but four months into this career something was missing. Soon Croig Co., a small motorcycle shop in Minneapolis, became the focus of all of his energies and, along with partner in crime Andy, a community was embraced.
“Our shop is open to other makes and models but Hondas are inexpensive, easy to work on and pretty much bulletproof.” David continued, “my first bike (after giving up sport bikes) was a CB750 bobber and I’m still riding a CB now.” The two combined their efforts on a custom CB350 for this year’s Handbuilt Show in Austin. On top of that, the duo is aiming to develop a catalogue of bolt-on parts that CB owners without access to a full fabrication shop can install on their own builds as well as a unique concept for rider safety; boots with glow-in-the-dark soles.
The boots are a collaboration with themselves, the Thursday Boot Company and Greenwich Vintage. “We reached out to Thursday Boots to see if they wanted to expand their audience to include motorcycle riders.” The partnership has been a natural fit. “We wanted to work with a smaller company so our collaboration could grow organically — so we wouldn’t just become a number associated with a product style”.
“Product development and bringing something to fruition has its hurdles, yes, but I’m not complaining. I work with people and products that I really enjoy. We want people to see our products and not have them be just another brand. We want to inspire people through our adventures and things we create to get on bikes themselves, to grow this community — to help them decide to take the plunge on their own adventures”.
Last fall Andy and David committed themselves to a tour around the American South West. “Andy was already headed that way to meet up with some friends so I decided to join him on a bit of whim. In three weeks we racked up 3,000 miles and got the chance to meet all of these amazing people we had connected with on Instagram — they took us in, let us crash on their couch, hung out with us — they were all amazing.” Documenting this adventure — and many others since — on their own Instagram account, @caferacersofinstagram, blew up. They now have about a quarter-million followers and are arguably one of the most relevant documentarians of the cafe racer movement in the entire community.
Note: After conducting our interview with David, their handle was taken over by a hacker that attempted to “sell” the account. After a #STOCKTHEHACK campaign went viral throughout the motorcycle community, the team at Instagram kicked out the hacker and restored @caferacersofinstagram to it’s true owners. We are happy to have them back.