‘Cafe Racers of Instagram’. The name alone strikes fear and awe into the hearts of anyone who’s ever been foolish enough to try and build a moto-based following on social media. And that’s because once you’ve realised the momentum they have built up over many, many years of hard work, trying to follow in their footsteps seems like an impossible task.
Welcome to the world of one million Instagram followers. Sure, there’s plenty of celebs out there who have more followers than this, but they also have massive PR machines, blockbuster movies and stunning good looks to help them along. All Cafe Racers of Instagram have is David Chang, his mate Andrew, and a shit ton of passion.
I’ve been doing a lot of back and forth traveling between my home in Minnesota and Las Vegas, where I’ve been wrapping up my Built for Good project with Cristian Sosa.
Tell us about your childhood and growing up
I started riding when I went to college. Since I was no longer living at home, I ended up learning how to ride and bought my first bike – a 1989 Yamaha FZR. I eventually upgraded to a new Suzuki GSXR and ended up selling it because I was young, dumb, and wanted to make it to 25. At that time, the amount of stupid fast riding is probably the craziest thing I had done while somehow managing to not crash. Now, I think being able to travel the world on motorcycles is equally if not more crazy.
Photo by Brandon LaJoie
Most people know CROIG as an Instagram account, but what else is it?
Andrew Blaschko (@blaschko.builds) is a partner and has been there since the beginning, from cross country trips to motorcycle builds. Since then, we’ve realized it takes a lot of time to build motorcycles and have started focusing on creating content that lives outside of Instagram – telling stories, building bikes for charity, promoting motorcycle tours, etc.
That’s where Ben Holmes, my producer, comes in. He has been crucial with helping produce content with CROIG. I love working with people that are excited about projects and never want to convince someone to work on something, I think that’s what makes it so enjoyable.
I was also starting to bring friends overseas on moto excursions pre pandemic and that was very exciting. I loved being able to witness someone’s first time experiencing a completely different culture and/or seeing something for the first time. Hopefully it’ll pick up again someday soon and I can continue expanding where we go.
Photo by Brandon LaJoie
What’s an average day of yours look like?
Let’s just say if someone didn’t know me, they would think I’m addicted to my phone cause I’m ALWAYS on it. I am always working on something but luckily, I enjoy most if not all of it. Despite how it may appear on social media, running CROIG involves a lot of planning and time, not just posting photos on an app and all of the projects and campaigns I have done have involved planning and proposing to make things happen. I’m fortunate to have very talented friends that have helped along the way and it makes for a good time when it comes time to work on the project.
Photo by Brandon LaJoie
What’s ‘Built for Good’?
Built for Good is the campaign that CROIG is doing to raise money for Waves for Water. We’re giving away a custom Harley 48 that was built at Cristian Sosa’s shop in Las Vegas over one short week with J Shia from Madhouse Motors, Jay Donnovan, and Joe Mielke. You can donate for a chance to win it at www.croig.co where you’ll also be able to watch the series we shot around the build and find more information.
Prior to everything shutting down, I was traveling a lot which made it hard for me to focus. Built for Good has been a long time coming but it was because of the pandemic that it finally became a reality. Rather than only doing social media campaigns and posting on CROIG all of the time, I wanted to find a way to give the page a purpose that involved the community and my friends doing cool things and this is what we are currently at.
My hope is to be able to do this every year, with different builders (ideally internationally) and open it up so that everyone can donate and help make a difference. I plan to keep working with Waves for Water because clean water is the most basic human need and we have the ability to really make an impact. Also, I want to be able to give my time each year to help volunteer in each of the locations we decide to bring clean water to.
I’ve accumulated a lot of motorcycles over the years but my favorite has been my Triumph Street Cup that we put a fairing on. It looks as if it was factory and I would argue looks just as good as the Thruxton R. We also put this bike on ice up in Minnesota a few winters back and shot this cool video. I’ve also taken it all around the country and it’s got just enough power for everyday riding.
Electric bikes – yes or no?
Yes, although I’ll always prefer gasoline over electric. It’s a completely different riding experience and I’m excited to see what the custom moto scene will continue to build and design since you’re mainly focusing on the aesthetics of the bike and not dealing with the mechanics as much.
What will CROIG look like in ten year’s time?
I’d love to say CROIG ended up building motorcycles and communities by providing clean water to hundreds of thousands of people. I look at the Distinguished Gentlemans Ride and am inspired to see how much impact it has had. I’m trying to create something that I can really be proud of knowing that it had a positive impact and purpose.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing CROIG?
Honestly, I love my job. I took an interest and turned it into something bigger than just me. I might not be money rich but I’m life rich and I’m totally okay with that. As they say, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” and I can agree with that. Although I may find other “work” in the future, I will always choose to do things that will bring me happiness.