Beachroad head to BurgerFuel in Jumeirah to meet Del Michael Gasan the founder of Cafe Racers Middle East, The Café Racer sub-culture has created a separate look and identity taking style elements from American Greasers, British Rockers, 70s bikers, and modern motorcycle riders to create a global style of their own.
NAME? // Del Michael Gasan.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // I believe it was in a hotel, in the laundry room folding linen if I remember correctly… lol.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION? // Community Manager / Founder of Cafe Racers Middle East.
WHERE DO YOU LIVE IN DUBAI? // The Springs.
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO EAT, SHOP, SOCIALIZE IN DUBAI? // I like Cafe Rider, Salt, XDubai Skate Park, Mall of the Emirates, Bikers Cafe, Taqado Mexican Kitchen and Kite Beach.
YOUR TAKE ON DUBAI AS A CITY AND ITS RAPID CHANGES? // Dubai is awesome! As someone who enjoys a variety of different activities, there is so much to do here! I have a lot of places to ride my bike, meet my friends, unwind and relax. Dubai is big enough that you can disappear when you want to… and close enough to see your buddy’s at any time.
WHY SHOULD SOMEONE VISIT DUBAI? // Dubai is a very modern city that keeps its cultural heritage and warm nature close to heart. I mean… as if the tallest building in the world, an indoor ski slope and an island shaped like a palm aren’t enough!
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE CAFE RACER SCENE IN THE UAE? // There is a growing Cafe Racer and Custom Bike scene in the Middle East that has evolved rapidly over the last couple of years. Cost savings on fuel, a population made up of individuals from all over the world and next-to-nothing import duties has resulted in some of the most unique and awe-striking creations on our roads. As the number of these retro machines are expanding in the region, we at CRME are doing our part to help encourage this trend and to raise global awareness of our niche community.
WHAT BIKES DO YOU OWN PERSONALLY? // I’ve had my 2009 Triumph Bonneville from day one, which has traveled around with me and my grandfather’s 1961 Matchless which I inherited last year.
ANY ROADTRIP MISHAPS? // Anyone who has rode with me will tell you I am notorious for breakdowns and on occasion been too lazy to get petrol… haha. Jumping on the back of one of your buddy’s cafe racers to fill a petrol can takes your friendship to new level… lol.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START CRME AND ANY CHALLENGES ALONG THE WAY? // Some believe biking is in the blood and in my case this very well may be true. My grandfather used to work on motorcycles for the British troops during their occupation of India in 1947 and went on to open the then famous Merlin Motors. My father was a Rocker and used to roll around Bristol, England on his 1970 Triumph Bonneville T120R in his leather jacket. I have always been drawn to urban biker culture and have been fascination with the 1950s and 1960s. I launched Cafe Racers Middle East (C.R.M.E) in July 2013 as a way of giving people in the region a base, a forum to share ideas, ask about parts and share their bikes and experiences. In addition we wanted to also show the international biker community what we could do. Cafe Racers Middle East have always been supportive of the local builders, garages, regional bike mags, competitions and bloggers whom help us build our culture and community. Gone are the days of struggling to get parts, help and part advice! We believe it is imperative to establish a community of like-minded individuals who love these timeless machines and to give them a forum to share their creativity, experiences and inspiration.
Challenges include: people call us “elitists” because we try to group a style of bikes together. We try not to get pulled into any of the rivalry that the bike garages and bike cafe’s have with each other. Basically we are cool with anyone who shows us love and supports the community.
WHAT 5 BIKES WOULD YOUR DREAM GARAGE CONTAIN? // 1948 Vincent Black Shadow, 1961 Triumph TR6 Trophy, 2017 BMW R9T Scrambler, 2016 Thruxton R, 1969 CB760.
YOUR FAVOURITE MOTORCYCLE BRAND? // Unquestionably Triumph.
YOUR FAVOURITE CLOTHING / FASHION BRAND? // Vans, FSAS, Nike, Carhartt… street wear in general.
BIKES ASIDE WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER PASSIONS? // I love skateboarding and have recently got back into it about 15 years not skating, it’s surprising how your muscle memory comes back… but don’t get me wrong, you ache for days after. I also love my low-rider Mexican bicycle, live music, street art and hanging with my Frenchie Dax.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Riding my motorcycle and chilling at the Beach.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Small spaces.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // I believe it was watching fireworks… or Christmas tree lights… lol, I’m still not sure.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // that would be Steve McQueen! McQueen could take anything and make it look awesome, He rode a triumph and did his own stunts he rarely wore ties. Unless he was wearing a suit, he would likely never be seen in a tie. Everything about McQueen was cool.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY MOTORCYCLE OR AUTOMOTIVE LEGEND WHO WOULD IT BE? // Steve McQueen… hands down!!!!!
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF OWNING A CAFE RACER? // They are awesome, sleek, nostalgic time machines! However your back and wrists do get sore due to the aggressive riding position.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // A beard kit for my buddy’s birthday.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Don’t be in a rush to grow-up fast, stay young and have fun!
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // Sometimes I can be a perfectionist and sometimes I can be over excited.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Selfishness and rudeness.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // Jay Hernandez.
FAVOURITE MUSIC // Indie / Rap.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // ‘ The Flaming Lips’ – Yoshimi battles the pink robots
FAVOURITE BOOK? // Scar Tissue – Autobiography of Anthony Kiedis
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // I believe the same one … lol.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // I flew though a windshield at the age of 3, still have stitches in my head from it.
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // London.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Not been somewhere I’ve not liked yet.
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Ride, skate, beach or hit a spa.
ARE YOU SPORTY? // I’d say 50/50, …. I try to be!
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Urban.
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Meme’s and dry humor
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // Sad stuff.
YOUR MESSAGE? // We want to thank everyone for their consistent support and encouragement. Check out our new website www.caferacersme.com to see what’s new and support our growing community!
Photography credits : Sean Blake / Portraits of a rider / Mario Diaz / LH Photography / Aimen Alwen