In today’s fast paced world, the concept of instant gratification is attained through Instagram. Everyone’s attention used to be on Blogger three years ago, but most blogs are considered dead today. There are many that remain relevant and are proudly featured on our blogdump. To be considered, you must meet a long list of criteria set by the moderators. These include, but are not limited to, scope of coverage, local or national scene coverage (like a news source), informative, longevity, and interest factor. ChopCult member, Brian Tosca, created Gophers and Cheese in 2010 and has been posting ever since. We had the opportunity to finally meet at the Mama Tried Motorcycle Show. Most people were introducing themselves with their IG handles so it was refreshing to hear a blog title used. We’d like to thank Brian for helping us with this feature and for keeping his blog alive!
Name: Brian Tosca
ChopCult profile name: GophersAndCheese
Location: Minneapolis, MN
What is your profession? I work at the HQ of a well-known retailer
What type of motorcycle do you ride? I have a 2004 XL1200C and a 2008 FLHRC. The Sportster was my first motorcycle. I bought it in 2006 and have been hooked ever since. Once I bought the Road King, I started chopping the Sportster and it looks A LOT different than the day I bought it. CTFS!
Gophers and Cheese logo created by Shawn Dickinson.
When was the “Gophers and Cheese“ blog created? What’s with the name? I started Gophers and Cheese in March 2010. Prior to starting my own blog, I would post occasionally on the XLForum. “Gophers and Cheese” refers to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Minnesota is the Gopher State and Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, famous for cheese. The name doesn’t exactly conjure images of motorcycles but it tends to stand out and definitely keeps me from taking myself too seriously. Shawn Dickinson brought it to life with his drawing that I use for a logo.
I love that all of the photos on your blog are yours. When did photography come into your life? I take a lot of pride in the fact that my blog features over 8,000 photos that I took. That’s not to say I think they’re all great works of art or anything – it’s just that I’m proud to share original content and feature local bikes and local events that I’ve personally seen and attended. Using the word “photography” might give me a little too much credit. I am not a professional photographer, don’t own a DSLR (yet), and have never even taken a class. Most of my recent photos were either taken with my iPhone5 or my Sony NEX-3 camera. I’ve always liked taking pictures, even when I was a kid, but I really started to get into it when digital cameras came out and I no longer had to pay to have every photo developed. These days it’s not unusual for me to take a few hundred photos at a bike show. Once I sift through them all to find my favorites, I crop, edit, and watermark each one before organizing them into groups and writing up blog posts about them. So, the entire process is very time consuming and is why I’m always behind posting stuff on my blog.
Photos by Brian Tosca.
Gophers and Cheese is plum full of event coverage, which states do you mostly attend for events? Mostly Minnesota and Wisconsin near Minneapolis & St. Paul. But, I’ve ridden to Iowa, South Dakota, and Wyoming too. Part of the reason I started the blog was to showcase local events as I found it difficult to know when they were and what they were about. I tend to gravitate towards shows that feature garage-built bikes and vintage bikes. In addition to all the local stuff, I’ve taken a few trips where I’ve rented bikes too (NV, AZ/CA, and TN/NC) so if you see a photo of me on a Road Glide or Street Glide, it was one of those trips.
Is there an event you haven’t attended but hope to? If yes, which one and why? I’d love to make it out to Born Free at some point. But, if someone offered me an all-expense paid trip to any show, I’d probably pick Yokohama because I’ve always wanted to visit Japan. I’m pretty sure the show would be awesome too.
Most people have stopped reading blogs and concentrate solely on Instagram. Do you feel Instagram has hurt your readership? I’m a big fan of Instagram, but I’m not giving up the blog anytime soon. The way I look at it is that Instagram has enabled me to reach and interact with far more people than I could have with my blog alone. I try to use Instagram to complement my blog, not replace it. I’ll post photos live from various rides and events and I’ll use it to let people know when there’s a new blog post on the site. I try to share lots of unique photos and edits on Instagram to give people a good reason to visit both. As much as I like Instagram, there are many things I think blogs do better. You can group photos and tell stories much better on a blog. If they’re well-organized and contain good descriptions, blogs can also be a great way to learn about a topic and will tend to show up in search engine results like Google.
Congratulations of your fifth year anniversary operating “Gopher and Cheese “. What are some of your proudest moments? Thanks! In February 2013, Allen from Lady Hump ran a Blogopshere challenge that was only open to 100% original content blogs. Gophers and Cheese took first place, partly due to my procrastination. Minnesota is freezing cold and covered in snow in February but I had a lot of photos from shows in 2012 that I hadn’t posted yet so I had more than enough original content to last me through the winter. The day Gophers and Cheese was added to Chop Cult’s Blog Dump was a huge moment in the blog’s history. Now every post I share has a MUCH larger reach than ever before. Last year one of my photos was used on an episode of American Pickers, which was pretty cool. I thought it was hilarious to see “Gophers and Cheese” listed in the show’s credits alongside the Library of Congress. While those are a few big milestones, what I really enjoy is when someone tells me that they like the site or (better yet) learned something from it. Some people just like the photos, others like the event coverage or learning about local events they might not have heard of. And others like the tech write-ups when I modify my bikes.
Is there anyone you would like to thank? Yes! Fans, followers, and friends of Gophers and Cheese (you know who you are), Harley-Davidson, Lisa at Chop Cult, Allen at Lady Hump, Bert at the XLForum, Bastard Rob at QCB, Jeff at CoC, Zac at Heavy, Kevin Baas, Jordan Dickinson, Shawn Dickinson (no relation to Jordan), Biltwell, Lowbrow Customs, and all the people who put on great events around the Twin Cities including Donnie Smith, Chris Thomas (Cee Tee), Tom Rad, Ton-Up Minneapolis, the SCVR, Konawerks/Grumpy’s, everyone involved with Full Tilt, the EFMC, Roy’s Repair, Team Strange, Chad Pearson, Andrew Hull, Dan Raleigh, and the owners of Dulono’s Pizza. While I’m at it, I’d also like to thank the inventors of Loctite, zip ties, and Spray Max 2K. Most of all I want to thank my family for their inspiration & support and I especially want to thank my wife for putting up with me riding around, attending events, taking photos, and then blogging about it for the past 5+ years.
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