'Enjoy your ride to heaven': UAE community mourns death of popular biker, cafe owner

A banker by profession, Murtaza Moulvi's enthusiasm for bikes prompted him to start Café Rider along with his wife Nicki

by

Nasreen Abdulla

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Murtaza Moulvi
Murtaza Moulvi

Published: Sun 7 Jan 2024, 1:19 PM

Last updated: Sun 7 Jan 2024, 10:44 PM

The motoring community in the UAE is grieving the loss of Murtaza Moulvi, a renowned auto enthusiast who passed away earlier this week. Murtaza, the founder of the auto-themed Café Rider, was widely regarded as a trailblazer in the community. His establishment was a popular hangout location for motoring enthusiasts and seamlessly brought together coffee, custom motorcycles and community in a way no one had ever done before.

On Friday, Café Rider posted about the passing of its “founder, mentor and friend” Murtaza. Describing him as a “trailblazer” and an “adventurer” who “lived life to the fullest”, the team shared that they were grieving but asked its patrons to remember their founder as he would have wanted to — a kind and fearless person. Murtaza is survived by his wife and three daughters.

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A banker by profession, his enthusiasm for bikes prompted Murtaza to found Café Rider along with his wife Nicki over a decade ago. Since then, the establishment has become a meeting point for all motoring enthusiasts in the country.

Tributes pour in

The post received an outpouring of tributes and grief from auto enthusiasts and the larger community.

User Peter Festin wrote: “Our sincere condolences to Nicky and to the whole Cafe Rider Fam. M, our big brother, mentor and truly a good - cheerful friend. I'm gonna surely miss those Cafe Rider days with you M. For sure a lot of people will miss that greatness of yours. You inspired a lot people including me bro. Well, enjoy your ride to heaven now M. Rest well buddy.”

Another user Geraldine recalled being a colleague of Murtaza. “Worked with Murtaza in his role as a Banker. Visionary, collaborator and the most approachable work colleague I have ever worked with. Murtaza did not care about titles and seniority- he treated everyone with the same level of respect.”

Social club Dubai Drives took to social media to thank the establishment. “Cafe Rider changed the game in the UAE. We’ve made friends there, had so many good times, shared war stories and - let’s be honest - had one or two breakdowns. Always in our hearts. Thank you,” it wrote.

Other commentators observed how the café and Murtaza impacted the community. “Bike and car culture thrived in this town largely because of Cafe Rider before 'cars and coffee' was a thing. My condolences to all the team at Cafe Rider,” wrote user Damien Reid.

Café Rider

It was in 2013 that Murtaza and his wife Nicki began thinking about a café for motoring enthusiasts. As a self-confessed diehard biker, Murtaza brought his passion to the table, while Nicki brought her years of experience in sales at Porsche Dubai to give birth to Café Rider. The concept came to life in a warehouse in Dubai’s industrial Al Quoz area. It was something that nobody had ever attempted in the city and came with its own risk.

In 2014, after shipping three Brass Balls motorcycles from Seattle, which were placed in the middle of the café, the doors were opened to one of the city’s first auto-themed café. What followed was a decade of bonding experience where the motoring community came together. Its success spawned several other spin-off auto-themed cafes across the city.

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