10 Questions with Avid Riders
Updated: Dec 27, 2021
Brian Yarnal – Founder of Fueled Motorcycles – Northern Virginia
What bike do you currently ride? I have multiple bikes but my 2006 Honda CRF450X is my go-to dirt bike. It reminds me of The Baja 1000. And my 2016 Ducati 1200R Monster I once heard described as being absolutely euphoric to ride. And I have to agree. (This just happened to be a great picture of my "Old-School" 1997 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11. I still love the sound!)
How long have you been riding? Since I was 4 years old. That gives me 45+ uninterrupted years of riding at this point.
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? Having learned to ride as a kid I didn't need a "learn to ride" course but I have been to many track days that have advanced my skills and confidence tremendously.
In my lifetime of experience I've have ridden with some very skilled riders. There is always something that can be learned from observing and talking with other experienced riders. I recommend taking advanced rider courses or riding with someone who can be a mentor / coach.
If you had to guess, how many pic’s on your phone are of your motorcycle? Hundreds!
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? Yes. Several BMW GS1200’s and a few Harley Davidson models. Most recently I rented a Harley Davidson Ultra for a ride to to Key West. Renting opens the door to riding in more places and avoids trailering your own bike. I’ve always used rental companies like Eagle Rider. I’m anxious to try the variety of bikes offered from TwistedRoad or RidersShare.
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? I think my favorite is my 2012 Ducati 1100 EVO. A fabulous bike for twisty roads. Powerful without being frightening, light weight, sexy Italian styling, fabulous exhaust note, and seems to have torque everywhere in the rev range. Plus, there is something simple and raw about riding an air-cooled twin. ...I do love the Ducati's!
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? UglyBros riding pants. Great fit and flexible where you need them to be. They look like something you would wear even if you were not riding. Deep functional cargo pockets and knee armor that goes in from the outside for easy removal.
What are you most afraid of about motorcycling? Wild animals. Primarily, deer. It’s the unpredictable nature of an animal crossing the road in front of me that concerns me most. Be aware of the risk, stay alert, and reduce speed in low visibility.
Describe one of your most adventurous rides. It would probably be riding the Ring Road around Iceland. It was an amazing adventure with a great friend. But for such an ambitious ride, we kind of just winged it. Letting the ride happen without much of an itinerary only added to our experience.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? When street riding, use the whole road. Setting up wide for a corner allows you to see farther through the turn to identify hazards and find your apex and exit. Not to mention riding from “stripe to stripe” is more fun and allows the bike to flow through corners.
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? I've found great rides are made epic by the people who ride with you. I'm talking with friends about riding the Trans America Trail and considering Italy. So maybe both?!!
Why do you ride? Joy, Exhilaration, Freedom, Adventure, Connection. It’s one of the most “in the moment” things you can do. I just can't get enough of it!
John Jessen – Architect – Seattle, Washington
What bike do you currently ride? I have several and it’s usually hard to choose which one to ride! My go to bike is a 2017 Ducati Multistrada 1200 Enduro. A close second favorite, though, is my 1982 Ducati 900 Super Sport, affectionately known as the Tron bike.
How long have you been riding? I started riding in junior high school then sold my bike after college. I didn’t ride much again until I bought the Multistrada in 2017.
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? Yes, twice. Once as a teenager when I began riding on the streets, and once later in life when I began riding again.
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? Yes, I rented a Harley in Maui. Having never visited Maui before, I didn’t realize the best roads to ride were too much for me on a Super Glide! Wished I had my CRF250 though.
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? My 1982 Ducati 900 Super Sport isn’t the most comfortable to ride but that sound is AMAZING! It gets a lot of attention, as long as I can keep it running…
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? Definitely a helmet communicator. If you’re planning a long ride, this is the accessory you’ll love most. Communicating with other riders or a passenger makes a long trip even more enjoyable. If you take a friend on a special ride, you’ll get to hear all the “wows!” and “oh my gosh’s”. It’s a great way to share a ride.
Describe one of your most adventurous rides. My coast-to-coast ride with Brian Yarnal was a bucket list item achieved! I rode my Multistrada and Brian purchased a similar adventure bike on Craigslist (he sold it in Virginia even before we made it across the country), which was dropped off at our front door the day before we left. We started in San Francisco and ended at home in Virginia. Highlights along the way included stunning canyon scenery on route 12 in southern Utah, riding above the tree line twice in one day in Colorado, and recharging at dozens of Starbucks throughout the country.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? “Follow me” – Brian Yarnal.
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? Tuscany tour in Italy on a rented Ducati.
Why do you ride? Freedom, camaraderie, escape, scenery, discovery, travel, exhilaration.
Chris Jones – Principal, Finance Recruiter – Northern Virginia
What bike do you currently ride? 2012 Triumph Bonneville
How long have you been riding? Since I was 10 years old, with a 20+ year gap. Purchased my first street bike in 2012 for my 40th birthday.
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? Yes. Took the MSF class through Apex
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? No
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? I haven't had the chance to ride too many other bikes. However, I loved taking the Triumph Speed twin for a test ride...the torque that thing has is addictive, combined with its immediate ability to change directions. A true sleeper bike with retro appeal.
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? Ear plugs (...what?!?!)
Describe one of your most adventurous rides. A trip down to the Smoky Mountains/Tail of the Dragon. Rode my Triumph Bonneville on some of the best roads in the world for motorcycles. The scenery is amazing and the roads flow with endless curves, elevation changes and that area of the country is gorgeous.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? Ride your own ride...."we'll all end up at the same place in the end." No need to push beyond your capabilities/comfort zone on the street as you never know what could be on the other side of a corner.
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? None yet… hoping for a return to the Smoky Mountains or a ride down to Southern West Virginia - The Back of the Dragon.
Why do you ride? I ride because it is fun. There is nothing like the feel of a motorcycle. …the acceleration, braking and leaning into a corner/carving corners. …There is nothing like it!
Garret Poston – Safety Engineer – Western Pennsylvania
What bike do you currently ride? 2017 Husqvarna 701 Supermoto
How long have you been riding? Riding since 5th grade, 21 years so far.
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? Yes, turns out dirt and street are more different than I expected. My favorite skill I picked up in the class was for right turning circles - very handy at the gas pumps.
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? No, but I have rented mopeds.
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? I’d have to say my current Supermoto. Gobs of power and still revs out. Super smooth for being a single coffee-can sized cylinder. Tossable like a dirt bike. And southwest PA bumps are no match for that suspension.
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? Earplugs. Never thought I’d say that but here we are. I always assumed it would hamper my situational awareness but it doesn’t at all. Wind noise and exhaust had my ears ringing and I never noticed until now. Hearing doesn’t grow back.
Describe one of your most adventurous rides? My family used to do this thing they called the Fall Leaf Tour every October. All the uncles and friends would gather with 4x4 trucks, old couches in the beds, dirt bikes, 4 wheelers, anything. No holds barred off-roading. These trips showed me dirt bike trails that led from my house to well beyond my town, even connecting to other counties. After this I was able to explore limitless trail heads that seemed to lead everywhere. On my own, in the woods, exploring and discovering. I suppose this is less about one ride and more about an era. I’ve always been chasing and recreating that feeling. I started out on a ‘99 XR100 and ended up with a YZ426F. The 426 wasn’t really a trail bike but I didn’t care. It was a snarling monster and so much fun to blast around on. It had torque everywhere.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? You can’t wear a shirt that says “No Fear” and take the trail around.
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? I’d like more track days. I whet my whistle this past year and would like more. As far as cruises go, I’d love to cover some mountains. No specifics yet.
Why do you ride? It’s simply fun.
Dave Yarnal – Retired Cabinet Craftsman – Western Pennsylvania
What bike do you currently ride? 2009 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Custom
How long have you been riding? I had ATV's most of my life but only got a motorcycle after I retired. Been riding for 10 years.
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? Yes
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? No
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? Current bike is the only one and it seems to fit me well. Low seat height allows for my feet to easily reach the ground at stops.
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? Tourmaster riding gloves.
Describe one of your most adventurous rides? A ride from western Pennsylvania to Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway with many stops at overlooks, old mills and waterfalls. I traveled with a friend who rode a Harley Softtail. My son rode with us on part of the ride and helped lead us through back roads of Virginia.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? Do not ride beyond your comfort zone. If someone is faster than you, they can wait until you arrive.
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? None yet. Just plan to keep riding.
Why do you ride? It is fun! Riding on country roads and out-of-the way places is the best. For me, it is not a means of transportation, but all about adventure.
Katie McKee – School Counselor - Delaware
What bike do you currently ride? 2019 Honda Monkey
How long have you been riding? Only 2 years but have been riding more consistently lately. My now husband, Brian, is a lifelong motorcyclist and one of our first dates was a ride. I loved holding on to him and feeling completely safe and completely free simultaneously. There’s no other way to capture this feeling! I caught the bug and immediately wanted in. I started learning on a Kawasaki KLX 250. Brian is a gifted teacher/coach. I had zero experience on any kind of bike and I have never driven a manual shifting car. What’s a clutch?? The KLX 250 was tall and I was a little nervous not being able to touch the ground, but around the Christmas trees I went. I remember the sound of staying in first gear forever and then eventually being totally stoked taking it into 3rd! I continued practicing until I stalled on a small hill, tipped the bike, and took all the weight on my left foot, breaking it in 2 places. There was no way this was going to stop me and I was ready to get back on when I was healed. Brian had other plans. He bought me a Honda Monkey for my 50th birthday! I love it and I can put both feet flat on the ground.
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? No. But plan to and I learned from a pro.
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? With my man when we travel. I’m on the back, though.
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? My Honda Monkey is great for me. It’s fun, fits me well and is super cute! I LOVE to be on the back of my husband’s Ducati’s.
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? My Shoei GT-Air helmet with an internal tinted visor.
Describe one of your most adventurous rides? My first and only big adventure so far was a ride to an awesome coffee shop on dirt roads. I had to cross some major roads but I practiced coming to a complete stop and then accelerating without stalling. Memorable, as it was my first longer ride.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? Ride at your level, so you can wake up and do it again tomorrow!
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? I’m looking forward to riding locally all summer long!
Why do you ride? For peace, freedom, and to connect with my husband on another level.
J Douglas – Artist – Northern Virginia
What bike do you currently ride? Harley Dyna Super Glide Custom
How long have you been riding? 40+ years
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? Yes
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? No
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? My current Harley.
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? Cardo Connect Helmet Communicators. Great sound, easy to use. Simply Amazing!
Describe one of your most adventurous rides? Virginia to Milwaukee to the HD House and Museum. Rode with 12 police friends of mine. The trip was not without issue. My bike had electrical problems, but the challenge of solving them just added to the adventure.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? Take advanced rider courses.
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? Tail of the Dragon is a must ride.
Why do you ride? Therapy
Curt McKay – Finance Executive – Northern Virginia
What bike do you currently ride? 2009 Suzuki DRZ400
How long have you been riding? Since I was 5. I learned to ride a motorcycle before I learned to ride a bicycle. That’s 45 years. Though there was a period when I was busy with career and raising a family that I got away from it.
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? I have not
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? I have not, but I would.
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? Husky 125 2 stroke motocross bike because it was so light and fun to ride.
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? Riding boots are more important than you may think. Especially if riding off-road.
Describe one of your most adventurous rides. Every ride is great, but I really haven’t done any big adventure rides. Although the last Shenandoah 500 ride was pretty memorable after putting a rock through my engine case.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? Look where you want to go.
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? Nothing yet, but the Trans America trail is on my list.
Why do you ride? Why wouldn’t you ride?
Ted Delio – Transit/Roadway Engineer – Northern VA
What bike do you currently ride? Triumph Speed Triple (2011)
How long have you been riding? 9 years? I think...
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? Yes! Of course. Everyone should. (MRC in Northern VA)
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? I have not... but I would
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? My Speedy. It's awesome, and can do anything - rip corners, beat a lot of bikes out there off the line, cruise, travel, even be packed with gear. It's really all-around capable.
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? Bluetooth helmet speakers - game changer. Also nothing like a properly fit and comfortable helmet - don't skimp, and do it right. Thirdly, comfy riding pants you will want to wear - worth the investment for the safety you'll reach for every ride.
Describe one of your most adventurous rides. Two come to mind... went on an epic trip to south western VA, NC, GA to ride the Smokey Mountains and hit Tail of the Dragon among many other amazing roads. That was incredible. I also rode solo from DC to Cape Cod MA for vacation which I would do again in a heartbeat - so much fun. Took my time, saw friends along the way, found back roads, almost ran out of gas...twice. Phenomenal.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? Ride within your limits, and always give yourself an out in traffic. Getting rear-ended is no fun - ask me how I know.
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? None yet, sadly. But it's still 2021 as I write this, so anything can happen!
Why do you ride? For the soul. And for me, to carry on a small piece of family tradition in a way. My uncle, cousins, and even my mother all rode at some point (some still do). It's cool to me to be a part of that and to share our stories along the way.
Jeff Sanford – National Sales Manager, Johns Island, SC
What bike do you currently ride? 2008 Suzuki DRZ 400 SuperMoto
How long have you been riding? Learned to ride on a friend's 1974 Honda MR50. (Wasn’t allowed to have my own bike as a kid. I was in my 20's when I bought my first bike and have now been riding for 30+ years.)
Have you taken a motorcycle safety course? No
Have you ever rented a motorcycle? Only ever rented a moped on vacation.
What is your favorite bike that you have ridden and why? Ducati Hypermotard- Comfortable riding position, great performance, looks awesome.
What favorite piece of gear would you recommend others try? Anything from Jane Motorcycle in NYC/Brooklyn. Norman Riding Pants are my favorite. They can be worn for safety when riding, or while hanging out. They have slots for knee and hip armor. All of their stuff is really cool.
Describe one of your most adventurous rides. I have been on many rides with Brian, our Fueled host. It is so hard to narrow it down. Every ride has been an adventure. I have been on the "Fall Leaf Tours" described by some on the blog, we have done covered bridge rides in Amish Country, Lighthouses in NJ. The Tail of the Dragon, Smokey Mountains to name a few. No matter where the destination is or whether we are on dirt bikes or road bikes, we always have a great time. We have had great weather, enjoyed amazing scenery...we ate Pancreas! #saveferris. Some rides we got caught in the rain (for 4 days straight) (insert another rider tip here...check the weather and pack accordingly!), we have had rides where we broke down and had to be rescued. No matter what the circumstance, it's all about the adventure, and the experience, and it has always led to meeting great people, lots of laughs, and great stories.
What is the best riding advice you’ve received? Like most everyone has received in the past, ride within your limits, Enjoy the ride, stop and see the sites, and experience everything along the way. If you are the first to the destination, and your knuckles are white, I would argue, you missed the point of the ride.
What epic ride do you have planned for 2022? Nothing planned for 2022 yet. Just looking for an opportunity to tag along on a ride with my friends at Fueled in the coming year. (assuming I can borrow one of his bikes...again! (I asked for a motorcycle...I got a computer instead...how's that for being born under a bad sign.) #ferrisbueller
Why do you ride? It's fun, it's an escape from the norm. You can have a cool car and go for a drive and it's fun, but for some reason, it still does not compare to the experience you will have on a bike.