About

Me and Dad

Me and Dad (he’s the cool one on the Harley)

My name is Dan Zinn.  I’m 26 years old, an avid — yet beginner — motorcycle rider, and finishing up a year long assignment in Beijing, China working for one of the world’s top IT companies.

How I got to this point in my life I honestly don’t know.  I had dreams.  Big dreams.  Dreams of being an astronaut, dreams of being a fireman, dreams of inventing some ridiculous contraption that solved world hunger.  During my senior year at Cornell I even made a bet with friends that I would take up bowling. If I could find a way to average 200 pins per game before graduation I would quit the job I had yet to start and instead focus on joining the professional bowling association.

In the end, these dreams of mine didn’t come to fruition, but new dreams continued to pop up.  That’s the beauty of being able to dream.  But following one of the largest economic disasters in world history, I began to wonder how much dreaming people my age could really afford to do.  Many of my friends are without jobs and struggling to pay off the enormous debt they amassed during undergrad and grad schools.  I’ve been lucky enough to have had a well paying job since graduating, but I know most of the country’s young adult population has not been so fortunate.

After living in China and getting a sense for the kind of despair and uncertainty certain governmental policies can produce, I’m ready to come home to “the land of the free and the home of the brave” and see for myself how free and brave it still is.  I want to go out in search of the American Dream, or at least what’s left of it, and see how people my age are dealing with the unique challenges our generation has been tasked to deal with.

To do so, I plan to follow one more dream of mine by riding an American icon, a Harley Davidson, around the country for the three months leading up to the 2012 presidential election.  Along the way, I will stop at some of the world’s most influential cities, some of the smallest towns on the map, and everything in between.  I will travel from NY to Seattle, down to San Diego, out to Key West and finally back up to NY.

One thing I’ve learned in China is that you have to say “yes” to new experiences and see where things take you.  As Robert Frost wrote in his famous poem The Road Not Taken, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.”  With this as my motto, during the trip, whenever it comes down to making a decision on where to go or what to do next, I will boil it down to two options and flip a coin.  Whichever it lands on is the way I will travel next.

Ultimately, I want to hear what America’s next generation of leaders – The Millennial Generation, Generation Y, Generation Next… my generation – is saying about our future.  I will talk to people.  Get a sense for what they’re doing.  Work odd jobs even.  Do whatever it takes to meet people who have a different mindset and people that I hope still have that dream alive in them to make something more of themselves and of our country, even in the face of such a difficult and trying time in our history.

Join me as I take to the road on the steal horse I will ride, as I venture out West and back again, and see what the young adults of America have to say and offer to this great and vast country of ours.

Recent Posts

Introducing #Olympiarides Motorcycle Rider: Dan Zinn

Teamed up with Olympia Gloves and will be guest blogging, tweeting, instagraming — all that good stuff — for them.  Just posted my first blog post, a profile about myself and how I got into riding.

I’ve copied it below, but the original page can be found here: http://www.olympiagloves.com/blog/introducing-motorcycle-rider-dan-zinn

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Introducing #Olympiarides Motorcycle Rider: Dan Zinn

Dan Zinn and Lucky ride a motorcycle cross country #olympiarides

We’re excited to introduce Dan Zinn today. Dan is our first #Olympiarides rider!

Dan is pending Guinness World Record approval for his motorcycle trip last year, a 14,000 mile, 58 day epic ride on a 2004 Harley through 38 states. Read about his ride on Dan’s trip blog.

Dan will be road testing some of our gloves, and posting pictures and video, along with the hashtag #Olympiarides, if you want to follow along on Twitter.

Read the story below, meet Dan and find out how he first became a rider.  (Spoiler alert: the girl’s long gone, Dan still rides!)

******

The Day I Became a Rider
by Dan Zinn

Just as the snow began hitting the ground in New York in early 2007, I packed up my things, hopped on a plane, and moved out to San Jose, California.

It was the second semester of my junior year of college. I was starting an internship with a tech company in the Bay Area. Getting paid, getting credit, in California. Winter doesn’t get much better for a guy from NY.

There was a downside, though. Shortly before moving out, I found myself falling into a serious relationship with a girl named Dalia. Go figure. I hadn’t been in a relationship since high school, and now that I’m moving 3,000 miles across the country I finally start one. Murphy’s Law, I guess.

With Valentine’s Day looming on the horizon, I sent her a ticket to visit.

******

As her flight arrived, I was waiting for her at the baggage claim with a bouquet of her favorite flowers (bright pink Dahlias, of course).  I wanted to make sure we had a magical few days together before she went back east. There was no time to waste.

I threw her luggage in the trunk of my 5 year old, rainy-day gray Enterprise-Rent-A-Car Dodge Neon, and we began the drive south.

Our first stop was to be Santa Barbara. We had two options:

(a) A 5 hour, 320 mile drive down the boring, straight, and car-cluttered US-101; or
(b) An 8 hour, nearly 400 mile trek down US-1: the Pacific Coast Highway.

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, you can guess which route I decided to take.

As we passed Carmel on a majestic stretch of the PCH, the sun started to peak its way over the mountains to the east. The scenery was breathtaking. Unfortunately, my plan of wooing the girl of my dreams above the crashing waves of the Pacific was thwarted by a slight oversight on my part. Dalia had just taken the red eye from New York. Within 15 minutes of leaving SF she was fast asleep in the passenger seat.

So there I was. A gorgeous girl to my right, an even more gorgeous backdrop behind her. But I was, essentially, all alone.

Something about that road made it easy to dream about the future. I found my mind wandering from thinking about the “now” to thinking about the “what’s to come next.” And it was during that blissful fog of thought that I was snapped back to consciousness by the roar of an engine. And then another whizzed by. And then another.

A group of 15 sport bikes, all with riders donning full racing garb, carved through the switchbacks like Olympic skiers on their gold medal run. I had no words. I was in complete awe and amazement. In that moment, there was only one thought in my brain:

“I need to get a motorcycle, and I need to ride this road on it”.

******

Fast-forward 5 years. Dalia and I have long been broken up. I had just returned from a year working in China and was in desperate need of American culture.

I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, when the thought struck suddenly like a lightening bolt.

I somehow convinced my employer to give me 4 months off. I sold my 2005 Suzuki GSXR-600, and upgraded to an all American, speckled blue 2004 Harley Davidson Sportster 1200.

On September 8, 2012, I began a 14,000 mile, 58 day motorcycle journey around the United States that brought me through 38 states and the District of Columbia.

The highlight of the trip?  You guessed it. The Pacific Coast Highway.

******

  1. Guinness World Record Application and Summary of Journey Leave a reply
  2. The end of the line 3 Replies
  3. The second leg of the journey begins (Day 18: Seattle to Portland, OR [Daily miles – 181; Total miles – 5719]) Leave a reply
  4. The Emerald City (Day 17: Seattle, WA [Daily miles – 0; Total miles – 5538]) Leave a reply
  5. From Sea to Shining Sea (Day 16: Montana to Seattle, WA [Daily miles – 583; Total miles – 5538]) Leave a reply
  6. Spoiler Alert — Made it to Washington, D.C! 5 Replies
  7. The Packer’s Roost (Day 15: Yellowstone to Glacier, Montana [Daily miles – 458; Total miles – 4955]) 4 Replies
  8. Progress summary – October 16 7 Replies
  9. Hey, Boo-Boo! (Day 14: Saratoga, WY to Yellowstone [Daily miles – 348; Total miles – 4497]) 1 Reply