Name: Thomas Nesslage
Marital Status: Married to the wonderful Kate (Roadrage) Nesslage
Location: Leesburg, VA
Hometown: Leesburg, VA
Occupation: Manager of a team of network engineers
Current motorcycle(s): 2013 Victory Cross Country Tour
How did you hear about the SCRC and when did you join?
I heard about the club through Kevin and Anne. I think I officially joined in January of 2013, but had to wait a few months for the weather to be good enough for a New Member Orientation Ride.
How long have you been riding?
It has been just shy of 13 years; I got my license in November of 2007.
Have you ever taken a motorcycle safety course?
Yes, through Apex when I started learning to ride.
What was your first bike?
1999 Yamaha V-Star 650 Classic. Bought it used with about 9,500 miles on it.
How many bikes have you owned?
Five of my own. Two Yamahas (1999 V-Star Classic, 2005 Road Star), two Victories (2013 Judge, 2013 Cross Country Tour), and a Ducati (2016 XDiavel). But if weíre including Kate, we can add in a few more.
Why do you ride?
I love to travel, and I love the freedom of riding a bike versus feeling stuck in a car.
Have you ridden with an organized group before?
What modifications have you done to your bike?
Iíve tinkered with every bike Iíve owned, but on my current Cross Country Iíve added a Power Commander, modified the exhaust, adjusted the timing wheel, and installed a better clutch to help with performance. For comfort Iíve swapped out the windshield, added highway pegs, a driverís back rest, passenger arm rests, and a luggage rack on the trunk. For lighting Iíve swapped in an LED headlight, added fog lights, accent lights, and saddlebag lights. Iíve also wired in a Garmin for navigation, and a heated gear connector so I can pretty much ride all year round. In full disclosure, I got help with (*cough paid for cough*) the more complex items.
What accessories do you want to add to your bike?
At this point Iíve pretty much done everything I want to. I wouldnít mind adding a performance air intake, and maybe swapping out the seat at some point, but Iím in no hurry on either one.
What is your dream bike?
Already riding it! But when the wheels fall off Iíll have to take a really close look at the Yamaha Star Venture.
What kind of riding do you like to do — straight-aways or twisties?
A mix of both. I love riding twisty roads, but sometimes itís nice to just kick back and relax to some tunes while flying down the highway.
If you have a nickname, how did you get it? Tell the truth!
Iím a gun enthusiast and own way more than I need. Actually, thatís not trueÖ Iím a gun enthusiast and always need to add one more to my collection.
What is your favorite riding route?
The one that leads away from my house for an extended period of time.
Do you ride your bike to work?
Yes. Or at least Iíll return to doing so when the office opens back up post COVID.
What is the fastest you’ve ridden?
Iíve cracked 110 at least once, but it gets a little squirrely on a big bike at those speeds.
What is your favorite time of year to ride?
Fall, hands down. Crisp mornings, warm afternoons, and gorgeous scenery from the leaves changing colors.
Have you ever been down? If so, how were you hurt and what did you learn from the incident?
Iíve dropped every bike Iíve owned, but fortunately it has always involved a tight turn in a parking lot, or something stupid like forgetting to put the kickstand down. Iíve never been hurt beyond a few bruises and a blow to my ego, but it teaches you the importance of bike handling at low speeds and always double checking everything before starting/stopping a ride. A full-dress tourer can get away from you very quickly.
Have you ever done an "Iron Butt" ride?
No. Iím tempted to try one, but thatís a looooong dayÖ
If not, what is the furthest you’ve ridden?
In a single day about 650 miles or so.
What was the worst weather in which you’ve ridden?
A sudden thunderstorm with high winds literally caught me halfway on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. No cover and nothing to do but plow on until you get to the other side.
Do you know how to work on your bike?
Iím willing to give a fair amount of minor work a try, but Iíll leave tearing the engine apart to the pros.
What is your favorite road song?
I donít know if itís really a road song, but Iíve got a soft spot for ďParadise CityĒ by Guns Ní Roses.
What was your most adventurous ride?
Kate and I spent 32 days traveling across the country in 2018. We rode 8,550 miles covering 25 states, one Canadian province, and saw ten National Parks.
What rallies or events do you like to attend?
Iíve attended most Rolling Thunders over the past ten years and been to Laconia twice. I still want to hit Sturgis, Ocean City, and Daytona at least once.
Is there someone who rides "two-up" with you?
Kate used to, but she has her own toy now.
Off the cuff from...Thomas
If I could find a way to ride and pay my bills at the same time, I would totally do it. Unfortunately, Iím not nearly a good enough writer or photographer to get people to pay me for it. But that aside, I think people forget how varied and amazing our country is, and riding through it is one of the best ways to experience it. And if you get bored of the roads in the US, Canada is pretty awesome, too.