Employee Spotlight: Urjanet Motorcycle Club
On this month’s employee spotlight, we’re taking a peek into the little-known but much-loved Urjanet Motorcycle Club. Made up of three software engineers — Darren Lyn, Willie Owens, and Leonard Smith — the Urjanet Motorcycle Club formed out of a mutual love of everything that riding represents: freedom and a wide open destination.
The Origin Story of UMC
The Urjanet Motorcycle Club (UMC) came into being out of the most benevolent kind of peer pressure. Leonard and Ed, a former member of the Urjanet sales team, encouraged each other to get bikes. Once they both did, they convinced Willie he would miss out if he didn’t get one, too. By the time Darren started at Urjanet a couple years later, with his own bike in tow, UMC functioned as a well-oiled team.
The three members of UMC have varying levels of experience riding, but equal passion for it. Darren’s been riding his Yamaha FZ6R for five years; Leonard his Triumph Street Triple for four years, and Willie his Honda Shadow VLX Deluxe for two years. “Your bike is really an extension of yourself,” muses Leonard.
“Your bike is really an extension of yourself.”
For both Darren and Willie, riding runs in the family. Darren’s dad, who grew up and still lives in Jamaica, started cycling to work as a delivery boy for a grocery store. Eventually, he saved up enough to buy a motorcycle to ride for fun around the island. He felt he had to give up his wild side to be a responsible father to Darren, so he stopped riding when Darren was born. “I felt like getting a bike of my own would let him live vicariously through me,” says Darren.
Likewise, Willie’s dad had been dirt biking for decades, getting his first motorcycle when he was 16. He kept a big box of the trophies he’d won in their basement. When Willie went hiking with his him as a kid, his dad would often point out obstacles on the trail (like roots, fallen logs, and streams) and explain how he would navigate them on a dirt bike. Ever since then, Willie’s wanted a bike of his own.
Freedom on the Open Road
Everyone in the Urjanet Motorcycle Club agrees: riding is the ultimate getaway. It’s relaxing, stress relieving, and exhilarating all at once.
“There’s a special kind of camaraderie that you get when you see someone else on a bike,” says Leonard. You’re driving at similar speeds, and you’re both risking your lives. Other riders often wave at you — once, Willie even got a Harley rider to give him the two-wheel signal. (Harley Davidson riders are often stereotyped as being unfriendly to riders on “lowly” bikes.)
One of the best parts of riding is simply the scenery. The three often take day trips to North Georgia: around Ellijay, or Amicalola Falls. But by far, their favorite destination is the Tail of the Dragon. Along the border of North and South Carolina, the Tail of the Dragon is one of the most famous destinations for riders in the country. With 308 turns in a single stretch of 11 miles, it’s a challenge that’s more than worth it for UMC.
“We all got Bluetooth headsets so we could talk to each other while we ride,” says Leonard. As they navigate tight turns and windy back roads, they can exchange commentary and advice in real time. “Riding in the city is fun,” says Willie. “But when you get up into the mountains on those curvy, scenic roads, it’s a different experience entirely. That’s what riding is all about.”
Safety in Numbers
As the place where it all started, Urjanet plays a special role in the lives of the Urjanet Motorcycle Club. Urjanet’s team bonding budget sponsored their most recent trip to the Tail of the Dragon, covering most of their lodging, food, and fuel. But more importantly, having the support of other team members has encouraged UMC to ride more safely.
Colleagues at Urjanet have helped members of UMC get repairs done on their bikes, and often urge them to invest in safer gear. “Before Darren came along, I didn’t have a back protector or fully functioning brakes,” said Willie. Together, UMC members are stronger and safer, encouraging each other to get gear like better gloves and Kevlar-lined jeans.
“Sanjoy worries for our safety sometimes, but I think deep down he supports us,” says Leonard. Regardless, Darren feels like they’re all at a responsible age to ride. “The only wise decision I made in my 20s was not to get a bike,” says Darren.
To learn more about our team — and how to join — visit our careers page.
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About Amy Hou
Amy Hou is a Marketing Associate at Urjanet, writing about emerging topics in sustainability, energy management, and data innovation.