Passion and a commitment to my craft has always been my most valuable asset. It allowed me to enjoy a successful racing career, where I was fortunate enough to earn multiple championships in both supercross and motocross. I gave my all every time I strapped on a helmet, whether that was during training or in a race itself. It was important that my focus and intensity was always the same in every situation, because it helped ensure that no moment was ever too big for me to handle.
Focused and Determined on the #1 KTM // Photo: Rich Shepherd
Over the years I’ve developed a similar passion for coffee. So much so that it became an obvious next step once my career was over. Now, a little more than three years since my last race, I’m proud to bring RD Coffee to life. All of the lessons I learned and experiences I had throughout more than 20 years aboard two wheels have been applied to the creation of this brand. Dedication and work ethic is just as important in creating the perfect roast of coffee as it is to being the fastest rider you can be, and each bag produced by RD Coffee is a result of my unwavering desire to give you the best small batch, specialty coffee possible.
My first real experience with coffee was in December of 2006, just a few months after I made my professional debut with Suzuki and was preparing to embark on my rookie season of Supercross. The life of a professional racer is quite different from that of an amateur, filled with a lot of early mornings, long days both on and off the track, and flights crisscrossing the country. I quickly understood why coffee is a lifeblood of sorts for so many and it soon became a part of my daily routine.
There’s so many things that I find fascinating about coffee. From the depth of flavor to all the different ways you can enjoy it, whether it’s the brewing process to the style of drink itself. Above all, there’s just a sense of comfort that comes with a cup of coffee. The more I drank it, the more I found myself curious about lattes, cappuccino, espresso - you name it. I wanted to understand what made each style unique and I began checking out local coffee shops as I traveled across the country from race to race. Those experiences really expanded my outlook on coffee and ultimately planted the seed for where we are today.
As I visited more coffee shops and tasted more varieties I realized how much more enjoyable some cups were opposed to others. I became a student of the process and discovered not all coffee is created equal. I learned the quality of the bean is the foundation of the entire process, so I dove into specialty coffee and small batch roasts. Creating a truly enjoyable cup of coffee is meticulous, but it was something I thoroughly enjoyed. It brought me right back to the place that made me want to learn everything about motocross and become the best rider I could be. I was a sponge and absorbed as much information about specialty coffee as possible, beginning with the farm that grows the plant to sourcing the beans and understanding the most effective way to roast and brew. The most inspiring part of all was learning how each coffee region across the globe carries its own unique flavor profile, recognizing the ability to experience different parts of the world through a simple cup of coffee. The sense of unity pushed me even further.
Fazenda Alta Vista, Carmo de Minas, Brazil // Photo: Andy Reiland
As I began to realize that the finish line on my racing career was approaching I invested even more time in the business of coffee. I shared the same eagerness for riding with the continued expansion of my knowledge of coffee and decided to give it a shot. I figured what better way to truly understand coffee than to source my own beans and roast them myself? That first hand knowledge gave me the confidence to keep pushing and established the foundation for RD Coffee to become a reality.
When I made the difficult decision to close the chapter on my racing career after winning the 2017 Supercross title it allowed me to put all my focus on building a coffee business. Along the way I’ve maintained ties to the sport and my wife and I grew our family by welcoming our first child, Harper. I was patient in bringing RD Coffee to life. I wanted to have a grasp on everything involved in the brand and I wanted to feel confident that the coffee we were selling was the best it could be. In June of 2020 I pulled the trigger and RD Coffee was open for business. Since then the growth has been incredible and I’m still having a lot of fun learning about the ins and outs of making this a successful business.
Ryan with his daughter Harper
What I love the most about this passion for coffee is the amount of insight you can gather is endless. There are so many layers that the process of discovery can continue as long as you seek more information. It’s inspiring to know that I’ve just begun to scratch the surface and it’s humbling to realize that I’m able to now give a bit of myself - my passion and dedication - to every individual who buys a bag. I always wished I could do more for those who looked up to me when I was racing and wanted to be able to share my passion with others, but I never understood how. Now I’ve discovered it can be through a simple cup of coffee. Something that can unite us all on common ground, regardless of what we do or who we are. Coffee is the energy source that allows so many of us to get the day started and accomplish our goals. It’s the fuel to our pursuit and it’s the embodiment of what RD Coffee stands for.