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Three Questions: Looking for two-wheel adventure in PI America? Then you need to get with Kane Wagner

How a military veteran and scientist channeled his passion for motorcycling and the outdoors into a growing business specializing in Appalachian adventures.


By Postindustrial

Kane Wagner isn’t what you’d consider a typical “motorcycle guy.” 

Devoid of visible tattoos and a shaggy beard, Wagner is a scientist by trade (clinical laboratory professional, to be precise) and only got into riding at the ripe age of 34. 

But 13 years later, his passion for motorcycles and the outdoors around Northeast Ohio, is fueling the success of his growing motorcycling adventure touring company: Appalachian ADV

Wagner takes riders on excursions through the backcountry of Ohio and Pennsylvania, often encountering relics of bygone industries like coal and timber. 

“Our region provides exceptional history, sometimes hidden on these back-country dirt roads of Postindustrial America and we try to connect to that past on our rides,” he says. 

The meticulousness needed to work in a laboratory is evident in Wagner’s attention to detail when leading clients on rides or teaching them new skills. 

Wagner spoke to Postindustrial about what inspired his relatively late-in-life romance with motorcycling and what fuels his adventurous spirit. 



Appalachian ADV founder Kane Wagner

Postindustrial: What inspired you to create Appalachian ADV?

Wagner: I was an adventurous spirit looking for a spark, searching for something that I could enjoy while using my various life experiences in a way that served my love for the outdoors. 

I wondered: “How can I pull everything I’ve learned from playing and coaching football, my 20 years of military service and leadership training, working as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist and Laboratory Manager, and my lifelong passion for the outdoors?”

So in 2011, I purchased my first motorbike. And I found my spark. 

Riding a motorcycle is like being cast in the starring role of an action movie. You feel the wind, you smell the surroundings, you hear the world in stereo.

Once I discovered that, it took a few years of learning how to ride, develop motorcycle routes, figuring out how to create a website and social media presence, and start and run a business. 

Heading into our fifth year, I still consider Appalachian ADV a “start-up,” and continue to learn from my mistakes and victories. There are no guarantees in a business like this, but I feel we have created something that brings joy and a sense of belonging. 

I have met so many awesome people from different walks of life and have had the opportunity to partner and collaborate with some great companies. 

Postindustrial: You often take riders through the heart of rural Postindustrial America. What sites can they expect to see along the way? 

Wagner: We are based out of Youngstown, but most of our rides and other events are in the wilds of Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. 

When setting up routes we make sure to showcase the beauty and history of the area while twisting the throttle. There’s abundant wilderness to explore, small-town charms with mom-n-pop outfits, historical sights like ghost towns. 

Our region contains its history on those backcountry dirt roads. There is a proud history of steel, oil, rail, and timber operations in our corner of Postindustrial America. 

These relics of our past show us where we’ve been, where we are, and can provide  lessons as we prepare for the future.

Photograph by Joel Prince

Postindustrial: Your adventuring spirit goes well beyond your passion for motorcycles, including river rafting, kayaking, and snowboarding. What compels you to seek out adventure in so many different ways? 

Wagner: I caught the adventure bug early on in life while exploring the Mahoning Valley and the Rust Belt as a kid in the ’80s and early ’90s. 

We would spend hours outside running around the streets, riding our bicycles for miles, and throwing together pickup games. I would run around the woods in our backyard all year round. So much of my youth was spent in nature. 

It has become a passion, adventure as a lifestyle: a perfect way to test your body, mind, and spirit, as well as a way to reset, adjust, and balance each one of them.  

A good adventure gives you some type of challenge, a learning experience, and if done with a group, can provide a bond to provide the sparks for a relationship.  

The current political climate has driven a wedge between people. I’m attempting to use the power of adventure to give people a chance to find common ground.

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