Brady McLean

Go Fast, Don't Die, and Fulfill Your True Potential

Brady McLean is the co-founder of the motorcycle apparel brand, “Go Fast, Don't Die.” But GFDD is more than just riding bikes and selling swag; it's about disrupting culture, supporting your community, and living a whole and courageous life. 

Before it became an official brand, Go Fast, Don't Die evolved from a simple sentiment acted on by McLean and his bandmates back in junior high. The idea was to contribute to and disrupt a cultural space—in their case, to give people an alternative to the stereotype of punk rock culture. "Anybody could go to one of our shows and feel like they were welcome and home," says McLean. 

Years later, McLean was living what he perceived to be "the good life"—married to his high school sweetheart with a good job and a nice house. When his wife filed for divorce, he spent a long winter alone, feeling defeated and lost. "At some point, I decided to sign the paperwork making my divorce official and took off on a motorcycle," he says. "When I left, what I discovered was a culture that was really good for me and exactly what I needed at the time—it was a community of lost people, so I fit right in." 

What began as a lonely journey on the open road set the building blocks for a lifestyle and career in cultivating community. McLean traveled hundreds of thousands of miles over the past five years, mainly on a motorcycle. He had countless new experiences, immersed himself in new cultures, and said "yes" to as many opportunities as possible. "If life is a buffet, I just wanted to go and try a little bit of everything with an open mind and bring whatever tasted good or was nutritious back home with me," he says. 

"If you reverse engineer your life, and you ask yourself, at the end of my life, what story do I want to tell…our brand is about living that story."

Now, McLean organizes events, rides, and meet-ups with the Go Fast, Don't Die community, creating a welcoming space for both the classically rebellious bikers and people who don't resonate with the stereotypical motorcycle vibe but are looking for new experiences. "We're trying to empower and remind people that they are worthy, even if they don't look a certain way or fit into a certain archetype," he says. 

"We're seen as a moto brand—all of our content is moto centric, but our brand is really about the 'why' messaging, not necessarily about motorcycles. The 'Don't Die' part is not about mortality in the obvious sense. To us, death is wanting to step up and do something but declining because you're afraid. Death is sleeping in when your best story is getting up at 5 am to see the sunrise."

When Covid hit, Go Fast, Don't Die was booming as a brand and as a business, having kicked off motorcycle retreats abroad and participated in a racing school event—the brand was blowing up. Then, along with many other businesses, everything shut down. "At that time, everything stopped for us, so we pivoted and came up with an idea we called the Helper Brand," says McLean. "We decided that the culture we needed was for everyone to have a heart of compassion—at the time, a lot of people were scared and confused." 

The Helper Brand was a way to partner with other brands to help struggling businesses. "We came up with a quarantine box during the lockdown, breaking the typical biker mold and including candles, soap made in Sheridan, and Anthem jerky, and selling it as a care package like you'd get from your grandma. It was our way of introducing our customers to other brands and giving those businesses some attention during a hard time."

For the moment, McLean has settled in the town he grew up in, Sheridan, Wyoming. "I'm now in the season of trying to come home," he says. "I genuinely love where I come from, and I would like to bring all of the good I've experienced home."  

As for Go Fast, Don't Die, McLean hopes to cast a smaller net but create a more significant impact. "My heart longs for more depth and width," he says. "Maybe that means impacting a smaller community on a deeper level."