A Quarter Turn
No one picks up a penny, few will stop for a dime, but everyone picks up a quarter because it still has value.
A fourth, as they say in the liquor business is 3/4 less than a whole. A quarter of a pizza is like Pac Man if he opened his mouth twice as wide. For those of you not so good with math, help has arrived. President Ford signed The Metric Conversion Act in 1975, and the United States should be 100% switched over soon. I wonder if we will continue picking up metric quarters?
Most motorcycles are equipped with a right handgrip that twists counter-clockwise from idle to wide open throttle in a quarter turn. As my journey of a million miles for Multiple Sclerosis has now crossed over the quarter million milestone, my mission is indeed at wide open throttle and I am certainly turning the first big corner of my incredible journey.
Originally calling my ride the Endless Road Tour, it has now morphed into Chasing the Cure because after riding the first quarter of a million miles, I believe not only will I reach my destination, but that we will also discover a cure along the way.
250,000 miles is an incredible achievement for me considering my adventure began with just a crazy idea five years ago. Starting at zero, I wanted to document riding a motorcycle a million miles raising awareness and money for Multiple Sclerosis. I wanted to ride everywhere, reaching out to others, encouraging them to live the best life they could, all while Chasing the Cure. Like MS itself, I really didn’t know the route this idea would take or where I would end up.
Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease causing inflammation of the central nervous system. Damage to the coating surrounding the nerves in the brain and spinal cord interfere with the transmission of signals to the rest of the body causing a wide range of symptoms.
The disease targets more women than men, and is usually diagnosed between the ages of twenty and forty. It affects every person differently and there is no typical course of disease progression, symptoms and severity will differ for each person. Common symptoms can include fatigue, walking difficulties, numbness, spasticity, weakness, vision problems, bladder and bowel problems, pain, cognitive issues, depression and emotional changes.
Today we have a drawer full of medications for the relapsing forms of MS that help slow down the amount of attacks and disease progression, but we do not have a way to reverse the damage that has occurred, and we do not have a cure. There is a lot of exciting research being conducted however, and I believe a cure may happen over the next decade. This year, for the first time ever, a medication was approved for primary progressive MS, which is a less common, but more severe disabling form of the disease. We need the research to continue and to speed up the process of getting medications approved to stop the irreparable damage and ultimately find a cure.
For the past five years I have raised money for the National MS Society exclusively, and I have recently made a decision to expand the organizations that my fundraising efforts will support. There are many deserving programs that do incredible work and are aligned with my goals.
One of the organizations that I will be joining forces with is Race to Erase MS. This foundation funds a coalition of the top MS research centers across the United States including Cedars-Sinai, Harvard, John Hopkins, Yale and others. I believe The Center Without Walls research centers are on a highway to a cure.
Personally, I am lucky that my MS has been in check, no doubt because of the disease modifying therapy I have been taking for 12 years and lifestyle changes I have made. Following my passion of riding every day certainly has played a part in my treatment. A mile a day keeps the doctor away.
In five years, I talked my way into becoming a national speaker for two separate pharmaceutical companies, a writer and ambassador for MS and motorcycle touring; sharing my adventure to over 250 audiences across the United States. My story and my journey have brought awareness to the disease and I really feel like I am making a difference in the lives of people living with chronic illnesses. I am continually amazed to hear how my story is helping others find or recalculate their own road. Helping others is the fuel that keeps my mission going forward.
Unfortunately, many people who have Multiple Sclerosis are not doing so well. Every moment of their day is filled with pain, weakness, failing body parts, depression, anger and worst of all, lost hope. I ride every day for these people, knowing I have to do much more. There are so many other people I need to help, so many more miles to ride and ways to raise money to research finding a cure.
I travel exclusively by motorcycle and although I have yet to obtain a fiscal sponsor, my journey has received thousands of dollars in products and services from many companies who see value in supporting what I am doing. I have accidentally become a product tester for lots of gear and accessories. After all, a month on my bike equals more than a year for most riders!
This journey is possible through continued help from Yamaha, Bridgestone, Twisted Throttle, Aerostich, National Powersports, Spectro Oils and so many others. If you have a chance to patronize these great companies or to even send them a thank you for supporting me, I do appreciate it.
I am also amazed that with your help and support and a few of my crazy ideas we have raised over $100,000 for MS research. My first fundraiser, the 100 Saddles-Sore 1000 not only raised $6,000, but set a world record in the process. Surprisingly, no one had attempted to ride 1000 miles in 24 hours using 100 different motorcycles before!
The MS5000 was a fundraiser I created to have other riders join me in April each year, trying to document as many miles over 50 days while collecting money for MS. This event raised $85,000 over the last five years. My riding a scooter from Boston to Chicago in 24 hours while wearing a powder blue tuxedo raised some eyebrows and $6000!
The last big ride I attempted was to set a world record documenting the most hours ridden in a single day. 28 hours, across all the US time zones all on the same day raised $7,000 and became the final ride with my first trusty Yamaha.
Speaking of which, at 172,000 miles my retired faithful stallion is now on permanent display at Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum as a testament to the bike’s durability, the most hours ridden in a day world record and other amazing feats I accomplished while riding the hell out of it over three and a half short years.
CURE CHASER was put on display a week ago and can be viewed at the world’s largest motorcycle museum in Birmingham Alabama. I can’t wait to see the amount of national exposure it will bring to my story. The bike is being displayed exactly as I rode it, with all my custom accessories. Yes, this motorcycle will continue it’s never been washed status for all of eternity.
I will be delivering my presentation of ALSO RAN to attendees at this year’s Barber Vintage Festival in October.
I also had the priviledge to sit on a panel at the United Nations last month as part of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and had the opportunity to share my thoughts about bias towards people with hidden symptoms like those found in chronic diseases like MS.
MotoMedicine is now officially registered as a trademark with the US Patent Office. I use this term to raise awareness of the healing powers and healthy benefits of riding motorcycles. Chasing the Cure exposure can be found in the September issue of Motorcyclist Magazine.
If you are in Hungary, you can read about my journey in the latest issue of MotZin magazine.
Of course, I will be riding to these events!
With my MS in check and a quarter miles digested, a million mile goal does not seem so far away. As I write this post, I’m working on a joint promotional event that may indeed bring my adventure and mission to a whole new level of exposure this winter.
I also have some ideas for an exciting and crazy fundraising stunt with a hard-tail chopper, so stay tuned!
My Facebook fan page is gaining viewers and I will continue to share my popular video posts as I continue to travel the highways and byways of this country.
For those of you not seeing my daily updates or videos on Facebook, the videos are also available on my YouTube channel. Thank you for liking, sharing and following my adventure, as every click helps me gain exposure and ultimately the fiscal sponsors I will need to propel me the next three quarters of my journey, Chasing the Cure.
Only one. If I had only pledged a million metric miles, I would now be 402,336 Kilometers, 2/5ths or 40% of the way to a cure!
Any day you can ride is a good day!