Printed in the June/July Biker Living
Max’s Ride for ALS began back in 2007 and in no way could I have ever imagined the amazing people this event would bring together. Here is a story of one of them who is beginning his own incredible adventure in attempting to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the Longest Journey by Motorcycle in a Single Country.
When I first met Carl Davies, he stepped up to the gift wrap table at Cowboy Harley Davidson to have his holiday purchases wrapped. He’s not from around these parts and I was pretty new to Texas, so I had a little bit of trouble figuring out what he was saying. He’s from the UK and I’m from Wisconsin – now that is a couple of dialects to combine.
After years of his participation in Max’s Ride for ALS on a variety of bikes including a Triumph, Harley, BMW and an Aprilia, I’ve learned little by little how he has been touched by the “Beast” of ALS. Since 2005, Carl has had two close and influential friends who received their diagnosis and have lost their battle with ALS. A fellow member of the “Hill Country Trail Runners”, Dan Keitz aka Dano, and Justin Whitehead, a team member of the Austin Huns Rugby Club and fellow Harley Rider. Both Dano and Justin lost their battles far too young. In 2008, Carl and his friend Ed, set out on their Harley’s to a Rugby Tournament in Arizona and along the way as requested, spread some of Justin’s ashes.
Carl began riding with Max’s Ride for ALS in 2008 and we are truly honored he has chosen Max’s Ride for ALS to be one of two charities, along with LifeWorks, he will advocate for on his Guinness Book of Work Record – breaking attempt.
I asked Carl, Why this World Record?
While trail running here in Austin and over the US, I felt this huge sense of achievement in training, planning, entering , running, and finishing or NOT, 50K, 50 mile, 100K or 100 mile races. Being a part of a very small percentage of people willing to undertake a certain challenge leads to a lot of self-belief and pride. It became a matter of how to better this; the answer was to become “The Best” at something, anything no matter how important or trivial. Make a decision on the what, plan, and adjust, plan again and then execute.
While planning my motorcycle trip to the Arctic Ocean. I read an article in the BOA (BMW Owners America) magazine about a pair of Canadians breaking the “The Longest Journey by Motorcycle in a Single Country.
As I am in the last of my 4x years, breaking any personal speed record, a sub 10 second 100 meters, a sub 4 minute mile or a sub 13 hour 100 mile record are all out. I also suck at tiddlywinks and speed texting, so the WHAT was decided – “The Longest Journey by Motorcycle in a Single Country”.
To plan the “What”- I registered with the Guinness Book of World Records to undertake the official challenge (Claim ID 346049) of “Longest journey by motorcycle in a single country”. This was originally quite simple, about 14000 miles, which meant riding the 4 Corners around the outside of the lower 48, with a few diversions to add a few miles. But it is all achievable within three weeks of continuous riding, without having to do anything untoward, and could fit within a vacation.
In October 2013 I started a new position with CSID, and in December 2013, the world record was beaten. The current record for “Longest journey by motorcycle in a single country” is:
33,357.15 km (20,727.13 miles) and was achieved by Buck Perley (USA) and Amy Mathieson (UK), who rode throughout China from 19 July to 11 December 2013. Now it was time to adapt the original plan:
For the official record there is no duration limit, as long as the rider(s) keep moving, and do not return home. CSID allowed me to take a four week vacation. Here is some basic math’s:
22000 miles / 28 days = 786 miles per day
786 miles / 12 hours = 65 miles per hour average
Due to weather, sunlight and additional holidays, I decided to start the trip on the 4th July.
- Post Tornado season (In Kansas 5 times during the trip)
- Pre Hurricane season (Florida, East Coast, and Gulf Coast of many states)
- July has on average 14 – 15 hours of daylight throughout the 48 states, means I will not have to travel during the dangerous twilight hours of dawn and dusk.
- Extra day vacation, to help with daily averages
I don’t have the finances to purchase a specific motorcycle, so I have to best modify one of my motorcycles, and decided the 2007 BMW R1200GS would best suit this trip. Luckily it is an excellent choice regardless, as it performed faultlessly on a trip to the Arctic Ocean and back, hopefully a good omen.
To keep the average speed up, you must stop less often. So extended range fuel tanks have been ordered, which are currently on their way from Germany minus one mounting bracket, which will have to be made here in Austin. This will give me a combined 10 gallons (up from the existing 5.3 gallons). With a range of over 400 miles, I will only have to fill-up with gas/petrol twice a day.
For me I will need to carry a hydration pack with some liquid food, which I am still researching, and a colostomy bag (OK a little extreme).
As there is a slight variation, deviation in GPS map planning, I have to plan a route over the required mileage to overcome any potential errors, and potential detours etc.
Even though the motorcycle is being serviced and fitted with new tires prior to the start, a new set of tires will be required during the trip, as well as oil changes. This stop will be combined at a pit to be determined; these trips cannot be planned too rigidly.
Reality check: This could be 27 consecutive Iron Butt Bun-Burner 1500’s.
Follow Carl’s journey throughout the U.S.A in his attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the Longest Journey by Motorcycle in a Single Country on www.MaxALS.org. We will be cheering you on! Show your support for Carl by making a donation to one of the above charities.
For LifeWorks, follow the above link to their web page and for Max’s Ride ALS, click on the PayPal button to the left and make your donation today!