When you throw all the activities I have done in the last six years to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis charities, it adds up to $130,000. That’s about 37 cents for every mile that I have traveled raising awareness. If I wasn’t such a chicken, I would change my tagline to ride a million miles and raise a million
dollars. I am grateful for the support of my followers and sponsors who are quick to donate towards whatever crazy ideas I conjure up next. Which brings me to share my latest world record attempt fundraiser.
Starting at noon on March 29th, I attempted to establish a new world record by riding a motorcycle 24 hours non-stop on a dynamometer. No sandwich breaks, gas stops or bathroom visits. The best part of this attempt is that I had planned to stream it live over Facebook telethon style. I posted a long list of entertaining activities that would encourage viewers to interact and make donations. Th plan was to keep riding and talking, singing bad karaoke, telling stores and eating some weird stuff. I said I would get a straight razor shave at 90 mph and have a manicure all while continually riding my Yamaha Star Venture at freeway speeds, going nowhere!
Brilliant idea, right?
A Dynamometer or Dyno as it is known in the motorsports world, is a machine that allows vehicles to test and fine tune engine performance without actually being on the road. The machine allows a controlled environment and removes the variables of riding on the street. The machine has a roller that gets spun by the force of the driven wheel, in my case the rear wheel, and the machine allows for different load inputs, to simulate rougher terrain or hills or other changes. Speed, temperature, horsepower, torque, gearing, fuel mapping, fuel economy and emissions are all variables that are controlled or measured and tweaked to get the most out of the vehicle being tested.
In my case, a request over the internet for suggestions was responded with a hundred different ride ideas and Stuart Williams suggested the Dyno 1000, 24 hours strapped to a Dyno although his version had me watching Bob Ross paint.
Stuart’s idea struck me as interesting enough, but at first I thought it might be too easy. The more I thought about, I realized it wasn’t as easy at it first seemed. A long hard search of the web found there had not been any word records of this type attempted before, and the planning wheels in my head began to turn. The first question was answered easily by a call to my sponsor Rob Swartz of Rob’s Dyno Service in Massachusetts. Rob confirmed the idea was possible and better yet, that he would donate the machine and time to help run the fundraiser!
The next question was how was I going to get people to watch, and more importantly, what was I going to do to get them to open their wallets. After all, it’s supposed to be a fundraiser!
I created an event schedule with activities, solicited $3500 in prizes and prepared press releases that went across social media. March is MS awareness month and I took advantage of that in my promotional material and posts. I made the bold statement that I wanted to raise $25,000 for this World record attempt. It was a gamble, because I was asking people to wait to donate during the live event.
Lots of logistics with streaming, cameras, audio feeds, getting gas while riding, phone calls and handling all the internet interactions. I needed a lot of help and received it from Rob Swartz, my son Justin who hung out for the entire event, Rob Nye who took on the role of host and a bunch of other people who showed up to help. The event was a smashing success, I got shaved at midnight, had a facial and my nails done, was blindfolded for the bird box challenge. I ate bugs, a scorpion and for the finale, I raised a couple grand at the finish by eating two Zebra Tarantulas. We set a new world record, I rode almost 1700 miles without stopping the engine or getting off, we made great videos for social media, gave away 50 prizes and best of all, we raised $19,000 for patient educational programs for people living with the progression and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.