Riding a Million Miles

Seems incredible, but some people have actually ridden over a million miles on motorcycles. The American Motorcyclist Association has a sto...

Seems incredible, but some people have actually ridden over a million miles on motorcycles.

The American Motorcyclist Association has a story about Lyle Grimes who's done it, mostly on BMW bikes. The Virago Owners Club has a story of David Hingson who's also done it, on Yamaha Viragos, of course.

So has anyone put on a million miles or more on Harleys? I'm not aware of one, but there's a story about a guy who put on 400,000 miles on one Harley. He named the bike, "Old Charley". As the story goes, the motor company heard about this guy and convinced him to sell Old Charley to them. They gave him a brand new bike, "Old Charley II", and put his old bike on display at the Capitol Drive plant in the lobby. (I haven't visited the plant, so I can't vouch for the truthfulness of this story, maybe someone else can).

But anyways, I would like to put on a million miles in my riding life. I suppose the number "one million" doesn't mean much, it's just another number. But then again, most of us may never put on 100,000 miles on two wheels, and therefore we never give a million much thought. If you had already done 500,000, you might start thinking about it more often.

Imagine how many tires you'd have to buy to get you to one million? Motorcycle tires are more expensive than car tires, and they wear out faster. All the oil changes, all the brake pads, ALL THE GASOLINE!

In the riding world, the number of miles you accumulate each year is a way to measure one's activity level. Otherwise, most riders measure their experience in years of riding. Other industries do it also. Airplane pilots measure their experience in hours. Truckers measure their experience in miles.

There are also mileage contests in various forums and clubs. Harley Chat Group, a nationwide forum of Harley owners, has a national mileage challenge where riders post photos of their bikes' odometers at the start of the year. At the end of the year, they post photos of their odometers again, to see who wins. The winner doesn't get anything, just bragging rights.

Moroney's Harley-Davidson, a dealer in New Windsor, NY, is having a mileage contest to see who can rack up the most miles between April 2007 and November 2007. The winner gets a brand new rear tire.

I guess there's no way to really certify someone as having ridden over a million miles. It takes too much time to record all that. Most of these people accomplished the feat over 40-50 years. It's just one of those things that you have to accept on faith. If only they had digital cameras and photo-sharing sites back in the 1950s, it would be a joy to see a million miles worth of memories.


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