The Longest journey on a Pocketbike (Minimoto) 2014
A man from Cunningham (Tennessee) set up a new world record on a pocketbike. Will Rodgers, tells us his story!
A ride plan was developed. Including a path of low speed limit and as little commercial traffic as possible. Using a stock, Honda XR50 2002. The Natchez Trace Parkway was an obvious choice as no commercial traffic is allowed, the speed limit is mostly a maximum of 45 miles per hour so going slow would not be an issue. Since the Natchez Trace Parkway is not long enough to break the record on alone, we started in Clarksville, Tennessee and traveled mostly back roads until we got to the Natchez Trace Parkway. Once the path was set we developed a schedule along with the dates of March 1st through March 4th, 2014 so people could join us if they wanted. We then obtained a chase vehicle to run a camera the entire journey and pull a trailer with spare tires, fuel, tools and food. We were then set to advertise as much as possible. We invited motorcycles across the country to join us in the ride and ask for donations per mile or just a one time donation where 100% of the funds collected would go to Christian Motorcyclists Association’s RUN FOR THE SON ministry. We set up the website: http://www.worldrecordminibike.com and advertised it throughout the country via CMA chapters. We distributed flyers at the local motorcycle shops. Nashville’s WSMV News Channel 4 picked up my story. I was in the March issue of Heartbeat magazine and will be in the May issue of Thunder Roads Magazine.
Day One Events: On March 1st, 2014, We met to take off on our journey with the Temperature at 45 degrees. Many folks had showed up to see us off and several came along for the fun. Riding along on the journey just before the start of the trip, I managed to pull the wires from our caution light we had attached to the chase vehicle. After a failed attempt to repair it, we noticed one of the tires was low on the chase vehicle so we got out the air tank and aired it up. I started my journey from Clarksville, TN at 7:45 am. It was a nice convoy of motorcycles and the chase vehicle. We had a camera in the chase vehicle to video the entire trip. The chase vehicle pulled a trailer with spare parts, fuel, and tools in the event we needed anything. Not too far out of Clarksville, TN, I lost my flag pole from the minibike. Rodney Ortiz went back to look for it. It was about this time Ron and Maggie Kliewer joined up with on on their motorcycle. Once we reached McCrory Lane in Nashville, TN, we stopped at the Harpeth Park and waited for Rodney to arrive with the flag and to take a short break. I filled up the minibike with fuel here also and tightened up my handlebars as they were coming loose. Once Rodney arrived, we taped the flag pole together with electrical tape and resumed the trip. Our plan was to eat at the Loveless Cafe but it was packed and there was a 1 ½ hour wait to be seated so we stopped next door at a place called the Bar-B-Cutie that was inside a Texaco fuel station at 10:45 am. At this location, we met up with my sister, Donna Martin, the Columbia, Tennessee chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, and a gentleman who had ridden his blue three wheeler up from Mississippi to join in on the ride. At 11:50, we resumed the journey as we were just a few hundred yards from the start of the Natchez Trace. The small group had turned into a large group now as we headed south on the Natchez Trace. The Columbia Chapter of the CMA waved goodbye as pulled off at the Columbia exit and we continued on a short distance before and pulled off at the GORDON HOUSE-a historical site that included badly needed public restrooms. We continued until we reached HWY64/15 at 4:40 pm. We loaded up the minibike. And headed to the motel for rest. I had installed a bicycle speedometer to aid me in keeping the 12 year old minimoto’s RPM less 75% of what it would run. I had never got it programmed properly so with the minimoto going as fast as it could, the readout said 65 so I knew that as long as the number never got over 49 I felt confident that the motor would hold out for such a long trip. It did help as there were several long down hill sections where I could have easily blew up the motor.
Day two Events: Leaving Lawrenceburg, TN we arrived at the intersection of the Natchez Trace Parkway right at 7:00 am at Hwy 64/15 where we stopped. I filled up with fuel and we took off. Day two was “THAT” day. You know, the first day of the year that the wind is warm after a cold winter. The day started off cool but it got up to 75 degrees. The sun was shinning, you are riding and your friends are with you, the beauty of the trace, the history, the scenery,….add that to the fact that I have half completed a 40+ year dream of breaking a world record, nothing could stop me as I was invincible. We stopped at the Tennessee/Alabama state line and I discovered that one of my foot pegs had the pin about to fall out so I had to place a wire tie on it to hold it in. We lost the flag again-not completely this time like before. The electrical tape held it but the top half of the flag was spinning around like a propeller so we stopped and put more electrical tape on it to hold it in place. We stopped at a site called PHARR MOUNDS for a picnic lunch of ham that Frank and Dana Wall had brought. I laid down on the ground and napped in the warm sun for a few minutes. We took off, I had forgotten to fill up with fuel and the bike started sputtering so I put it on reserve before it stopped completely and pulled over on the side of the road and filled up. We were only about 15 miles from where we were to stop for the day. We loaded up at Hwy 45 exit at 3:55 pm and headed for the motel. The bicycle speedometer did not work today. I suspect the batteries had already went dead from using it all day yesterday but it is OK as I have a good feel for where to hold the throttle and the down hills are not steep so it has served it purpose.m.