Paul Pelland's 2013 Yamaha Super Ténéré

Learning to harness the healing power of the road.

Paul Pelland's 2013 Yamaha Super Tenere
Paul Pelland and his 2013 Yamaha Super TenerePaul Pelland
Me & My Bike
BIKE 2013 Yamaha Super Ténéré
RIDER Paul Pelland
AGE 49
HOME Londonderry, New Hampshire

Twenty years ago, I found that riding long distances was a good way to escape a bad marriage, a boggled divorce, and what became a monstrous 10-year custody ordeal. The worse life was at home, the more hours and miles I rode. Learning to harness the healing power of the road saved my life thousands of times. I woke up, however, in a lot of strange places.

Joining the Iron Butt Association and planning long-distance rallies kept me occupied, mentally and physically. During the 2003 Iron Butt Rally, I experienced muscle weakness, loss of dexterity in my hands, confusion, and memory issues. Despite going home with a trophy, I retired from competing and eventually was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Five years ago, I realized that, although I could no longer compete, I could still ride long days in the saddle, so I decided to take my prognosis public by documenting a million miles as an advocate for MS. I have since covered 250,000 miles, set two world records, and raised more than $100,000 for MS charities.

I purchased my first Yamaha Super Ténéré in April 2013. Ridden through all the 48 lower states, across Canada to Alaska and the Arctic Circle, the bike has taken me to more than 200 speaking events, where I shared my story with MS patients and their families, as well as to seminars and keynote addresses at motorcycle rallies and general public events.

Over three and a half years and 168,000 miles, my Yamaha had never been properly serviced, or even washed, and it was showing signs of needing some TLC. I decided to give the bike one last hurrah for the worry-free performance it had provided me. I wanted to set a world record for riding the most hours in a single day.

To do so involved chasing time zones on November 16, 2016, the day that daylight saving time ended. Riding west from Indiana to Nevada would cross all four zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. I had trouble getting the tired bike running, but 28 hours and 2,000 miles later, the Super Ténéré and I had set a new record for most hours ridden in one day.

Motorcycles are tools to me—tools that I use daily, tools to which I trust my life, and tools that whisk me away from all that is harmful and painful in life. Riding is also central to treating my disease because when I am on my Super Ténéré I don't feel like I have MS. So get the hell out of my way because I'm on a mission, chasing a cure. —Paul Pelland