Yamaha Donates 2018 Star Venture To Longhaulpaul’s Million-Mile Quest To Fight MS

Different bike, same mission

Yamaha Star Venture for Paul Pelland
Yamaha donates a new Star Venture to Paul Pelland to keep Chasing the Cure.Paul Pelland

"I once was told a cure for MS was a million miles away, so I thought I would just go get it and bring it back," Paul "Longhaulpaul" Pelland says. And with that, the premise for Chasing the Cure was born.

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis—a disease of the central nervous system that can impair motor functions—Pelland decided to mount his Yamaha Ténéré and ride one million miles to document riding with the disease and to inspire others who face similar challenges. Since 2012, he's clocked more than 300,000 miles. For Pelland, long-distance travel on two wheels is not just recreation; it's treatment.

“My message is simple,” Pelland says. “Find something in life you are passionate about and make it more important than your disease. It certainly has worked for me. When I ride my motorcycle, I don’t have MS.”

To support Pelland on his way, Yamaha USA gave Pelland a brand-new Star Venture (with the Transcontinental package, appropriately).

Pelland has owned 42 motorcycles over 30 years, and never hung on to one for very long—except for the two consecutive Ténérés on which he rode the first 300,000 miles of his one million-mile goal.

“The Star Venture is a very different style bike from the Ténérés, but considering the miles I spend on the freeways, [it] will really add some great touring benefits for the hours I’m in the saddle. I wasn’t sure how the feet-forward position was going to work, but I’ve done a few 15-hour days already and find the long floorboards actually offer lots of room to change my foot positions. I fell in love with the motor the first time I test rode it.”

Paul Pelland with Yamaha Star Venture
Pelland on the road.Paul Pelland

While it’s a departure from the Ténéré, Pelland is quickly growing accustomed to the Venture.

“Some of the features I have already found extremely helpful are the electric windscreen and cruise control,” he adds. “The Sure-Park system certainly has come in handy and I can’t wait for the winter to try out the heated seats when it’s below zero. I’ve never listened to much music while riding, but I must say listening to XM radio blaring over the audio system at freeway speeds for 800 miles makes the day go by pretty quick.”

But it takes more than XM radio to keep going. For Pelland, the journey is not about only his own struggles with MS. Many of us have friends and loved ones who suffer from MS—friends who are no longer able to ride a motorcycle. Perhaps, they can live vicariously through Pelland. For them, Pelland's journey can represent a big middle finger to the thing that prevents them from riding right alongside him.

“What keeps me going along my journey is knowing the amount of people with MS who are not doing as well as I am—those who have suffered for years before we had any treatment, and those whose symptoms are still progressing.”

For all those who can’t ride a brand-new motorcycle because of their illness, Pelland has taken it upon himself to ride their miles for them.

“I can easily see myself putting the next quarter million miles on this new Star Venture,” Pelland says. “Yamaha must be pretty confident in their new flagship touring bike because they know I’m about to give it one hell of a good thrashing, Chasing the Cure.”

Ride hard, Paul.