Mike Vils is Motorcycle Cannonball rider number 13. He will be riding his 1913 Excelsior. To put another candle on the cross-country ride celebration, Mike will observe his birthday on September 13 during the Cannonball. Mike considers himself fortunate indeed and views the event as the ride of a lifetime.
As the Sergeant-at-arms of the So Cal based TrailBlazers Motorcycle Club, Vils is deeply immersed in the motorcycle culture and takes his membership in the social club very seriously. The club has met annually since 1940 and, with such famous alumni as William H. Davidson, Steve McQueen, Lee Marvin, Bud Ekins, and the notorious Cannonball Baker himself, this pioneer motorcycle club is steeped in history and splashed with bigger-than-life personalities. (Go to www.trailblazersmc.com for complete information about the club).
With 46 years of riding under his kidney belt, Mike brings his own gregarious personality to the club functions and was the subject of a recent meeting where the TrailBlazers sought donations to support Mike’s Motorcycle Cannonball trip this fall. As a serious West Coast contender, Mike thoroughly intends to complete the entire 3,300-mile trip, but is estimating that as many as half the field will not make it all the way to Santa Monica.
You know, I think the endurance will be the biggest challenge of this; riding 2-300 miles a day is going to be hard, and the 5th or 6th day is going to be the toughest,” Mike speculates. “But I intend to finish and I’m just going to have a great time riding the wheels off my ‘X. I’m about ¾ of the way through it right now, and have a bigger gas tank, and front and rear brakes, as well as a new seat, so I’m getting there.”
Vils shares that his work out regime includes riding every motorcycle he has over hill and dale, as well as riding his horse quite often. “I’m just trying to get in shape,” he says. “Us west coast guys are going to give those “easties” a run for their money.” And with that, the gauntlet has been thrown. Let the challenge begin.