#97 Kevin Naser
One day in 1970, when I was an 11 year old boy at Papillion Junior High School, the teachers herded all us kids into the multi-purpose gymnasium for a special presentation. They’d brought in a man named Danny Liska to talk to us about his motorcycle ride from Nebraska to the tip of South America. He had a slide show with pictures of his BMW R60/2, and he had a snake skin that unrolled almost to the full width of our stage. He told us that when he got to the edge of the jungle he stuck his arm in and the foliage was so thick that he had trouble pulling his arm back out. I went straight home that night and told my mom that I was going to get a motorcycle. She was against it of course, but after a short time she let me get a Honda Z50 minibike. That was it. I haven’t been without a bike since. My dad taught me how to spin wrenches and troubleshoot circuits on old Japanese dirt bikes. It’s one of the reasons that I am who I am.
We ride for the love of the ride, and for the love of the machine. You can’t choose to stop loving it even if you want to, so you think of more ways to enjoy it. In my life there have been many motorcycles and many miles; big bikes and little bikes; many different brands and nationalities, no favoritism. I’ve ridden track days, trips to Central America, Alaska, fly and rides to Europe, the Continental Divide, Trans-America Trail, and so on. I read an article about the 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball shortly after it happened. It spoke to me. I like old things, especially old machines. I drive a beat up old truck. Our house is full of antiques. Right now I’m sitting at an old wooden desk that was salvaged from the old Denver court house. The room I’m in is filled with old things; old books, old guns, parts from old machines, old memorabilia. At times I have spent more money than something is worth, just on the parts to fix it. Old things, in general, are better than new things. The Motorcycle Cannonball is just the ride for me. Not just the ride, but the build, and the preparation for the ride.
In 2011 I started looking for an old bike that I could enter in the Motorcycle Cannonball. It took almost 3 years to find an old basket case of an Indian that I could afford. It was about three quarters there. The transmission was missing, it had no seat, clutch, foot boards, control levers, and the wheels were roached. Everything had to be rebuilt or replaced. I spent over two years after that searching for parts, fixing the parts I had, and assembling them into a motorcycle. AMCA swap meets were my best source of parts and information. My first ride on the motorcycle that has come to be known as Patience was a just few short weeks before the 2016 Motorcycle Cannonball.
In the early 1900’s bicycles were high technology. Motorcycles were the next evolutionary step and hundred year old motorcycles were the iPads of their time. It was a developing technology; new patents were coming every day. They were the ideas of men applied to metal and set in motion. When you ride these old motorcycles, not only are you dependent on the machine, but the machine is dependent on you. Old machines require regular maintenance. You have to know how to care for it and how to repair it every day of every ride. If you don’t, you don’t make it home. When you do make it home, it’s when the machine decides to take you there.
My goal in 2016 was to convince my 100 year old Indian motorcycle that it wanted to take me from Atlantic City to San Diego. With the help of friends, that is exactly what Patience did. We rode every mile, Patience and I, and earned a perfect score of 3306 miles. They say that, before the 2016 Motorcycle Cannonball, there was no documented case of any person crossing the USA from coast to coast on any kind of motorized conveyance that was 100 years old. No motorcycle, car, train, airplane, etc. that was 100 years old had ever crossed the USA from coast to coast until me and a few others did it in 2016. I’m kind of proud of that, it was one of the things that kept me going.
My original plan was to do this Cannonball thing once and get it out of my system. They told me it’s addictive, but I didn’t believe them. Well, it turns out that they were right. So now Jason has announced a ride from Portland Maine to Portland Oregon in 2018. I discussed it with my team, and we’re in. My goal this time, in addition to riding all the miles, is to spend less time working on the bike, and more time having fun with my friends. I need to get started.
I have a few old bikes, but I’m not a collector by any means. I’m just a rider. So I’ll ride Patience again. I don’t have any other bikes that qualify. We learned a lot on the 2016 Cannonball, but I still have a lot of prep to do before September of 2018. You can see the details of my story on Adventure Riders, or on the AMCA Forum. Here are the links: