Mark Schindler likes adventure.
The township resident recently completed a coast-to-coast motorcycle ride on a BMW K1200RS in less than 50 hours to complete something called the Iron Butt Association 50 CC Quest. The IBA (www.ironbutt.com) is an international club with tens of thousands of members dedicated to safe, long-distance motorcycle riding. To become a member, a motorcycle rider must complete one of the IBA rides such as the Saddle Sore 1,000 (1,000 miles in 24 hours), the Butt Burner 1,500 (1,500 miles in 36 hours), the 50 CC Quest or other endurance rides.
"What I did was by no means an insane ride," Schindler said. "There are worse ones."
First, Schindler rode to Jacksonville Fla., his starting point, May 23. The next day he gathered some sand and water from the beach there and set off on his 2,375-mile trip. He stopped in San Antonio, Texas, and stayed the night with a couple who offered him a place to stay when he posted his plan for the IBA ride on www.bmwsporttouring.com. Another person he'd never met before offered a place to crash in San Diego before Schindler turned around and headed home.
Despite a close call near the end of his trip, during which he stopped at three gas stations and tried to refill his tank half a dozen times to no avail, Schindler finished his 50 CC Quest with about 16 minutes to spare. None of the pumps seemed to work when he used his debit card around 3 a.m., when he was still hundreds of miles from his destination with only four hours left.
Schindler, 49, took a different route back. He returned to San Antonio and spent a few days relaxing at a hotel with his wife Ann. Then he rode back through Arkansas and along the Cherohala Skyway and the Tail of the Dragon, a road with more than 300 curves in just 11 miles, and is popular with bikers.
"I did enjoy going through the desert - it's unique," Schindler said. "The Sonora is just like the Sahara. It's just sand dunes. I didn't know we had a desert like that in the States."
His next ride will be an IBA semiannual rally in Mexico later this year.
Schindler has always been something of an adrenaline junky, though he always takes precautions and wears full safety gear on all rides and in other endeavors. During the winter Schindler works as a ski instructor in Utah. He is also a sailor, and takes Ann and their daughters white water rafting often.
"All that we have is the memories we create in life," Schindler said. "If you never do anything, putting it off to retirement, what if you never get around to it? I don't believe in waiting, you have to do things to create the memories."
He said if he were hit by a truck tomorrow, at least he'd have a lot of stories to tell.
"I'm always interested in things other people do," he added. "There's no particular long thought process, I just say, 'I could probably do that,' and go for it."
While many IBA riders plan their endurance rides for months and go on training rides leading up to it, Schindler spent all of 15 minutes planning his. It's not a course of action he suggests to others.
When he's not riding or teaching people how to ski, Schindler supplements his hobbies as a computer consultant.