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Portola motorcyclist breaks world record

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Local adventurer and motorcyclist Steve Siler holds his certificate of achievement from Guinness World Records for riding 18,041 miles all over the country on his bike. According to Guinness, he is now the person who completed the “longest continuous journey by motorcycle in a single country.” Photo by Carolyn Carter
Carolyn Carter

  This summer Portola native Steven Siler and his BMW GS1150 Adventure Bike achieved stardom when Siler traveled more than 18,000 miles in a month. His journey broke the Guinness World Record for “longest continuous journey by motorcycle in a single country.”

  With plenty of adventures along the way, Siler beat the previous record of a little more than 11,000 miles with his 18,041 miles around the country.

  “I broke it by a bunch,” he said with pride.

  However, he said between when he left for the journey June 4 and returned June 30, someone had broken the first record with 17,000 miles — but Siler claimed the title despite that.

  Siler said his favorite part of the journey was the people. During his travels he was required by Guinness to have witnesses sign forms that verified his location and mileage. The witnesses had to be reputable so he often asked policemen or firemen.

  As a volunteer fireman himself for the Portola Fire Department, he said he really enjoyed visiting with other firefighters in the country. He said when he pulled into a fire department he was frequently welcomed and asked to stay, or not allowed to leave without a sandwich from the men.

  He said he almost got arrested in Roseburg, Ore., for accidentally entering a gated police car parking lot, in pursuit of a signature.

  After being reprimanded by an officer, Siler said two others came out of the police department. After hearing about his goal, they visited with him, congratulated him and signed his witness form.

  A part of the condition for breaking the record was that he was not allowed to go on the same road twice. So he weaved his way all over the highways and freeways of the United States.

  He said he rode from 5 a.m. to midnight, sleeping at rest areas or in other, more peculiar, areas like the bucket of a backhoe in the middle of farmland.

  He received one ticket for going 85 mph in a 75 zone. But he got the officer to sign his witness form anyway, saying, “If I have to sign something for you, you have to sign something for me.”

  On average he covered 800 miles a day, and struggled with the weather most of the trip. His first leg was during hurricane season and he was traveling along the Gulf of Mexico. By the end of June he was caught in an excruciating heat wave.

  He said his ultimate goal was to hit 20,000 miles, but he said he was too tired and just wanted to get home. On June 30, he made his triumphant return to Portola.

  He turned in pictures, mileage reports, witness signatures and GPS reports to Guinness World Records, and they sent him a commemorative certificate stating his accomplishment.

  The record-breaking road isn’t over for him, though. He next hopes to complete 1,800 miles in 24 hours, thus claiming the “longest ride in a day” record.

  So, after he takes a well-earned cruise to Alaska with his wife, Diane, Siler will be back in the saddle again.

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