“No Hand Man” motorcyclist attempting hands-free 525-mile ride
Phil Comar has a bit of a double life. The 63-year-old Adrian, Mich., man works as a motorcycle safety trainer, teaching proper techniques to new riders. But for the past 20 years, Comar has been putting extra danger into his Harley rides by training himself to steer without using his hands. This weekend, he'll attempt to beat his own world record for charity by riding 525 miles hands free, without stopping. That's one way to keep from being distracted.
Comar -- nicknamed the "No Hand Man" -- says he encourages no one to follow in his wake and attempt to go 70 mph without using the handlebars. "I am about as close to being a professional as anyone has been when it comes to riding with no hands," he says, telling The Cincinnati Enquirer that he's never had an accident.
After Comar's father died in 2008 from Parkinson's disease, Comar began a series of fund-raising rides. His first ride in 2010 went 314 miles; last year he attempted the same 525-mile trip from the Mackinac Bridge to Covington, Ky., but only made 327 miles -- still good enough for the Guinness Book of World Records. His bike has a couple of modifications to make the trip, namely an extra fuel tank for range, but there's no secret device to keeping it on the road beyond Comar's legs.
Keeping a 550-lb Harley cruiser going straight without hands might not sound so hard. But as the video from one of Comar's rides shows, steering with your body requires a whole different set of skills. It looks impossible to make the smaller, constant corrections as you would with handlebars, and Comar has to plan ahead for any combination of traffic and turns. While a freeway offers far fewer corners, it also raises the speed to dangerous levels; Comar takes some precautions by having chase vehicles and another rider always nearby.
There are easier ways to raise money for charity, and if you want to help Comar reach his goal of $25,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, you can donate here.