Thursday, June 16, 2005

'A messenger to the public'
Motorcycle Bob continues his quest to eradicate polio

By REBECCA CRUSE
Capital Journal Staff

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Motorcycle Bob Mutchler was greeted at the Capitol on Saturday afternoon by several people in support of his cause. Mutchler is riding across the United States and parts of Canada to help raise awareness and funds for Polio Plus. He stopped in Pierre for one night before continuing on to Minnesota. (Capital Journal photo by Rebecca Cruse)

He’s been on the road since March 15, and a Saturday stop in Pierre marked mile 16,733.

On a BMW bike with a sidecar that holds supplies, including rain gear and leg braces, Bob Mutchler rode up to the Capitol around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Motorcycle Bob is the popular adage given to the Sacramento native and polio survivor, who is riding to every state capital and parts of Canada in an effort to eradicate polio.

The Rotary district in Hawaii helped Motorcycle Bob kick off his tour on March 15. His bike was flown over and Mutchler rode across four Hawaiian islands.

From Hawaii, Mutchler went to California and participated in the state highway patrol Polio Plus fundraiser.

Motorcycle Bob continued his ride, breaking an alternator belt in Florida and getting snowed out of the eastern Canadian provinces.

“This has definitely been the most difficult ride of my life,” he said. “My measuring device to know the ride is productive is when I’ll stop for gas and someone comes up to me and says, ‘I saw you on the news’ or ‘I read about you in the newspaper. Where can I donate?’”

Mutchler left Bismark, N.D., early Saturday morning and caught the rain about 10 miles down the road. He left Pierre on Sunday for Saint Paul, Minn.

After Saint Paul, motorcycle Bob has one more capital, Madison Wisc., then he will ride to Chicago for the national Rotary convention.

Motorcycle Bob was greeted at the Capitol by an entourage of fellow riders, Rotary representatives and Mayor Dennis Eisnach.

Mutchler has been working to help prevent polio since 1984 when Rotary developed the Polio Plus program.

The project goal for Polio Plus is to completely eradicate polio by the end of 2005.

Since Rotary began working on the project polio cases have been reduced by 99 percent, according to Eisnach.

Mutchler says that more than $600 million has been raised in the United States for polio prevention by Rotary clubs alone, and more than 20,000 additional organizations have contributed to the cause.

Immunizations cost only 50 cents per child, and according to Motorcycle Bob, 100 percent of donations to Polio Plus go directly to the hard costs of vaccinations and equipment.

Mutchler has worked on Polio Plus outside of the U.S. as well. He says that Africa is a major area of focus right now, due to recent outbreaks.

Motorcycle Bob takes care of most of his own expenses on the road for the most part.

Cities and Rotary clubs have been welcoming though, offering room and board on many of his stops.

In Pierre, Motorcycle Bob was put up at the Governor’s Inn, and a dinner was held in his honor at the St. Charles Restaurant on Saturday evening.

Mutchler’s only request was a Pierre Rotary banner.

“I’m a messenger to the public,” said Mutchler. “If everyone in America put up $1, we’d have enough. Please, get your donations in and support the program. Let’s get this taken care of now.”

 

 

 

DONATIONS to either PolioPlus or to support Motorcycle Bob's rides can be made through Motorcyclists for Awareness of Children's HealthClick here for a donation form.  If you would like to be a sponsor or join Motorcycle Bob on a ride, contact Bob at bob@polioplusride.org

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