The 18,000 mile road trip to raise polio
awareness in 50 states
Polio survivor embarks on two-wheeled odyssey for
BY PETER THOMPSON
Appeal Staff Writer,
April 26, 2005
Life is a highway and the highway is life for Bob Mutchler.
A few bumps in the road are not going to stop a man who has survived the scourge
of polio and dedicated the last two decades of his life to chasing it down and
destroying it once and for all.
His weapon of choice - a custom-fit BMW motorcycle.
As part of his latest marathon ride to raise funds and awareness for Rotary
International's PolioPlus program, "Motorcycle Bob" Mutchler will be making a
pit stop around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Nevada Legislative Building.
This will be the fifth major two-wheel trek for the professional piano
technician and president-elect of the North Sacramento Rotary Club.
Mutchler was infected with the disease when he was 9 months old and spent much
of the first three years of his life breathing with the aid of an old-fashioned
Dubbed "The Centennial Ride" in honor of the 100-year anniversary of Rotary
International, Mutchler's latest trip will take him from Sacramento through all
50 state capitals and 10 Canadian provincial capitals to the Rotary centennial
celebration and parade in Chicago on June 14, riding some 18,000 miles.
While Mutchler still suffers from irreversible nerve damage from his battle with
the disease and walks with the aid of crutches, he rides his motorcycle like a
crusader. His past trips have taken him from Australia to Hawaii and back
several times over.
He has raised untold amounts of money for polio eradication and shed millions of
watts over the present-day realities of the disease, one that many people have
wiped from their minds as a existing threat since the booster shot became widely
The ride also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the polio vaccine, made by
Dr. Jonas Salk.
Rotary International started its polio eradication effort in 1985 in hopes of
eliminating the degenerative disease throughout the world by 2005. While the
disease still affects many children in developing and Third World countries, in
their 20 years of determined efforts to eradicate polio, Rotary has inoculated
more than 1.5 billion children in more than 80 countries.
"Bob represents the determination that Rotary has to eradicate this," says
Rafael Cappucci, president of the Carson City Rotary. "We enthusiastically
support 'Motorcycle Bob' on his ride and wish him a safe, successful journey."