"No-Hands" Man Finishes Trip in Covington
It was a "long" and "stressful at times" ride on a motorcycle from Mackinac City, Michigan to Covington, Kentucky on Sunday but Phil Comar made it, and he did it without placing his hands on the handlebars. "I ride no-handed most of the time except to shift, stop, or rest my throttle," Comar said, munching on breakfast Monday at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel in Covington where his journey ended. "Every ride is a practice ride. As soon as I get up to speed I let my hands off. It's become second-nature to me." Each time he makes the ride, what he calls the Bridge to the Border named for the Mackinac Bridge and the Ohio-Kentucky border, Comar hopes to extend his world record for longest hands-free trip.
Comar's affinity for riding a motorcycle may seem contradictory to the fact that he is also a motorcycle safety instructor back home in Adrian, Michigan, which is just north of the Ohio border near Toledo. Most would cut Comar slack for that fact because his reason for the hands-free jaunts down more than five hundred miles of interstate highway is to raise money for Parkinson's Disease research. His father succumbed to the disease prompting his activism on behalf of the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “I chose to do the “End of the Summer Poker Run” as well as the “Bridge to the Border Ride 2012” as part of Team Fox because in 2008 my father, Robert E. Comar, died from Parkinson’s disease, and I wanted to do something personally to further the Foundation’s work. They are funding ‘cutting-edge’ research to bring meaningful advances in treatments and eventually a cure to people affected by this devastating disease. It is very important to me to know that 90 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to research”, said Comar.
Comar has made the trip before, accepting donations online and in person along the way, and he intends to try again next year where he will likely stop at the Radisson, a place he notes as being the closest accomodations right off the highway. Last year, in another attempt at setting the world record for longest hands-free ride, and this year, Comar has collected more than $7,000.
He doesn't travel alone, either. A police escort helped him through the first two counties, and various biker groups in a highly orchestrated and organized effort, would join at various points along the way. In a Toyota Prius behind Comar, his friends Lisa Rosenberg and David Alrich follow closely, video recording the whole journey and communicating with Comar through a bluetooth headset.
Though there is no official record kept for longest hands-free ride, Comar maintains that his claim has never been disputed. His efforts have also landed him an invitation to Manhattan to attend the Michael J. Fox Foundation's annual awards presentation. After breakfast Monday, Comar and his team hit the road again with Rosenberg and Allrich in the Prius and Comar on his bike, hands free yet again.
PHOTO: Phil Comar stands with Radisson General Manager Pete Jordan near Comar's motorcycle.