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17,500 MILES IN 17 DAYS!

Posted: Sunday, September 4, 2011 1:00 pm | Updated: 5:56 pm, Fri Sep 2, 2011.

Local Motorcyclist Crisscrosses U.S., hits 49 states TWICE: BY Nora Avery-Page, DAILY NEWS-SUN Your West Valley

Tom Loegering took eight-and-half days to travel through 49 states on his motorcycle. Then he turned around and made the trip again.

Mr. Loegering, CEO of Sun City Country Club and a member of the Recreation Centers of Sun City Board of Directors, is the first member of the Iron Butt Association, a long distance motorcycle rider club, to make the trip back to back. “In our group only 78 people have done it,” Loegering said of the one-way trips. Loegering has done the first round twice before this back-to-back trip. He has to get proof he was in each state to submit to the club, usually with receipts from gas stations or motels. He uses his credit-card information to back up the receipts. At the beginning of the ride, two people with no connection to him must verify his starting location. For the first leg of the ride, Loegering started in Needles, Calif., before heading to Laughlin, Nev., which allowed him to hit two states in about 26 miles. “It takes about a year of planning,” he said. “When I came back, I just about went to the same spots.”

Loegering, 73, rides a 2005 BMW LT1200, which he said is easy to ride, comfortable, and quiet. He said he wouldn’t want to make the trip on any other bike. “People say, ‘Why do you do it? Is it fun?’ No, it’s hard work,” he said. The ride is more of an endurance test, Loegering said, and both your mind and body have to be in good shape to handle the trip. “You learn what your body can take and what are your signs of fatigue,” he said. Loegering said many people think the riders have to speed to make the trip in such a short amount of time, but he said safety is an important part of the ride too, so he stays with traffic and doesn’t speed excessively. “I ride 250 to 300 miles between stops,” Loegering said, adding that if he were speeding, it would use more gas and he would have to stop more often, bringing his miles per hour down. As it is, Loegering used about 437 gallons of gas on this trip.

He said no matter the amount of planning, you also have to be able to think on the fly during the ride. For him, it was finding a new route after a bridge was out between Illinois and Kentucky. Being prepared is important. While Loegering knows how to fix his own flat tires, he has to have his bike tuned before leaving to avoid any time-killing repairs. “Just getting my bike prepared was over three grand,” he said, adding that the cost might be a reason younger riders don’t tackle the trip.

“Everybody is surprised I can do that, and I think some of that is because of my age,” Loegering said.

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