Michael Reid and Yonatan Belik jumped onto their 50cc Honda Ruckus motor scooters on Sept. 7 in Philadelphia ready to ride nearly 9,000 miles for two reasons: to break a Guinness World Record and to highlight the stories of people they met along the way.
After scootering at 35 mph through freezing weather and 24 states, Project Create48 riders Reid and Belik arrived in Crescent City on Oct. 14, halfway through their journey, amazed by the redwood trees and the scenic Pacific Coast.
“We finally made it to the Pacific Ocean … and we are surrounded by the redwoods,” Belik said. “We were not planning to come to Crescent City, bu t… we changed our route to make sure we went through here.”
Their Project Create48 is part of a greater initiative, Wheeling for the World, a group of change-makers seeking to explore and inspire through movement.
Growing up in two different countries - Reid from in U.S. and Belik in Israel - they shared the same dream of breaking a Guinness World Record.
“For me, this is proving to myself that we can be more than what we’ve been told,” Belik said.
They followed that dream first in the summer of 2018 in Maine, when they broke the record for the longest distance on a kick/push scooter - 24 hours. Now, they are off to conquer their second record.
For over six weeks the pair has scootered through North America, camping in a tent every night and visiting with local residents. As they go along, they film and photograph people of all different backgrounds and highlight their stories on Instagram and Facebook.
The journey is not all fun and games. They have endured flat tires and mechanical issues, and have had to hand pump their tires on the side of the road on multiple occasions. But they were surprised that their greatest challenge turned out to be cold weather.
They had thought they had left early enough in the fall to avoid major temperatures, but as soon as they reached the northern states, the mercury dropped significantly. Each day, they would scooter into the wind, then sleep in a mildly shielded tent.
“We’ve been shivering for about two weeks since we went from the north, like a freezer, voluntarily sleeping in a freezer,” Belik said.
The worst moment was when they entered the Rocky Mountains from Montana. The temperature dropped to below freezing. Their hands turned white as they gripped the scooter handles and slowly proceeded, until Belik could not handle it anymore. He ran into the closest restaurant and placed his hands near the heater for relief.
That said, going back has never been an option in either of their minds. This journey has taken a tremendous amount of determination, according to Reid, and they are set on finishing it.
For four months, they sought out sponsors to get the funds for their journey. They have sacrificed comfort, work and money because they are motivated to do something that matters to them and to act on their visions.
“We have massive amounts of understanding that you have to sacrifice a lot to live your dreams,” Reid said. “It’s very challenging to bike through the cold…
“It’s not an easy trip. It’s definitely a massive challenge.”