Custom RFA E85 Motorcycle Hits the Road
by Kelsey Quargnenti (Renewable Fuels Association) Last month, the Renewable Fuels Association custom E85 motorcycle from Paul Jr. Designs made its debut on “American Chopper.” It seems that most companies that commission a custom motorcycle from Paul Jr. Designs never register it, and never ride it. They become corporate lobby trophies after a trade show or two, and many are never started again. That was not the intent of RFA with our new motorcycle and we clearly demonstrated that this past week. The intent is to utilize this motorcycle to start a conversation, and when people see it, it does just that.
I hit the road last week with an ole’ motorcycle friend, Doug Brandmahl. He was the first person I met when riding my Harley to Sturgis 10 years ago this August. His buddies had abandoned him last minute, but he decided to go it alone from Richmond, Va., despite the 1,800-mile ride. We met at a McDonalds in Iowa, and thanks to the Sturgis Rally and the Buffalo Chip Campground, have remained friends over the years. We were in for a treat, a five-state adventure after departing Kansas.
The first stop was at Mid-Missouri Energy just outside Malta Bend, Mo. I saw old corn grower friends, and met many new folks during my stop. Even former RFA board member Ryland Utlaut came by to see the motorcycle. Hundreds of pictures were taken, questions answered, and everyone heard the roar of the motorcycle’s engine. Special thanks to RFA Board Member Chris Wilson for hosting the stop.
The next stop was just a few miles away at Show Me Ethanol near Carrollton, Mo. They were having a board meeting that day, which allowed other RFA members, Eco-Energy, and Missouri Corn Growers Association to be there. They hosted a large lunch for everyone to come check out the motorcycle, along with the local newspaper. I spoke to the group about the motorcycle build process, and being part of “American Chopper.” Special thanks to Rich Hanson for hosting, and The Carrollton Democrat for covering.
Before crossing into Michigan, we stopped at a Speedway in Angola, Ind. to fill the motorcycle with E85. It was a perfect example of ethanol’s cost savings benefit. Utilizing E85 versus premium, the fuel of choice for most motorcycle riders, saved us $1.35/gallon.
We ventured on to a county corn grower meeting outside of Lansing, Mich., for a dinner and meeting. Nearly 90 people attended the event, including elected officials and aspiring politicians, but farmers and consumers too. I rode the motorcycle into the machine shop hosting the event and spoke to the group about the ethanol industry, and the motorcycle.
Before departing the area, we filled the RFA motorcycle again with E85 at a Sunoco station supplied by The Andersons.
Crossing back into Indiana, we headed to RFA Member CIE, aka Central Indiana Ethanol. The timing of this stop couldn’t have been better, as they were hosting their customer appreciation day. More than 1,100 invites were sent out and over the two-hour period hundreds of people learned about the RFA, ethanol in motorcycles, and the motorcycle itself. Thanks again to Ryan Drook and Jeff Harts for letting us be a part of their annual event.
The motorcycle will never be just about motorcycles. No matter what you think of motorcycles, people just can’t walk by it without stopping and staring. It is truly a piece of art. Once we have their attention, we can tell our story the way we want it. This has never been about the low volume fuel used in motorcycles, but about all consumers. If you own a motorcycle, it is one of your most prized possessions. If you are comfortable using ethanol in your motorcycle, you will use it in your other engines too. For non-motorcyclists, it is a similar educational process with the motorcycle, just a different road to get there. READ MORE includes photos