Brian Conrad is no stranger to long motorcycle rides. This May, he completed a new challenge: an Iron Butt ride that took him through 48 states in less than 10 days.
An Edward Jones financial advisor who works in Severna Park, Conrad often swaps out his business attire for a jacket and helmet as he enjoys his longtime passion. In 2018, he traversed the country from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Diego, California. That ride was completed in less than 50 hours.
“I like long-distance riding,” Conrad said. “It’s about the journey as opposed to the destination.”
At 4:57am on May 13, Conrad departed from Pasadena, Maryland, on his 2020 BMW R1250 GSA. He returned nine days, four hours and 13 minutes later on May 22 after traveling 8,371 miles.
Posed as a challenge by the Iron Butt Association, the ride had strict requirements. Conrad had to show a photo “receipt” every 250 miles.
“People think you have to speed to do them or that they are a race, but they’re not,” Conrad said of the Iron Butt rides. “You’re just efficient.”
Although he did not have much time to appreciate each state, Conrad said the ride was full of memorable moments.
“I got to cruise down the Vegas strip and got that classic shot in front of the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign,” he said.
He also stopped in Wall Drug, South Dakota. “The world-famous Wall Drug store has doughnuts and five-cent coffee,” Conrad said.
Conrad stopped at the residence of a friend who he met during his days as a Washington state trooper. In Spokane, Washington, he encountered a snowstorm. Just east of Bozeman, Montana, he was surrounded by a whiteout and followed another vehicle to safety. Fortunately, he came prepared for cold temperatures, clad in an electric jacket that he wore from days six through eight, from Montana to Sturgis, Michigan.
On his last full day, which started in Sturgis, he tallied 1,400 miles. But there was one more snag. A hotel operator told Conrad that due to a Garth Brooks concert in Boston, all hotels within a 75- to 100-mile radius were booked. So, he kept riding until he reached Rhode Island around 1:00am.
As he returned to Pasadena on May 22, he removed his helmet, a crease parting his hair. He was greeted by his supportive wife, Christine, a fellow rider.
For his effort, Conrad received an electronic certificate along with a patch and a pin. It was a satisfying moment for Conrad, who has been involved in many rewarding events as a biker.
He has helped sick kids through the AngelRide, which raised money for the hospital outreach program at Hole in the Wall Gang Camp until 2018. With the Face of America Ride, he was able to help veterans.
Now that he’s completed the 48 states ride, Conrad will soon plan his next adventure. The Iron Butt Association has border-to-border rides that encourage participants to start in either Canada or Mexico and reach the other border within 24 or 36 hours.
The Iron Butt Association has well over 100 ride variations that challenge bikers to visit state capitals, national parks, complete 1,000 miles in less than 24 hours (SaddleSore 1000) and visit other sites.
Conrad is still savoring his newest experience.
“I covered all four seasons,” he said. “It was 108 degrees in Needles, California, and 116 degrees when I came into Las Vegas. And then I had the snowstorms. It was a bucket list item, so I’m happy I did it.”
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