Written by: Peter Sanderson, Blogger (www.ridingadventures.ca) – December 31, 2014
An outside look at Michael Fritz from V-Strom Adventures
The BIG BANG
I guess it was about three to four years ago when Michael was hit by a police car while riding his Yamaha cruiser. I don’t what to discuss the details of the accident since it is still in litigation and the court case is on going. However it is suffice to say that it left him at the side of the road with a completely smashed left leg and some other major scratches and bruises. The rebuilding of his leg is an ongoing process and in fact he just had a last operation that replaced metal, shaved bones and included all that gory stuff that I do not even like to imagine or visualize. I had picked him up from the hospital on November 6th, 2014 and yesterday he picked me up in his car and we spent the day shopping at outdoor camping equipment stores for needed “stuff” for his planned adventure to Alaska and then the Panama. He had no pain killers and seemed to be walking fine.
The BIG BANG three years ago left Michael on major pain medication and bed ridden for some time. However the first thing he did when he was able to crawl out of his bed was to exam the condition of his Yamaha and begin the planned restoration of it. He started ordering parts from around the world since his bike was a classic survivor from the eighties. I believe it was a Virago. When he went from crawling to walking he actually focused his recovery time on rebuilding the Yamaha. I guess he had in the back of his mind the old saying “When you fall off a horse you have to get right back on“.
Two years ago I went riding with Michael for the first time since we have only being friends since the last three years when he was recommended to me as a potential dog sitter since he was not yet back to work and loved dogs. At that time I had a Vespa 300 GTV yet he never turned up his nose to ride with me like many other Harley riders would have. After getting to know Michael, I was amazed at how he was able to get back on the bike. But more over, he would do work for me in the back yard such as rebuilding a fence. Fence building is hard work for most of us not to mention a person recovering from multiple surgeries to rebuild his leg. He never complained about the pain, but it was clear that his limping would increase incrementally with each fence post or board he would pick-up and carry. By the end of the day he would go home, bath, take pain killers and sit still on his lazy boy until the morning.
I would never even dream of building a fence in the middle of such a recovery to my leg. But that is Michael Fritz! He suffers through the pain, endures it and rides on.
The Adventure of a Life Time
With that brief history, I think you can imagine how Michael will endure throughout his future adventures on his bike. He has since sold the Yamaha and purchased a Suzuki V-Strom 650 Off and on road motorcycle. He purchased it this past summer and ever since he started dreaming about a long ride. Since a “long Ride’ is such a relative term and to some it may mean riding up to the cottage on a weekend and to others it could mean riding to Disneyland. But that’s not what a long ride means to Michael. I think that after his surgeries, suffering and endurance that it was necessary for Michael to push himself towards each painful recovery step. I think that this has become part of his life. So for you and I and most people, a long ride means pushing ourselves that extra mile when our back begins to get sore.
Let me explain clearly Michael’s definition of a “Long Ride”. It means packing the motorcycle in such a way that he will be self-sufficient to camp and eat anywhere such as very cold or very hot temperatures, defend himself from wild life such as bears, and be able to keep up his motorcycle when it fails him or simply tips over when crossing a river. Yes, all of this plus is required when you plan to ride from Cornwall, Ontario Canada to Alaska, USA and then down south to the Panama. Michael is not yet fifty but I know he is over 40. I believe that this trip is necessary as the last step towards his full recovery. More importantly however is that I believe he strongly desires a life changing adventure. I do not think that he will return, at least not for a very long time. In his past life he worked for charity and organizations that provided help in third world countries many in the middle of a war. I think he is drawn back to his wish to dedicate his life to helping others. I think that one day in the near future that I may take a Plane (not riding a motorcycle) to a small village on the outskirts of the Amazon to visit Michael and see the work that he does to help the people.
Michael has decided to combine his needed adventure with raising money for cancer research in Canada and the United States. Therefore his journey will not only be about his suffering and endurance in wilderness areas along his path but also about relieving the suffering of others. Everyone can now take part in his journey and help raise money for cancer research. We can follow Michael from the time he leaves Cornwall until he settles somewhere in South America. We can plan to meet him somewhere along his journey and even offer him a meal, shower or bath since I know it would be much appreciated. I wish Michael great luck throughout his journey and I will be one of his many supporters.
I just thought that this post is necessary so that everyone can understand Michael. He would never write such a thing about himself. I helped him set up this blog in preparation for his trip so I had administration rights to publish this. I am certain that he won’t mind. He may feel a bit embarrassed or shy which is just the kind of guy he is.