Thursday, May 29, 2008


To me, motorcycles and airplanes are very similar. Just ask an airplane pilot or a motorcycle rider/pilot why they fly or ride. You will get one common answer.


To be free on the road or free in the air, there is nothing like it. As Americans I believe we have an innate yearning to be free from whatever we feel holds us down. Be it just another stressful day at work, life not going exactly how we planned, or just to get away and disengage for an hour or more.

Airplane flying takes more training and is a bit more expensive (sometimes) than motorcycles. The beauty of motorcycles is that you can start with a $100 fixer-upper from the junkyard and feel the same basic freedom as you can riding a $100,000 custom made bike from Orange County Choppers. You may get less “cool points” from the casual observer or snobbish biker. However, in the big picture of life it really doesn’t matter what other people think of your bike, it only matters what you think about your bike. I hope you never get brain cancer, or any cancer for that matter, but I can tell you from experience that life takes on a new view after you are diagnosed and you care less about what people think and more about what is really important.

So what am I saying? I am saying enjoy life, love your family and friends (and tell them often that you love them), and don’t miss out on life because you are too busy. Take time to smell the roses my friends.

In addition, as Martin Luther King Jr said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” Ask yourself what else you could be doing to help others. Make a difference.

Lastly, dance like no one is looking (and have a couple beers to lighten up your feet…at least that's what my wife suggests to me).

Cheers, Brian “Brain” Kissinger

Quick Update...need a clutch and new Airhawk seat!

Hey Everyone,

Well it looks like my old 1976 BMW motorcycle's clutch is finally giving up the ghost. It has been slipping for a little while, especially when the bike is cold, and now slips even more in every gear. So before I go on longer rides this summer I will have to tear into it, further diagnose the problem, and replace everything it seems. Oh well, as my fellow cancer survivor Todd Drenkhan likes to say...if it was easy anyone could do it. Part of the fun is overcoming obstacles. Anybody who knows me well realizes that I am not a gifted mechanic, but I am persistent. With a Clymer's repair manual and the help of a friend of 2 I will make the repairs and safely move forward.

On the good news side, Bridget at the Roho Group (makers of the AirHawk seat cushion), contacted me today and said they are sending me an "AirHawk" motorcycle cushion. What a nice thing to do, eh?
If you have not heard of the AirHawk cushion, it is one of the many fine products made by this company out of Belleville, Illinois. Last year they donated the Aviation version of the AirHawk cushion for my charity flight ( I was initially a skeptic but now I am a believer. After many hours of sitting on one of these cushions I can tell you that there is simply nothing like them. Truck stop gel seats or expensive after-market seats don't even come close to the comfort of air. Whether you are flying a plane, piloting a motorcycle or just riding in your car or truck for long distances...they are simply the best! I sometimes plop the AirHawk in my deskchair and it helps eliminate some of the lower back pain I used to get after a long day in the office. Plus I can pretend I am flying or riding a motorcycle instead or working :>)

Go to: for more information. Tell 'em your buddy "Brain" sent you.

So, anyway....I wasn't paid for that endorsement. They are just great cushions.
Back to the cause and the ride. You might be wondering what does the motorcycle I will be riding and rebuilding look like? The primary bike I am riding this summer, and have already put more than 1,000 mile on, is my 1976 R90/6 that I bought from a gentleman in South Bend, Indiana in March. Below is a picture of me riding her back home. Since then I have taken off the trunk case and done some routine maintenance with the help of Ray Zimmerman (BMW MOA Executive Director).
My next plans are to tear into the clutch and do some major maintenance before my long trip out to Wyoming. I will also clean the bike up some more, remove the Windjammer fairing, and if I get real ambitious I might paint it before I depart on my trip. The main issues are finding the time, doing things right, and still trying to ride as much as I can. In the end I will ensure the bike is safe and sound and probably put off a lot of the cosmetic things until winter.
So you might ask, "Why not buy a bike that is ready to go or maybe even get a new one?"
Well, the only way I can honestly answer that is to say I have a problem. Please go to and it may help explain my addiction for doing things the hard way. Last year I finished the restoration of a '42 L-4 Army Air Corps airplane and flew it across the country to help raise awareness and money for brain tumor and cancer research. I named my airplane "Miss P" after my wife (Priscilla) and Perseverance. The 2 things that helped me get through so much in life. So as you may see, it wouldn't be as fun and rewarding to just go buy a new motorcycle and ride it for my cause (to raise awareness and money for brain tumor and cancer research). If you can't see that then sorry, I can't explain it to you.

So there you have update and plan for the summer. 5,000 miles or bust along with a rolling rebuild of a 1976 BMW R90/6 all while raising money for brain tumor and cancer research. All of it ending with a lap on the Indianapolis Speedway on September 13th.
Please stay tuned for the adventure...and donate a dollar or $2 if you can.
Cheers, Brian "Brain" Kissinger

Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome...why Ride Brain Ride?

Welcome to my blog!

I am Brian "Brain" Kissinger, a brain cancer (stage II oligodendroglioma tumor) survivor of almost 5 years. Earlier this year my little 4 year buddy, Julian Avery, lost his battle with this horrible disease. Unfortunately, many other kids fight brain tumors and cancer every day and I just want to help find a cure and/or ease their pain while they are fighting. I've teamed up with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, and their "Ride For Kids" program to help.

My goal is simple. Do a rolling rebuild/restoration of my old BMW motorcycle and ride it at least 5,000 miles over the coming months. I will culminate this fundraiser with a lap on the Indianapolis Motor Speed, a.k.a. the "Brickyard", on 13 September 2008.

Please stay tuned as I post pictures and information of the rebuild of my bike and of my rides. I will also try to shoot some video footage and post it here too.

Most importantly, please take a minute and click on the link to donate a dollar or more for the kids.

All the best,
Brian "Brain" Kissinger