Million Mile Harley-Davidson
Former Wisconsin State Senator, Dave Zien, completed his
18 year journey and record breaking attempt by accumulating
one million miles on his 1991 FXRT. Zien and his entourage
rode into the parking lot of Hal’s Harley-Davidson, New Berlin,
Wisconsin, amid the cheers and flags of over 300 enthusiastic
Left to right: Scott Walker, County Executive of Milwaukee county, Mike Hupy, Dave Zein and Rex Hupy. Arriving at the dealership with Michael Hupy riding behind
him for the millionth mile.
At the event, Zien thanked Attorney Michael Hupy and Hupy
and Abraham law firm for sponsoring his ride and making this all
possible. In return, Attorney Hupy thanked Dave for his service
to his country and presented him with a check in the amount of
$5,000.00, payable to the Wisconsin Department of Veteran’s
Affairs. Zien was an outreach director for the VA after he came
stateside, and helped veterans get loans for housing and
Tony Sanfelipo, ready to ride.
Rogue, and news camerman, ready for the open road.
To cap off the final leg of his voyage, Zien decided to invite
long time friend and fellow Sturgis Freedom Fighter Hall of Fame
member, Tony “Pan” Sanfelipo, on a 3,000 mile round trip ride to
Florida and back. There, they would pick up photo-journalist
John “Rogue” Herlihy, another Freedom Fighter Hall of Fame
member. Joining the ride was also Dan Stephans, another friend
of Zien’s and Iron Butt competitor. The foursome left Space
Coast Harley-Davidson in Palm Bay, Florida on a return trip to
Wisconsin fraught with bad weather, torrential rains, tornado
warnings and flash floods.
Dave with the Space Coast H-D group.
Even in a storm, Dave looks to the positive things in life,
and even within set backs, like engine failures or missed
appointments or opportunities, instead of anger he calls it,
"Blessings in disguise. Bikers," he says, "have "courage,
creativity and charisma."
After passing numerous cars pulled over just outside of
Nashville, the group came upon an overturned semi-truck
blown off the highway. Just north of Nashville, two lanes of I-65
were closed due to flooding. It was a memorable ride back,
leading up to an even more memorable world record. In fact,
Michael Kneebone, president of the Iron Butt Association,
presented Zien with a special certificate on April 4th. He
explained that they had an award category for riders who
reached one million miles, but they never had anyone do it on a
Zien and Tony Pan spent the morning, of the landing party,
riding in the hills around Pan’s home in Waukesha County. They
calculated the last 30 miles needed to reach one million. They
rolled into the staging area with only two miles left to go, which
was the exact distance from that spot to Hal’s Harley-Davidson.
Riding behind a flag escort provided by Patriot Guard Riders, the
FXRT rolled into Hal’s just as the odometer rolled over to all
When Dave speaks of riding a motorcycle, he evokes a
spiritualism from deep within his soul. He often talks of bikers
saying they are today's freedom fighters and, "Red blooded
American patriotism is alive and well deep within us. For some,
we show it."
Two days later, on April 6th, the group pulled up at Harley’s
corporate headquarters at 3700 W. Juneau Avenue, Milwaukee.
There, Steve Phillips, VP of Quality and Dealer Relations, handed
over the keys to a brand new 2009 Road Glide. Phillips joked
that he had to give Zien a new bike because they couldn’t find
any technicians who would work on the FXRT anymore.
Tony Sanfelipo, long time freedom fighter, and Michael Hupy
investigator, was cold that day.
When something does upset him, like anti-biker legislation,
his response is a call for effective activism.
There's the lovely Vicki Sanfelipo on stage with Dave. She
runs Accident Scene Management seminars all over the country.
Education saves lives.
"Plant the see, set the stage, bait the hook. Stand up, speak
out and fight back."
These sayings are wholly owned by Zien, to the point they
are referred to as Zienism. He's famous and somewhat notorious
for these exclamations. He ends almost every speech with this:
"May you have hunger in the heart, fire in the belly, and your
soul is absolutely on fire."
From the left that's Kirk Willard, the president of
the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, Dave and ...
These are some of the passions he wears on his tattered
leather sleeves and so selflessly shares with anyone who will
About the 1-Million Mile FXRT
Some little know facts about Zien’s FXRT and the wear and
tear of a million miles.
The bike has original fenders, gas tank, oil tank, triple tree,
handlebars, primary and tranny case (the main shaft is original
but the gears have all been replaced).
There is no kill switch on the bike (ok, for the newbie
bikers, that’s the on/off switch)
No kickstand (he had to lean the bike on curbs, against
No neutral or oil lights, tachometer doesn’t work, no horn
and the odometer worked but the speedometer arm was broken
so he guessed at speeds.
He had the motor rebuilt 10 times, with a remanufactured
motor being installed last October in Yuma, Arizona at Bobby’s
Territorial Harley-Davidson. The bolts holding the lower cases
together had metal fatigue and have tyme serts holding them in.
The bike utilizes a roach clip jumper cable system from
battery to coil for hard to start cold mornings. It has as an
auxiliary 6-gallon fuel cell with John Deere petcocks to increase
mileage on his endurance rides. On one leg of this journey he
ran 31,000 miles in 31 days for another record.
The transmission was overhauled three days before his last
leg ride to Florida. Due to excessive pressure buildup, the
primary was drilled and vented one week before the final leg
journey. Although the bike has a kick peddle, Zien uses a
Phillips screw driver, which he inserts into a hole drilled in his
starter, to bring the beast to life.
The bike has seen 105 rear tires and 65 front tires, 17
stators, 9 seats and Zien has worn out 13 pairs of engineer
boots while riding Suzanna Ala Sha-Luck A Lay Ya, the name he
affectionately calls his bike.
An old tradition with him, he also named his rifle Betsy-Sue,
while serving in Vietnam with L Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th
Marines, 3rd Marine Division. He even remembers the guns
serial number, 549909. Like his gun, which he depended on for
life, his bike kept him alive and vital.
Congratulations Dave Zien on a record that will stand
for many years, and best of luck on your next million miles.
The Dave Zien PR Newswire photo distribution
was picked up by the Reuters sign in Times Square and the
Clear Channel sign in Las Vegas. Attached are photos of the