Writer's Ramblings

A World Traveler Visits Sturgis-Marek Michel

Written by  August 31, 2005

Marek Michel from Houston, Texas, attended his first Sturgis Rally this year. When I met him on Sturgis’ Main Street he told me he didn’t know there were that many motorcycles in the world. Like most first-time Sturgis visitors, he was in awe. But among those thousands of motorcyclists, there were few, if any, who have duplicated Michel’s accomplishment of having completed two motorcycle world-tours.

In 1974 when Michel was a student in his native Poland, he embarked on a journey that took him through Germany, France, Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Syria, Turkey, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Australia, and the United States from coast to coast on a WSK 125 c.c. motorcycle. Over a 90-day period, he visited a total of 23 countries and covered 30,000 miles. The Wytwornia Sprzetu Komunikacyjnego factory produced about 2,500,000 motorcycles from 1946 to 1985. The WSK bikes, extremely popular in Poland, were powered by 125 or 175 c.c. two-stroke motors. The one Michel rode on his 1974 trip is on permanent display at the WSK Museum in Swidnik, near Lublin in southern Poland.

When Michel fled Poland in 1984 with his wife and daughter, they came to the United States as political refugees. Michel had planned to become a veterinarian, but he discovered that his lack of proficiency in the English language was an insurmountable obstacle. He decided to become a truck driver instead and enjoys the opportunity to travel the country and meet people. His current employer is Stevens Transport. Michel has been a U.S. citizen for 21 years.

Michel’s second motorcycle tour began in May, 2004. This time he spent 47 days touring Poland, Siberia, Russia, South Korea, Japan, and many other countries. This journey of 15,000 miles cost Michel about $2,800, the same amount he spent on the first trip. During his travels, Michel prefers tent camping to motels, and he does his own cooking.

Over the years Michel has owned as many as 28 different motorcycles, of which about 15 have been street bikes. During his youth, Michel was an accomplished motocross racer. Michel’s current bike is a Kawasaki KLR 650. It has a dual overhead cam, four-valve liquid-cooled, single-cylinder motor. He chose the Kawasaki based on recommendations from other long-distance travelers and because of its great fuel range (around 240 miles per tank) and reputation for dependability. Michel reported that his Kawasaki has given him 16,000 miles of trouble-free riding.

A ride around the perimeter of South America is the next trip on Michel’s agenda. He plans to resign from his job and re-apply when he returns due to the lengthy absence. His approach to the trip will be to take his time and refrain from trying to maintain a set schedule.

Michel is very proud of his daughter who is studying law in San Francisco. In addition to his interests in motorcycling and trucking, he is also an inventor and has designed several accessories for trucks. Now divorced, he is seeking a wife and has expressed a preference for slender ladies in the 40-50 age range. From what I know of Michel, an interest in travel and a sense of humor are also important traits. I wish him the best of luck in his travels and his search for romance.

At Michel’s request, is am providing his contact information:

e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 713-705-0248 or 310-948-0219

Street: Marke Michel, 11342 Bandlon Drive, Houston, TX 77072

Story and lead photo by Stripe
Photos other than lead photo provided by Michel