Michael Czysz is not just another man, he is a rider, a record breaker, an innovator and a dying man. Yes, a dying man as he is suffering from Pleomorphic Rhabdomyosarcoma (also known as RMS), which affects the skeletal muscle and is extremely fatal. But for him, the escape from the feeling of the death, is riding the motorcycles. He rides, rides hard, day in and day out, on his newly found love for the Superleggera given by his friend Arun Sharma, Head of MotoCorsa, biggest Ducati dealer in the US, after Czysz has to sell all his personal bikes in the process of liquidation. That being said, he knows that riding is keeping him alive, a Motorcycle Therapy, as they say.
He will go down in the history books for being an innovator who made some extraordinary bikes to take over the giants of OEMs. He first created his own gas-powered Superbike followed by an electric version of the bike, which made him the first man on the planet to do a 37-mile lap of the Isle of Man TT at an average speed over 100 mph.
Michael Czysz with his electric bike
Michael Czysz was a very successful home decorator at his height of career designing homes for the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Cindy Crawford and many other celebrities. But as they say, destiny always has a calling for you, and so did it for Czysz, as he soon turned towards his love, Motorcyles and formed his own motorcycle company MotoCzysz. The first bike he rolled out of his company was the MotoCzysz C1, which he termed as the true American Sportsbike. He was all set to form his own World Superbike racing team, but the constant changes in the rules of Motorsports eventually led to the project being scrapped.
He turned towards designing more innovative bikes and did a 37mile lap of the Isle of TT, on his electric bike, a first of anyone in the world. Amidst the ups and lows of his career, he discovered that he was suffering from a rare cancer which is not curable. He says “The death usually comes from the cancer metastasizing to your lungs, and at that point it just burdens your organs, now I have this softball-sized tumor that’s pressing up really hard against the return blood vessel into my heart.”
After winning Isle of Man TT
Since then, Czysz has been on chemotherapy and lost more than 60kgs weight, a massive 25 kgs below average. He is going through some troubling times as the doctors have pulled their hands, saying we can't do anything now. Czysz says “They loaded me with as many chemicals as they could to kill the tumor yet still keep me alive, but it didn’t work. The tumor kept growing, doubling in size every three months." “That may not sound like a big deal, but it means it goes from a pea to a walnut in three months, from walnut to tangerine, then tangerine to softball. That happens every quarter. Now, I have one metastasized tumor spreading to my lungs and that’s usually how you end up dying.” he added.
Czysz performing ritual before his run on Superleggera
Soon as he realized that his life will not be normal anymore and he don't have much of the time, he started riding motorcycles again, starting with a borrowed Honda CBR600RR. He was exhausted in only half a day, but he realized that this is what he wants. The Adrenaline rush from riding the bike straight to attain top speeds, or to touch the elbow on the corners, nothing beats the charm of a bike. “I felt really good that day, but I felt like a normal dude again.” said Michael, despite having tons of medications and treatments.
Now riding the Superleggera with his friend, Arun Sharma, it was clear that he is ready to take the rush to an extreme level. “I don’t have the strength to do anything anymore, but I do have the strength to roll the throttle on and feel that thrust, and that feels powerful. That feels good.” said Czysz. “I’m not in great physical shape anymore, but nowadays I feel more normal on the bike than I do even walking up stairs. It’s amazing we can get such power by just twisting your right hand, and as long as you can do that, as long as you can still get that thrill, you’re living.” he added.
Czysz with his idol Rossi
Michael Czysz will die before his time, and he is not doing much to raise the awareness for it as other celebrities do. He instead is motivating people to stay positive as death is inevitable. RMS is an extremely rare disease with only 400 reported cases in the US and Europe in past 20 years. He compares motorcycling with other extreme sports and say, nothing beats the rush that you get from riding fast. For him, bikes are now a way to live his life and we don't have much of the words to describe his fight with the life. All we can say is, 'live your life to the fullest mate'.
Czysz while taking a corner
The hope for life for Czysz
Image credit: Motorcycle.com