For gamblers, the only thing that makes a bet more interesting is a meaty side bet. Bill Perkins, a hedge fund manager, was at a poker table in Vegas when he offered another player a wager: pedal from the famous Las Vegas sign to Los Angeles in less than 48 hours.
The wager for the 293 mile ride? Six hundred thousand dollars. The other player wasn’t into it. However, after thinking about it for a few days, another player at the table, Dan Bilzerian, ponied up.
With 16.4 million followers, Bilzerian is one of the most famous dudes on Instagram, thanks to countless photos of scantily clad women, guns and (this being the Internet) his cat.
A high-stakes poker player, the 35-year-old Hugh Hefner for the Maxim generation has been living a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle for more than a decade: At 25, Bilzerian suffered a heart attack at Las Vegas’ Bellagio hotel, after what he claims was a 96-hour cocaine and Viagra bender.
Fond of living large (not necessarily Living Strong), Bilzerian claims he has next to no cycling background; he told the NY Post he’d spent less than 20 hours on a bike in his life before taking the bet. But news of the wager spread fast and soon he was pedaling with none other than Lance Armstrong.
Tipping the scales at 200 pounds, the 5’10” multimillionaire seems more suited to MMA than cycling. Bilzerian started pedaling yesterday and his team is posting updates to 48hourbet.com. Although some of those updates are free, others are behind a $9.99 paywall.
According to the website, “Because of Dan’s celebrity and his highly anticipated 48 hour bet, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will escort him from the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign to the Nevada state line.”
The LVPD also held up traffic lights for Bilzerian as he rode his way down Las Vegas Boulevard. He rode a recumbent for much of the ride — not the coolest-looking bike on the planet, but very aerodynamic. And to make the ride a bit easier, he also drafted behind a lead vehicle, which probably saved the cyclist an additional 20 percent of energy output.
Bilzerian said he spent around $125,000 on equipment and chase vans and support staff. His crew includes bike mechanics, a doctor, two chefs, a trainer, a massage therapist and an assistant. And if he makes it, he’ll win the $600k. Although he’s not allowed to use tow ropes, he can walk if he gets sick of pedaling.
No word yet if Salomon, the man who stands to lose the bet, is on the route. “I may follow him in an RV, and that will be psychological torture for Dan,” the 47-year-old told the Post. But, according to 48hourbet, Bilzerian has crossed into California after a few close calls during his ride. Stay tuned for further updates.
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