There are many folks who have done round the world trips on motorbikes, ranging from the rich and famous to the sort of fellow you’d meet in the local bar. Ewan McGregor of Star Wars fame and his friend Charley Boorman are possibly the best known of those to recently accomplish this feat. They had a support van and staff at various points, but they were the guys in the saddles doing the hard slogs on their new, fully up to date BMW’s and covered about 32,000 kilometres (20,000 miles) along the way. They made a TV series and also produced a book of their adventures which was called ‘Long Way Round’ which has been very popular – almost a must read amongst the motorbike crowd. At the other extreme are the two guys from Norway who I suspect almost no-one other than friends and a few admirers have ever heard of, who are attempting to ride their two 70 year old motorbikes a hell of a lot further !
Tormod Amlien and Klaus Ulvestad, together with their two 1930’s Nimbus motorcycle sidecar outfits left Norway in April, 2009 for a trip of truly epic intent – to ride 70,000 kilometres (about 44,000 miles) travelling east from Norway around the world. They have tagged their effort the KCCD (which is short for ‘King Croesus Contempt for Death’) 2009 tour, and you can follow along with their exploits on their web and blog site here .
The first part of their journey has taken them through Europe, Russia, Mongolia, South Korea and into Canada and the US. And keep in mind that unlike the McGregor/Boorman effort these guys have no support team following behind them in a van (which included a doctor), no big name international equipment suppliers, they definitely do not have new fancy bikes, or international media sponsorship – basically no real safety net at all. At this point they are in Vermont doing full rebuilds on the two bikes after driving in the dead of winter across the US – and for anyone who hasn’t tried it, that can be one heck of a bad news adventure in a car, never mind on an antique motorcycle ! They will be at the New York City International Motorcycle Show January 22 through 24th – if you are in the area, and admire dogged determination, then it would be worth checking out. The two travellers will be giving a slide show and talk where attendees can ” Learn from the best in class how bad planning, even worse execution, and low budget can be defeated by stubbornness and ignorance of common sense.” Should be a worth listening to ! If you want to help finance a bit of what I consider to be admirable, eccentric behaviour they do accept donations (see the lower part of this web page), and if you wish to, you can buy a tour t-shirt here. I’ve already got mine !
It is already an amazing story, and they still have 50% of the trip ahead of them – if they ever decide to publish a book, then I know I’ll buy a copy as soon as an English version is available !