Hoodie Suzuki Boulevard M109R “Bull”
Hoodie Can-Am Spyder F3 2019-on
T-shirt Suzuki GSX-S 1000 SQUAD
Set of 3 stickers Honda Africa Twin 2016-2019 “Mustang”
Poster Yamaha XSR700 “Cougar”
T-shirt Honda CBR 954RR “Panther”
Hoodie Yamaha YZF R6 “Scorpio” 17-20
T-shirt Benelli TRK 800 “Dragon”
Mug Yamaha XSR700 “Cougar”
Poster Harley-Davidson Iron 883 “Beast”
As a sixteen-year-old, nothing thrilled me more than embarking on a motorcycle journey on a sunny Sunday morning. Donning my riding gear and straddling my trusty Honda SS50 GT, I felt the irresistible call of the open road. Riding out of town, I daydreamed about the thrilling adventures that awaited me. The allure of long-distance motorcycle travel has always captivated me, drawing me in with a gravitational force stronger than anything else.
And it turns out, I'm not alone in this passion. Back in 1912, a man named Carl Steams Clancy circumnavigated the globe on a Henderson motorcycle, covering an astonishing 20,000 miles in nearly a year. This was hardcore, considering that almost 90% of the roads were dirt tracks, and he rode on a rigid frame motorcycle.
In the present day, we often engage in lengthy debates about the merits of our "Adventure Bikes." But in 1912, the trip itself was the adventure, and the motorcycle was simply the means of transportation. Speaking of which, here's a playful jab at all you "Adventure bikers" out there!
The Guinness World Record for the most mileage traveled by a round-the-world adventurer belongs to Emilio Scotto, an Argentinian who covered 500,000 miles (735,000 kilometers) over the course of ten years. His epic journey took him through the Amazon, across the Americas (twice in North America), Europe (including Iceland), Russia, Mongolia, Asia, India, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa. He even crossed the Sahara and traversed the West and East coasts, including challenging regions like Congo, Zaire, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea during the rainy season! Now, can you guess what bike Emilio rode on this incredible odyssey? Was it an Africa Twin, BMW GS, or Yamaha XT 600 Tenere? Well, the answer is quite unexpected – he rode a Honda Gold Wing 1100 Interstate, weighing a staggering 1100 pounds.
According to Emilio, the Gold Wing became his faithful companion and travel partner throughout the journey. Laden with all his worldly possessions, he strapped 4 gallons of fuel on top of each pannier and carried 5 gallons of water on the passenger seat. This behemoth of a bike conquered deserts, swamps, ice, and snow. It certainly puts your bragging rights to shame after riding your purpose-built off-road machine through Namibia, doesn't it?
Emilio is not the only one who defied convention by riding inappropriate bikes in unconventional places. Nick Sanders is another prime example. He covered 61,200 kilometers around the world on an Enfield Bullet. And just to show how versatile he is, he hopped on a Yamaha R1 and completed a 32,070-kilometer journey in under 32 days. In total, he has completed seven round-the-world trips on motorcycles (his first trip was by bicycle). Enough said!
It seems that adventurers with the surname Sanders have a knack for these exploits. Kevin Sanders holds the world record for the fastest motorcycle circumnavigation. He rode from Alaska to Florida, crossing Canada, the USA, Europe, Turkey, Iran, Dubai, Australia, New Zealand, and back to America, covering the entire distance in a mind-boggling 19 days, 8 hours, and 25 minutes! Sjaak Lucassen also embarked on world travel with sport bikes, choosing a Honda Fireblade and a Yamaha R1 for his RTW trips.
Helge Pedersen, on his BMW R80GS, traversed 77 countries over a ten-year period, racking up approximately 400,000 kilometers. John Gerber traveled 32,000 kilometers on his Vespa Rally 180. Zoltan Zulkowsky and Gyula Bartha accomplished a remarkable feat by covering 170,000 kilometers around the world on their Harley back in 1928.
Perhaps the most well-documented motorcycle travelogue belongs to Ted Simon. As a journalist in London, he embarked on his adventure aboard a 500cc Triumph Twin, despite not owning a bike or possessing a license at the time. His book, "Jupiter's Travels," is an absolute must-read for any aspiring motorcycle traveler.
Four years and 126,000 kilometers later, Ted completed his journey, offering an account that goes beyond the mere mechanical aspects of the bike. His narrative is intertwined with thrilling adventures and the emotional rollercoaster experienced by most long-term travelers. Furthermore, Ted meticulously documented the world as he saw it in 1974. Undertaking the trip at the age of 42 was challenging yet exhilarating. Interestingly, Ted embarked on another journey at the age of 70, retracing his original route. His observations about how the world had changed over the span of 24 years are incredibly thought-provoking. "Dreaming of Jupiter," his account of the second trip, is a tantalizing read.
The lingering question on every long-distance rider's mind is, "What if my bike breaks down?" Ted's bike experienced its first set of piston failures after 7,000 kilometers. In contrast, Emilio Scotto's Honda Gold Wing went through just one engine overhaul after an incredible 250,000 miles, enduring unspeakable torment. In Iceland, it took him an hour to cover 150 meters, while in the Congo, he navigated mud holes big enough to swallow a truck. And he rode through Asia during monsoon season. It's truly unbelievable that a luxury touring motorcycle could withstand even a fraction of what was thrown at it, testifying to the incredible build quality and reliability of Honda motorcycles.
What can we glean from all these tales of adventure? Firstly, they showcase the incredible resilience of the human spirit. If you believe in something, you can achieve it. Secondly, motorcycles, regardless of their form, remain the top choice of true adventurers when it comes to transportation. The question isn't whether your bike is up to the task; it's whether you are up to the challenge.
Allow me to conclude by sharing the story of another Guinness World Record holder, Dave Barr. A career soldier, Dave served as a helicopter gunship gunner during the final years of the Vietnam War. He then joined the Israeli Defense Force as a paratrooper, followed by the Rhodesian Light Infantry to fight communism in a different context. Dave's military career came to an abrupt halt when the vehicle he was in hit a landmine, resulting in the loss of both his legs – one just above the knee and the other just below. After a lengthy recovery, Dave returned to the United States and embarked on an awe-inspiring journey. Equipped with prosthetic limbs, he hopped on his 1972 Harley Wide Glide and rode an astonishing 133,575 kilometers around the world. He became the first motorcyclist to traverse Siberia in winter. When asked why he chose winter, Dave simply replied, "Well, frostbite on my feet wasn't a problem." Later, he rode an 883 Sportster to all four compass extremities of Australia, setting another Guinness record.
Dave has a deep affection for Southern Africa and conducts annual fundraising rides across South Africa. When asked why he undertakes these incredible feats, he offers a profound answer. Dave believes that when we face our maker and are questioned about how we utilized the extraordinary gift of life, we should have worthy answers. It certainly gives one pause for thought, doesn't it?
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