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Adventure Experience

Charley
Boorman on Motorbikes and Life!

Charley Boorman is a man who knows a thing or two about travel, adventure and motorcycling after rising to fame with his incredible round the world motorcycle ride with great friend Ewan McGregor.

The past months we had the pleasure of working with him and learned there’s more to Charley than many of us think. From here on we let Charley do the talking. About his life, his views and a little more about his career – his movies, TV shows and charity work.

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You know, not many things in this world are ‘life changing’ – marriage, gout, a lottery win – or premature balding! But bikes... Now they can change your life so much for the better – bring on the comb-over! Just before Long Way Round I was working as a painter and decorator – yes, the life of a semi-employed actor is a bit of a tightrope walk. I usually choose films for their locations rather than their scripts! Not a good move.

RouND THE WORLD

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I met Ewan McGregor whilst working on a movie called ‘The Serpents Kiss’ and we found a common bond immediately – Bikes! It didn’t take long before we were planning some bike trips – the way mates do. Although we’d simply started off thinking of Spain or maybe even Morocco, Ewan’s career had really begun to take off, so we only ever had a short window of opportunity – his lightsaber was already glowing!

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In between films, we decided to grasp the nettle and before we knew it the planning gained momentum – snowballing into a mammoth round the world ride (RTW). The trick was only to ever look at small maps – so much easier to show your wife or boss! The main reason for, initially the book, and then the TV show, was to help pay for the trip – as Ewan’s acting was far more rewarding than my decorating! We never dreamt Long Way Round would take off the way it did.

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the world is a far more friendly and safer place than many would have us believe

We’d both read the Ted Simon book, ‘Jupiters Travels’, an absolutely inspirational book and we knew of lots of other people living ordinary lives who just decided to stop the merry go round, jump on a bike, any bike - and ride off into the world, looking for adventure. That’s the great thing about a bike – big or small you can throw a bit of luggage on it and off you go – all self contained. So much better than the car. On the bike you’re a part of the environment, while the car keeps you insulated from it. People will talk to you on the bike – while they stare at you suspiciously in a car.

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life changing

Certainly, the motorbike enabled my life to change, not just with regard to the TV shows, but more interestingly, with my views and experience of the world and the people you meet along the way. The world is a far more friendly and safer place than many would have us believe. On top of that, the people with the least to give always give the most. On many trips across Africa, the welcome and the generosity has been just astounding and humbling.

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Today

These days, my life generally revolves around motorbikes. Often it’s a combination of travel, adventure and yes – bikes! Like this summer’s trip in South America, where we’ll discover some of the most incredible sights of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina - it’s riding, of course, but it’s learning, making new friends, discovering and taking in the culture. I’m also an ambassador for Triumph Motorcycles and I love the new Triumph Tiger Explorer, I think it’s going to be a great world beater, but I have the utmost respect to anyone doing adventures on whatever bike – it’s all horses for courses. As I read in an article recently by Austin Vince, of Mondo Enduro fame, a real biking celebrity…

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Only a superman could do it on a GS… (Ride across eastern Siberia)

He was referring to some of Russia’s wetlands. He’s right of course, as a smaller bike can open up new tracks, trails and opportunities. Just the way Austin and his mates did back in 1993 with their fleet of Suzuki DR 350’s – the birth of their fantastic documentary, Mondo Enduro.

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A bike for every mood

I'm a great lover of style and how the biking world has so many strands, all with their own style and niche. I adore the cafe racer look and you can see how all the leading brands have jumped into this space. Then of course there's the adventure genre, the urban biker, sports rider and cruiser – but if you asked me which I favor, the answer is all of them! Call me greedy, but I'd like to have a bike for every mood – though my garage wouldn't be big enough – nor my wallet.

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gear FOR EVERY MOOD

That is what I like about working together with REV'IT!; the clothing and footwear range can suit all of our moods. From stylish urban rider about London town to desert riding across Namibia – all of the choices are there and last year I road tested quite a few different bits of REV'IT! kit on my African adventure –12,000kms. I was pretty impressed as you can choose the right gear for the appropriate in country conditions.

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leather panels at elbows

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leather panels at shoulders

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SEEFLEX™ elbow protector

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SEEFLEX™ shoulder protector

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schoeller®-dynatec
mesh ventilation panels
at front, back and arms

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detachable kidney belt

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PWR | shell 750D
with Teflon® coating

I’m very privileged that bikes have become my job. But the message is that if a couple of actors like me and Ewan can do a RTW then anyone can. Any bike, any trip – fight the good fight and keep biking. Just a bit of planning and a big dollop of enthusiasm is all you need to have an amazing and perhaps life changing adventure, round the world or round the block!

Keep the rubber side down.

Charley Boorman x


2
COMMENTS
  • Well said Charlie. I just found out about your documentaries a few weeks ago and have been binge watching them since. I'm midway through Long Way Down right now. I have to saw that they were very well done. I'm very glad to hear that you have leveraged your passion for riding into a career. They say of you can do something you love you'll never work a day in your life.

  • Life long around on a bike with Revit gear,life could be much worse.