Hollywood blockbuster actors and friends Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, Star Wars) and Charley Boorman (The Serpent’s Kiss) share a passion for motorcycles and adventure. Both of them got inspired by reading Ted Simon’s classic travel book Jupiter’s Travels to undertake a huge round the world (RTW) motorbike trip themselves. And that is exactly what they did with their journey taking ‘the Long Way Round’ the planet from London to New York!
In 2004 they embarked on their so called ‘Long Way Round (LWR)’ challenge, to bike 20,000-miles, across 13 countries and 19 time zones in just 115 days. The idea was to take the longer Eastwards route around the world to reach New York from London. Riding BMW GS R1200s, they crossed Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia (where they met up with Ted Simon in person) to ride the Road of Bones through Siberia, over to Alaska, through Canada, North America and finishing in New York.
Along the way Ewan and Charley helped to raise awareness for UNICEF by visiting many projects in all the different countries they visited.
It was not your average equipped adventure as along with them came an entire support and film crew: A motorcycle riding cameraman (Claudio von Planta), director/ producers Avid Alexanian and Russ Malkin (creator of the Big Earth website) and cameraman Jimmy Simak. For the section of the journey through Russia and Asia, they were also accompanied by security advisor Sergey and doctor Vasily. The support crew travelled in two Mitsubishi off-road vehicles which generally followed about a day behind the bikers, meeting up at border crossings and when circumstances dictated a greater degree of teamwork.
Researchers, dubbed “Ewan and Charley’s Angels”, also helped to get and keep the team on the road.
The only sections of the trip not undertaken by motorcycle were the 31-mile (50 km) passage through the Channel Tunnel, 580 miles (930 km) by train in Siberia, which circumvented the Zilov Gap; several river crossings and a short impassable section in eastern Russia, which were undertaken by truck; One 2,505-mile (4,031 km) flight from Magadan in eastern Russia to Anchorage, Alaska was taken as well.
Long Way Round TV-series, DVD-set & Book
Due to the huge support and film crew the trip was incredibly well documented and it resulted in the release of a documentary television series, a seven episode DVD set and a book: Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World.
All of them deliver amazing imagery of a kickass trip by some kickass personalities!
Sources: Longwayround.com, Wikipedia, Amazon