Episode 10: Motorcycle Risk Management:  Ewan and Charley's “Long Way” adventures explored 

Today's episode is dedicated to my two grown children Brad and Steph,  both of whom have demonstrated an amazing sense of adventure, a sense of purpose and the risk management skills that are required for both.  Brad serving in Thailand while in college to bring support and hope to several communities and Steph serving in the island nation of Vanuatu on behalf of the United States Peace Corps, thank you both for showing your old dad the importance of taking calculated risks in order to give love and kindness to strangers around the globe. I’m so proud of you both. 

The fact is when we ride motorcycles, we take a risk.  We talked about that in previous episodes and we described ways to mitigate, or reduce those risks as best we can, by wearing a helmet and all the right gear, etc… You know, sometimes I'm asked why do you wear all that gear when you're on the motorcycle, why don't you want the freedom of the wind blowing through your hair? well when they ask me why I can pretty much sum that up in one word. experience. If you're like me, you've written a lot of miles and you've been out on the road where things just happen. it's not just about crashing. and protection from that. It's about the normal things that happen like when even a tiny rock falls off of a truck driving toward you at 60 miles per hour, all the while you’re riding 60 miles per hour in the opposite direction and it strikes your helmet at 120 mph. Even a raindrop at 60 mph would be extremely painful if not for wearing a proper jacket.

Enough for now about gear, so In later episodes I'll be describing specific skills for mitigating risks for riding a motorcycle in the mountains. There are times of year and weather conditions which are fabulous for motorcycling in the rocky mountains of Colorado and there are other conditions which would never be recommended for motorcycling at these altitudes. again we'll talk about this later, BUT for today, our conclusion is that those calculated risks are worth it, because motorcycling makes us happy.  

Today, we’ll take a deeper dive into Concepts and practices of risk management while riding a motorcycle. Here is a great example. 

If you have not followed the series of motorcycle adventures by actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, you should.  They are fascinating!  

As of this recording, these documentaries are available on Apple TV Plus and they really capture the challenges and triumphs of navigating through challenging terrain, extreme weather conditions, and cultural differences. Along the way, they encounter diverse communities, explore local customs and traditions, and showcase the beauty of the natural landscapes and the beauty of humanity.

The documentaries are thrilling and inspiring, highlighting the power of human will and of human connection.  Over and over, the word “Kindness” comes to mind.  Kind people from all over the world.  Many parts of the journeys were in support of UNICEF.  UNICEF stands for the United Nations Children's Fund. It promotes the protections of children globally.

So in the Long Way series, what practices of Risk Management did we see?  Well, first we saw planning.  Ewan and Charlie clearly did not do these adventures alone.  Not only was a third motorcycle riding along with them at all times for the purpose of filming and safety but they also had a full staff of professionals who came along on the trip in specially modified vehicles. In these vehicles were producers, cinematographers and even Medical support. Along the way they utilized support of people that they called “fixers'', These were people who had special skills in the local customs and government regulations in each country where they could help to expedite and resolve issues that would slow down or even derail the trek.  Little details like border crossings.  Yeah, little things like that.  

Planning and Risk Management, although important, doesn’t need to be paralyzing.  I mean there's only so much that you can prepare for right? The real Joy is going out on the bike and just living that life. In the long way down documentary, Ewan McGregor is heard to say “This is my favorite thing in the world you know? To sit on a bike and discover other countries and people.  It's the best thing in the world for the soul and for the spirit and your head and your heart.  So when it comes to our motorcycle rides we prepare properly and then we just go. That's the joy.  That’s what makes us happy.

A book that's on my shelf that's probably in the most ragged of conditions is called Blue highways. I carry it on my bike and into coffee shops sometimes.  It's a very relaxing and very fascinating read at the same time.

"Blue Highways" is a travel memoir written by William Least Heat-Moon, first published in 1982. The book describes a journey he took in the late 1970s around the United States, traveling only on secondary roads which he calls "blue highways" on his map and avoiding the interstate highways. Now what prompted this journey was actually a couple of losses. the loss of a job and then the loss of a relationship. So really without much to keep him bound at home Least Heat Moon decided to take control of the situation through travel and exploration. Fortunately for us, he was an English professor who had the gift of communication and so tactfully relayed those Adventures in an honest and riveting way.

Throughout the book, Heat-Moon meets a variety of people from around the country and experiences different cultures and ways of life. He weaves in stories and historical information about the places he visits, while also reflecting on his own life and the meaning of his journey.

The book has become a classic of American travel literature and continues to inspire readers to explore the back roads and hidden corners of their own country.

So, when the conditions are right for you, when you have mitigated the risks as best you can, when your stars align just right, maybe you too need to strike out on your own adventure by motorcycle.  There is indeed freedom out there.  There is indeed peace of mind to be embraced.  Go on out there.  Go and find what you’re looking for.  

Thank you very much for joining me today.  I wish you peace.  I wish you love.