RTW Challange: A Race Against Time

With just two months left of 2019, the ABR round-the-world challenge has turned into a race to the finish line.

The challenge was simple. Ride the 18,000 miles it would take to circumnavigate the globe (as measured by the Guinness Book of Records) on two wheels by the end of 2019, fitting those miles into our daily lives. Easy, right? Those 18,000 miles seemed very achievable at the start of the year. However, with just two months of 2019 remaining, it has become a race against time to squeeze in as many miles as possible by New Year’s Eve. 

But why embark on an RTW Challenge in the first place? Quite simply, the aim was to inspire ourselves, and hopefully some of you guys, to ride our bikes more often. Many of us aren’t in a position to quit our jobs, sell the house, and kiss the wife and kids goodbye for a year or more to embark on the ‘big trip’. Instead, we thought it would be fun to track our imaginary progress across the globe as we racked up the miles at home. 

For sales guy Will and ABR Test Rider Julian, the challenge is already over. They’ve covered 2,593 miles and 6,692 miles respectively. Nothing short of a miracle could salvage their challenges. That leaves ABR Editor Bryn and myself in a two-horse race to the finish. Bryn has covered 13,152 miles, predominantly on his BMW R 1250 GS, but with almost 5,000 miles left to cover in the two remaining months of the year, and an electrical issue limiting his time on the GS of late, the odds are against him. 


The ABR RTW mileage leaderboard currently stands at:

1st James (asst editor): 15, 076 miles
2nd Bryn
(editor): 13, 152 miles

3rd Julian (bike tester): 6, 692 miles

4th Will (sales guy): 2, 593 miles

The bookies favourite is yours truly. Having ridden 15,076 miles so far, I can almost see the finish line. Those miles would have taken me from the ABR offices in Stratford upon Avon, across Europe and Russia to the port city of Magadan. 

If I was to air freight my bike from Magadan to Anchorage in Alaska, as Ewan and Charley did in the Long Way Round, I would have ridden down through Canada and across to New York by now. In fact, I’d be shipping my bike to Lisbon in Portugal, ready to clock up the remaining 3,000 miles in a meandering route through Europe back to the UK. 

The problem is, I’m not in sunny Portugal ready to hit the road. I’m sat at my desk in the wet and windy Midlands with a packed diary of work and family commitments ready to keep me busy until Christmas. However, it’s under these circumstances I expect the RTW Challenge to come into its own. 

The thought of reaching that 18,000-mile target will spur me on to pick up my helmet when it’s raining outside and my car keys are tempting me with the promise of a warm, dry, yet ultimately dull journey to work. 

The challenge will also inspire me to navigate the myriad of Christmas social engagements with a clearer head and a fatter wallet as I ride to meet friends, rather than catching a train or taxi and having to deal with yet another pre-Christmas hangover at work the next day. 

Perhaps more importantly, it’ll prompt me to pick up the phone to my riding buddies and disappear off on our bikes on a mini winter adventure for a couple of days, safe in the knowledge every chilly mile is getting me closer to completing the RTW Challenge. Despite all this, there is long way to go and I certainly wouldn’t put money on me reaching that magical 18,000-mile target. However, I do have an ace up my sleeve. After riding most of my miles on a Triumph Tiger 800 XCx (read my long-term review of the Tiger here), I’ve just been handed the keys to the Ducati Multistrada 1260 Enduro from the ABR long-term fleet. 

I can’t think of a better motivation to smash out those final 3,000 miles than having such a magnificent motorcycle to ride. Perhaps it’s worth putting a few quid on me completing the challenge after all.