Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on Long Way Down road to Uganda
Ewan and sidekick Charley Boorman are riding from John o’ Groats in Scotland to the bottom of South Africa, and are on the final stretch of road out of Kenya. Ewan McGregor spoke to Radio 1 earlier today (Thursday July 5). He said: “We’re on our way to the border into Uganda so we’re on a road in Kenya. The roads are quite good here, but the roads in northern Kenya were horrible. It was 300km of gnarly, gnarly lose stuff. The roads here are corrugated across the road, due to the truck or something, but it’s like riding on corrugated iron.
“The whole bike is getting shaken to bits. I got to the point where I couldn’t feel my fingers or toes, it was nasty. Then it was into sand, and that’s when I really came off the bike a lot, now it’s on tarmac it’s really nice.
“The bikes have been amazing, really good. We’ve had a problem with our camera man’s bike, with the rear shock oil seal bursting a few times, but luckily we had spares. I think it’s just due to the temperature, it’s quite hot and the excessive ‘wash boarding’ effect from the road makes it just heat up and explode. They’re doing really well though.”
Presenters Chris Moyles and Dominic Byrne then said to McGregor: “Poor Claudio always seems to get the crap bikes, didn’t his bike break down in Mongolia last time?”
Ewan then replied: “What we do is test the bikes before, and the one that’s crap we give to him!
“The first thing we did in Kenya is we went to this little lodge in the middle of all these horrendous roads. It was the first time we’d seen elephants in the wild, and we were able to sit in the front of this lodge and they came right up close. Riding somewhere on your motorbike where there is elephants is a real measure of how far you’ve come. It’s pretty cool.
“We spent another night with the Sambura tribe. We just went off the main road and followed a sand track for about 60 miles until we came across this tribe, and they were having a massive male circumcision festival!”
He joked with Moyles: “So we were both circumcised, just for the show! It was amazing to be there – it was the real thing, they didn’t know we were coming, we just turned up and spent a night with those people. I feel really privileged to have done that.”
Charley Boorman added: “It’s been mad – Kenya is such a beautiful place. Someone should talk to the government about the state of the roads in the north. We came across a section of road with mud and a river across it, and we had to walk the bikes across.”