Long Way Up star McGregor spills beans on trip: 'We had to ask for a charge-up!'
Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman may have completed their latest 'Long Way...' adventure, reaching LA in December after setting off from South America in September.
The pair used electric Harley-Davidson LiveWires this time around and it seems the journey was anything but trouble-free.
With the TV series yet to air, details about the trip have been scarce as Harley attempt to keep the story quiet ahead of the screening. But Hollywood actor Ewan has been discussing the journey on US chat shows which appear to indicate the electric bikes created their own unique problems.
Speaking to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show last week, McGregor revealed that after the electric bikes ran out of charge the duo had to knock on strangers’ doors to ask for help in recharging them and even get tows!
"We went with electric motorcycles because we wanted to be part of that new wave of transportation," said the Star Wars star, who has previously travelled the globe on BMW GSs with Boorman in The Long Way Round and The Long Way Down.
"It proved to be amazing and quite tricky at the same time. Charging is the issue because there is no real infrastructure for charging in, for example, Patagonia."
And he added: "We’d just knock on people’s doors and ask if we could plug them in. They let us and we’d camp in their garden and sometimes it would blow the fuses in the house because we had two bikes plugged in at the same time, which was embarrassing.
"The truth is, I got towed a couple of times. I was the only one that ran out. Charley never ran out of juice and he’ll tell you that he is a better rider than me, maybe that’s the case."
The Long Way Up is due to air later this year.
Ewan and Charley’s American epic ends final leg with a mass LA ride-in
First published: January 7, 2020 by MCN News
Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have finished their third riding adventure, having ridden a pair of electric Harley-Davidson LiveWires up through the Americas.
The route took them from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Los Angeles, California in the USA. The trip finished in a similar fashion to previous journeys with an invite-only group ride of 40 local riders, stopping off at a Harley-Davidson dealership for a quick charge before making their way to a party in downtown LA.
The duo left Ushuaia on September 19, with long-time collaborator Claudio von Planta riding with them to film their escapades. Russ Malkin and David Alexanian, two producers and directors from the Long Way Round and Long Way Down TV series, followed the trio in a pair of Rivian R1T electric pick-up trucks.
Although the exact route is unclear, including how much off-road the group tackled, the whole journey took them a little over three months.
Speaking to a member of the public at the end-of-the-journey event, Boorman said the charging wasn’t too difficult, although they did sometimes have to rely on locals with generators in the wilder parts of their journey.
Once they got into the US charging stations were apparently plentiful, enabling them to up their average daily distance to 300 miles from around 150 while they were in the south.
For much of the journey they were followed by petrol and diesel-powered vehicles, which ferried battery packs around to keep the bikes topped up.
There’s still been no official word from any of the crew involved, TV channels or Harley-Davidson about the trip, so we’re in the dark as to what was done to the bikes, the terrain involved and also when the programme will air.
However, pictures of the bikes reveal lots of adventure accessories including wire spoke wheels, bash plates and engine guards. The bikes and the riding stars also looked filthy by the end, suggesting some trying times.
MCN expects the show to air sometime in the Spring, while it’s also unclear where. We’ll bring you more details as we get them.
Ewan and Charley's adventure so far:
Ewan and Charley’s next adventure has begun on electric bikes
First published 18 September 2019 by Jordan Gibbons
Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have been spotted filming their next TV show on a pair of electric Harley-Davidson Livewires.
The pair were first spotted in Ushuaia, the southernmost town in South America along with their cameraman from the first two shows, Claudio von Planta.
A few days later the gang was spotted in El Calafate, around 500 miles up the road, so it’s clear they’re not hanging around.
A bit of insider info suggests that the plan is to head north, zigzagging a little through South America, with Los Angeles as their final destination, roughly 8000 miles later. What is arguably most interesting is their choice of bike.
The trio are riding on a set of specially prepared Harley-Davidson Livewires – the motor company’s brand new fully electric bike. The machines they’re riding have been specially prepared with increased travel suspension, wire spoked wheels (with a 19" on the front instead of a 17"), dual sport tyres, bigger mudguards, engine guards plus a strengthened subframe with luggage racks.
Based on their choices of bike, we’re assuming the terrain will not be as tough as the routes they took across Europe and Russia, or down through Africa. However planning and running the route on electric bikes will offer its own challenges.
The Livewire has a range around 100 miles, which even with fast charging will limit their progress. It’s also incredibly cold where they are right now, which will no doubt reduce the range, plus the potential off-road pickles.
That also doesn’t even consider the charging time – we doubt there are many DC fast chargers in the middle of the Salar de Uyuni, or any of the Bolivian Altiplano for that matter.
Travelling with the group is a support crew, including a pair of Rivian R1T electric pick-up trucks, all of which will no doubt help them charge while on the road. Even so, we’d still expect a trip of this length to take a couple of months.
Long Way Up is go! Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman will film in coming months
First published 18 June 2019 by Jordan Gibbons
Details remain scant at this point, but the project is set to begin in the coming months. The plan's changed since we last spoke to Charley, however.
"I’m doing Long Way Up for sure, with Ewan," Boorman said in the video. "We’re doing South America to Los Angeles, so South America, Central America, Mexico and then LA. We’re going to start that in a few months’ time, and hopefully do it, yeah.
"We’ve got a few little surprises. We’re not going to do it traditionally, so there’s going to be a little twist.
"We’ll have done the world, then. Then we’ll just have to go into space or something!"
First published 21 August 2018 by Jordan Gibbons
They have been around the world and down it, but now Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman are planning a new adventure; riding up from the southern tip of South America to the northernmost point of Alaska and filming it for a new TV series set to be called The Long Way Up.
"We are very much in the early planning stages at the moment," Boorman told MCN. "I’m scared to say too much in case I jinx it, but hopefully it is going to happen.
"We are still trying to figure out how we are going to do it, but I’m so excited about the thought of getting the old team together again."
Although still being discussed, the likelihood is that the route will start at Ushuaia, Argentina, which is the southernmost tip of South America, and the pair will then ride north to Barrow, Alaska, which is North America’s northernmost city.
This route will see the pair cover in the region of 15,000 road miles, so it is far from a small undertaking.
"It will definitely take a few months, South America is a beautiful continent to ride through so we won’t want to rush it," said Boorman.
We are all dead keen to make it happen so fingers crossed we will be able to do it in 2019
"It will be work, but it will also be great fun and to do it with the old team of Ewan, Russ Malkin (the producer of the first two adventures), and the rest of the Long Way crew will be fantastic.
"We are all dead keen to make it happen so fingers crossed we will be able to do it in 2019. I honestly can’t wait."
Another interesting aspect still to be decided is which bikes McGregor and Boorman will use this time, having earlier used BMW GS Adventure models.