Backstage with… Ewan McGregor, Charley Boorman and their electrical motorbikes for Lengthy Approach Up | Ents & Arts Information
Ewan McGregor is a person used to zipping up his leathers and hitting the highway on his bike, however he admits there’s nonetheless a sure scepticism across the electrical type.
The Star Wars actor advised the Sky Information Backstage podcast: “There’s form of stigma within the bike world… You hear the phrase hairdryer used…
“However as soon as you have ridden one, that every one goes away… They’re so quick, they’re noiseless, you actually really feel the highway. It is a totally different expertise and it is actually cool.”
Placing his cash the place his mouth is, McGregor accomplished a 13,000-mile journey by South and Central America late final yr together with his previous pal Charley Boorman.
The journey, which they’ve titled Lengthy Approach As much as observe on from their earlier journeys Lengthy Approach Spherical and Lengthy Approach Down, took them 100 days to finish and noticed them whizz by 13 international locations and 16 border crossings.
The pair additionally government produced the unscripted documentary, which is airing on Apple TV +.
However McGregor admits, it wasn’t all simple working: “The most important problem was charging the bikes. The place do you plug that bike into while you’re in the course of the Bolivian desert or the Atacama Desert or in Patagonia? There are only a few locations to try this.”
Nonetheless, he says the answer turned out to be some of the rewarding components of the journey.
“It led us to fulfill lots of people as a result of we might actually rock as much as folks’s homes and knock on the door and ask if we might plug in. If it labored (which it did not all the time), you had two or three hours to hold about and discover out about their life.”
Conscious that they have been travelling in poor, rural areas, they’d all the time pay villagers for the electrical energy they used.
Boorman, who has been a detailed buddy of McGregor’s for over a decade, says the bikes helped them to get nearer to the international locations they have been travelling by in one other manner too.
“The expertise of using an electrical bike could be very totally different. As a result of there was no engine noise and no large vibration coming from the bike, it wasn’t as anxious.
“Whenever you arrived, you were not so drained. And while you undergo cities, you possibly can hear folks speaking round you.”
Boorman says it wasn’t simply environmental causes that attracted them to the choice methodology: “It was this complete thought that there is this wave of electrical coming alongside.”
Certainly, a community of charging factors was particularly constructed alongside the route from the Southern tip of South America to Los Angeles by mission companions Rivian, who travelled behind McGregor and Boorman in two prototype pick-up vehicles.
McGregor explains: “That community of prices nonetheless exists and hopefully will likely be utilized by different travellers.”
However he hopes their journey will encourage folks in different methods too: “Greater than encouraging folks to do lengthy journey journeys on electrical bikes, it is about simply getting folks on them within the first place. If we will try this, I will be proud.”
Worthy sentiments and sustainability apart, there was nonetheless a component of ‘boys on tour’ on this trek, with Swiss cameraman Claudio von Planta bearing the brunt of the japes.
Boorman explains one extra-curricular exercise that turned an everyday a part of the journey: “We’d sneak out at evening or when he wasn’t round and we might cling all types of stuff off his bike that we might purchase within the markets.
“Folks on the road would see the bikes, then they’d see Claudio with all these things hanging off his bike and so they beloved it!”
Laughing, McGregor provides: “It appeared like a float!”
McGregor and Boorman have earlier journey kind (albeit on typical motorbikes), travelling from London to New York through central Europe, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Canada and the USA on BMW motorbikes for Lengthy Approach Spherical in 2004.
And in 2007 they took one other bike journey from John o’ Groats in Scotland to Cape City in South Africa for Lengthy Approach Down (with McGregor’s brother Colin and pop Jim additionally becoming a member of in for sections of the journey).
By the way, von Planta the long-suffering cameraman was additionally a part of each earlier tasks, so was doubtless conscious of what was in retailer for him on this journey.
This newest journey sees them kick off within the metropolis of Ushuaia on the tip of South America, and travelling by Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and up by Colombia, Central America and Mexico.
McGregor says it is their most difficult expedition up to now, however caveats that with a cheeky rider: “We have been secure. And we get there. However, you recognize, spoiler. We made it!”
The primary three episodes of Lengthy Approach Up are on Apple TV+ now, with a brand new episode added every week.
Hear extra from the interview and a evaluate of the present on this week’s episode of Backstage – Sky Information’ leisure podcast.