Thinking about Elspeth Beard today as I pack up my motorcycle for a long weekend tour. I’m heading south to the BMW Motorcycle Owners International Rally in Pennsylvania to check out the latest and greatest motorcycling gear from custom earplugs to battery chargers, rendezvous with friends, listen to some great live music, take a riding course and be transported by adventure travel presentations.
Back to Elspeth. I only recently learned about her and was instantaneously impressed with her intrepid spirit, and am more than a bit jealous of her bravery. In 1980, at age 24, Elspeth dropped out of architecture school and began a solo around-the-world motorcycle journey. (Today she runs a successful architecture firm in England and still rides.)
Her travels took her from her native London to the U.S., up to Canada and down to Mexico and then on to Australia. From there she headed to Indonesia and then Burma, India and Nepal. Her route home took her through Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Europe. By the time she returned to England, after three years on the road, she’d clocked 48,000 miles on her odometer and lost fifty pounds. She survived crashes and illness and rebuilt and maintained her bike single handedly.
I love the confidence and ease Elspeth exudes in this photo while straddling her 1974 R60/6 BMW. She stopped and made the aluminum panniers part way round the world.
Read more of Elspeth’s amazing story here. I hope she writes a book someday about her adventures. It’s tales like hers that light my imagination and make me realize that almost any dream is possible if I really want it to come true!
I’ll get back to blogging when my motorcyle’s back in the barn.