19,930 miles around the world in 31 days 20hrs SUB­SCRIBE TO MCN AND RE­CEIVE AN OX­FORD ROLL BAG WORTH

June 9, 1997 Nick San­ders be­comes the fastest man to cir­cum­nav­i­gate the globe ● Easy grab carry han­dles ● Wa­ter­proof roll top clo­sure ● Ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal pock­ets for small items ● Wipe-clean, wa­ter­proof con­struc­tion with welded seams ● Padded shoul­der

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Nick San­ders

En­durance ad­ven­turer, speaker and tour leader Th­ese days Nick San­ders is a leg­end for his record-break­ing global rides, but back in 1997 he was an un­known en­tity. He hadn’t writ­ten any mo­tor­cy­cle books or blogged any ad­ven­tures. He was just an am­bi­tious guy with a plan to “push the bound­aries”. This is the story of how he and a Tri­umph Day­tona 900 cir­cled the world in just 764 hours.

Nick San­ders ‘The route was de­ter­mined by the Guin­ness Book of Records: they say you have to do a min­i­mum of 18,000 miles, you have to go round in the same di­rec­tion and use the same bike with the same en­gine. You also have to touch an an­tipo­dal point, in this case Madrid and Auck­land. But I also wanted to in­clude In­dia as it’s such a tough coun­try to cross. You can’t do more than 600 miles per day there, and a thou­sand is im­pos­si­ble. Not only did that make it the fastest but in my opin­ion it was also the hard­est.’

Eric Michell ‘I’d first met Nick in the mid-70s when he was try­ing to fly around the world on a mi­cro­light. We tried to put some­thing to­gether, but it never came off. I lost touch with him com­pletely… un­til about two months be­fore he was due to do the 1997 cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion. I came into my of­fice one morn­ing and hap­pened to glance down at a mo­tor­cy­cle mag­a­zine one of my re­searchers was read­ing. On it was a guy with Mo­bil writ­ten across his red leathers sit­ting atop a bike, I thought: “Bloody hell! It’s Nick!” We then spent about a week try­ing to track him down.’

Bruno Tagli­a­ferri ‘Nick was an un­known quan­tity – how­ever, he came highly rec­om­mended from one of the team at Top Gear, whom he’d done some work with. We were told he was no ex­ag­ger­a­tor, that he was se­ri­ous and com­mit­ted. That ap­pealed as we were quite young in those days and had a lot to prove, and we were as keen for

cred­i­bil­ity as he was. It was clear that he was a real ad­ven­turer.’

San­ders ‘The ride in­volved cross­ing Europe to Istanbul, then fly­ing to Bom­bay. From there I crossed In­dia to Delhi and Cal­cutta, flew from Cal­cutta to Bangkok, then rode down to Sin­ga­pore and flew to Perth. I rode up the west coast to Broome, then Kather­ine, down the Stu­art High­way to Ade­laide and across to Mel­bourne and Syd­ney. New Zealand was next from Christchurch to Auck­land, then from An­chor­age in Alaska down to San An­to­nio in Texas and back up to New York. Fi­nally, a flight to Lis­bon to ride to Madrid and back up to Calais.’

Michell ‘Hav­ing found him, we had a fran­tic get to­gether, mak­ing last minute plans to film this thing. He brought his bike over to our stu­dios where we fit­ted some cam­era brack­etry. Then I had to train him to film him­self. We man­aged to get one of the first Pana­sonic cam­eras with the Mini DV tape sys­tem, it was just about small enough to mount on the bike. We had one test and it was time to go.’

San­ders ‘The rid­ing it­self was chal­leng­ing. I’d only rid­den 50,000 miles by that point (now it’s more like 600,000) and the Tri­umph Day­tona 900 was a good bike but it was early tech­nol­ogy and it was heavy. You’ve got to start some­where though, and Tri­umph did a good job.’ Tagli­a­ferri ‘We lent Nick the Day­tona and from then on we hardly needed to sup­port him. The whole trip was solo with­out a sup­port ve­hi­cle and it was well planned. When he got back we stripped the bike and Mo­bil put it on dis­play – it was se­ri­ously still in good con­di­tion. It was a very ov­erengi­neered bike, of course. They were all built solidly. They were chunky and all the com­po­nents were very ‘proven’. The chal­lenge for us af­ter that point be­came to make it lighter and quicker.’

Michell ‘Nick had a bea­con on his bike which gave us his po­si­tion, it was re­ally ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy for the time. We were fly­ing tapes back from him around the world and edit­ing the show and briefing him as he went. It was a lo­gis­ti­cally in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult.’

San­ders ‘Be­fore you do some­thing like this peo­ple don’t know what to think, or if you’re ca­pa­ble of do­ing it. Ev­ery­one can at­tempt some­thing but they don’t al­ways suc­ceed. So the en­thu­si­asm for the pro­ject started when I got back. And that was in a big way thanks to the re­sult­ing tele­vi­sion se­ries. It gave me a cer­tain amount of celebrity, money and – more im­por­tantly – cred­i­bil­ity.’

Michell ‘It was ex­tra­or­di­nary. Apart from the lap­top and cam­eras it was just him, his leathers, a tooth­brush, a credit card and a bit of cash in his sock. You wanted to stay up­wind of him when he got back, I tell you that!’

THE EYE­WIT­NESSES SUB­SCRIBE TO­DAY AND GET… CHOOSE FROM THREE EASYOPTIONS: Print Dig­i­tal Print & Dig­i­tal

Nick’s rid­den to a mil­lion cities and stopped in none Cham­pagne mo­ment, just don’t sniff the leathers

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