Long Way Up - Going in Circles with Ewan and Charlie (2023)

Written by Justin W. Coffey. Posted in Media

In October of 2004, a new kind of travel series debuted on Sky One in Britain, “The Long Way Round.” It featured two best friends, their motorcycles, and a plan to circumnavigate the world. The duo was followed by a film crew to document the endeavor. For the average audience this was unusual and interesting television, but certainly not a “must-see” show. But for motorcyclists it was exciting, and it immediately developed somewhat of a cult following. What differentiated the series from what would have been otherwise been just a regular travel television was Ewan McGregor.

Fresh off the set of Revenge of the Sith, the third and final Star Wars film in which McGregor played the Jedi Master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, he, along with his best friend Charley Boorman, set off from London aboard a pair of BMW R1150Gses, traveling through western and central Europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Siberia, Canada and the U.S. to New York City—over a cumulative 18,887 miles. For many, the series provoked, promoted, and encouraged ideas buried deep beneath obligations and missed opportunities. It highlighted places many motorcyclists dreamed of one day exploring, and also showcased the hardships of overlanding by motorcycle in seldom seen foreign lands. Further, it touched on the connections we all have with the machines we ride and the friends we ride them with. But there was always one thing in the back of the minds of many motorcyclists, something the average television viewer likely overlooked—the chase truck.

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Adventure riders have been known to refer to themselves as the “lone wolves” of the greater motorcycle community. Exploring the backcountry or traveling abroad on bikes built and equipped specifically to handle it all. A home on wheels with only the essentials packed in their panniers. And that’s what separates ADV riders from other long-distance motorcyclists. Self-reliance and a sense of independence, able to traverse any terrain, overcome any obstacle, and negotiate border crossings, pitching their tents when the sun sets and their backs begin to ache. So, when we see a chase truck full of spare parts and emergency accoutrements, or, in this case, a petrol-powered generator, some may cringe a little.

And that brings us to the latest installment in Ewan and Charley’s “Up, Down and Around” series, which is an AppleTV+ exclusive, told via multiple episodes, highlighting the recent trip the two gentlemen took on a pair of all-electric Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The boys started from Ushuaia, Argentina, through South and Central America to Los Angeles, CA, recharging their LiveWires along the way. But for some, that’s where the adventure ends and the television began. Traveling through countries and across a continent which is not only dependent on fossil fuels but nearly absent of any electric vehicle charging stations left many motorcyclists wondering how the pair pulled it off.

Again, we turn to the chase truck, or in this case, a cadre of vehicles, including a Ford F-350, two Rivan R1Ts and Mercedes Sprinter, all of which helped Ewan and Charley keep their LiveWires, alive. While the pair did manage to charge their bikes at hotels and restaurants along the way, “fueling” their Harley’s 15.5kWh lithium-ion batteries using 120V household current—with the absence of Level 3 DC “fast charger” stations in South America—proved to be quite the hurdle.

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For those unfamiliar, the “fast charger” takes only 40-minutes for an 80% charge and just one-hour for a 100% charge. In contrast, when charging off 120V household current, it takes nearly 12-hours to fully charge a LiveWire. So, how could Obi-Wan and his companion truly call this an adventure? Where’s the thrill, the risk, or even the reward when you’re being followed closely by a film crew, chase truck and an assortment of vehicles ready to re-fill your batteries or replace your broken bikes, should it come to that?

This also raises an entirely different question. Are Ewan and Charley really adventure motorcyclists?

For many, Charley’s presence in the motorcycle industry has been felt more substantially than Ewan, especially following the release of Long Way Round. In 2006, Boorman competed in the Dakar Rally, where he filmed the series Race to Dakar, which aired on Sky 2 in the U.K. in October 2006. And while he had to retire from the race after five days due to injury, Boorman showed the ADV community that he was truly a card-carrying member. He followed that program up with a pair of shows appropriately titled, By Any Means, where Boorman traveled from his home in Ireland to Sydney, Australia with a second season taking him from Oz to Japan, both series utilizing only local transport appropriate to the area, and air travel only when there was no other choice. Those programs were succeeded by Charley Boorman’s Extreme Frontiers, another TV series created in conjunction with “Long Way” producer, Russ Malkin. With those credentials to say Charley “isn’t an adventure traveler” is ridiculous.

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(Video) Belstaff Long Way Up Jacket review with CHARLEY BOORMAN

But Ewan has been largely absent from the adventure motorcycling scene. Save for the occasional press conference or motorcycle show appearance, Ewan’s truancy has led many in the adventure motorcycle community to wonder whether he’s truly “ADV.” Perhaps if he made himself more available to motorcycle media, or attended a few local rallies to show his support for the industry, some of us might not be so salty?

But I don’t think this is really the question we are seeking to answer, is it? I think what we’re curious about is, why any of that really matters, and why it seems to bother some “purists”?

When Long Way Round (2005) followed by Long Way Down (2007) became available on DVD in the United States, they lit fires under the ass of the motorcycle industry. From executives to enthusiasts, the television series sparked newfound interest in long-distance adventure-style motorcycle travel—something Americans, especially, were wholly unfamiliar with. The idea of crossing continents, packing your belonging into aluminum panniers, and living out of tents while navigating the red tape of international expeditions was a powerful drug, and many were hooked. Arguably, the series opened the door to the mainstream adventure motorcycle market as we know it.

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The formerly stagnant flow of ADV machines suddenly became the Prom Queens of the industry, with everyone from Honda and Husqvarna brewing up contenders. Their trip showed us what was possible. It made the impossible journey seem possible. Not dumbing down danger, but making the risks feel worth it—showcasing the versatility of these higher powered, beefed up, dual-purpose motorcycles and, perhaps more importantly, highlighted why someone might want to own one.

As the years passed and the popularity of “adventure motorcycling” reached unprecedented heights, much of what came to bear could easily be a product of Charley and Ewan’s trip. And while the pendulum has swung from an absence of available ADV bikes to an abundance, from single-cylinder dual-sports to twin-cylinder monsters with Grand Prix horsepower, it’s important to remember where we were in 2004 when the first episode of Long Way Round aired on Sky One. Because if you consider how far we’ve come since Ewan and Charley’s first venture, we should thank the guys for their contributions to our community as opposed to belittling their efforts. After all, it’s this very content which was the springboard for the industry—for the innovation of it, and for making adventure motorcycling mainstream. And maybe that’s just what they hope to do with the electric transportation industry, too. Only time will tell.

Long Way Up available now on Apple TV+ attv.apple.com.

(Video) LONG WAY UP: Ewan McGregor Discusses Livewire Charging

FAQs

Who met Ewan at the end of Long Way Up? ›

The ending

Ewan and Charley meet up with family in Palm Springs before their last day. Ewan, the crew and family, finish the last leg.

What was the point of the bus in Long Way Up? ›

The idea was to turn the bus into a makeshift camper that would allow them to load up the bikes and sleep on the bus without ever having to stop overnight because of safety concerns.

Did Ewan McGregor's wife ride in Long Way Down? ›

And affecting it even further is the unusual addition of a fourth rider, Ewan's wife, for 10 days of the journey, who up until a few months before the starting date had never ridden a motorbike.

How did they charge the bikes in Long Way Up? ›

While the pair did manage to charge their bikes at hotels and restaurants along the way, “fueling” their Harley's 15.5kWh lithium-ion batteries using 120V household current—with the absence of Level 3 DC “fast charger” stations in South America—proved to be quite the hurdle.

Did Ewan and Charlie fall out? ›

“So, when I was working in London or I came over to visit family in London, Charley was often just not there. There was no fallout or anything, we just sort of drifted apart.”

How did Ewan and Charley meet? ›

His close friend and partner on the road -- Charley Boorman, a fellow actor turned journeyman writer and TV presenter -- is similarly moved by the scenery. The two have been close friends since meeting on the set of the 1997 film, "The Serpent's Kiss" -- which must be watched, if only for the wig work.

What happened to the bikes from Long Way Round? ›

And what of the Long Way Round bikes - what happened to them? Ewan's GS was auctioned at a UNICEF charity event for no less than £85,000. Charley's went back to BMW to be used as a (very muddy) promotional tool.

What was the route for Long Way Round? ›

From London to New York, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman chased their shadows through Europe, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia, across the Pacific to Alaska, then down through Canada and America.

Why did they take a bus in Mexico Long Way Up? ›

The series whips through Central America but all the way along, the producers are worrying about the safety of Mexico. It's very dangerous to ride in Mexico at night, they're told by their local fixers, and so they decide on an alternative: take the bus.

What does Dani symbolize in Long Way Down? ›

After Dani's death, Shawn begins to teach him The Rules. Dani represents Will's loss of innocence, and it is her death that marks the true loss of his childhood.

Is Buck alive in Long Way Down? ›

Buck was killed when a man named Frick attempted to rob him. Around the time of his death, he passed his gun down to Shawn, along with the chain that Shawn was wearing when he died.

Who kills buck in Long Way Down? ›

The elevator stopped on the third floor next. Frick entered. Frick was the man who had killed Buck. Frick had meant to rob Buck so that he could join the Dark Suns, but he got nervous and ended up shooting Buck.

How much is a trishaw bike? ›

The full cost of a trishaw delivered to the United States ranges from approximately $9,500 to $12,500 depending on the model you select. CMP funding varies by state, with some funding paying for roughly half the cost while other funding may pay for the trishaw in full.

How does lime bike get charged? ›

Because Lime scooters are electric, they need to be charged regularly – and that's where you come in. Lime employs contract scooter chargers, whom they call “juicers”, to pick scooters up off the streets and charge them every night after 9:00 p.m.

Is Charley Boorman John Boorman's son? ›

Born in Wimbledon, London, Boorman spent much of his formative years in County Wicklow, Ireland. Boorman is the son of German costume designer Christel Kruse and film director John Boorman. Lee Marvin, a lifelong friend of his father, was Charley's godfather.

Are Ewan and Eve still together? ›

Ewan McGregor and Eve Mavrakis. Image: Getty. Then in 2017, things shifted. In October of that year, PEOPLE reported the couple had decided to split, and had been separated since May.

Is Ewan McGregor still friends with Charlie? ›

The friends later joined each other for a second travel series in 2007 called Long Way Down. However, the pair have since admitted that after the series made its debut, their friendship began to break down.

How many of Ewan McGregor's kids are adopted? ›

McGregor married Eve Mavrakis, a French-Greek Jewish production designer whom he met on the set of Kavanagh QC, in 1995. Together they have four daughters, two of them adopted, one a street child from Mongolia he met while travelling in Long Way Round.

How did Sam diagnose Charley's problem? ›

When Charley fantasied about the Third Level at Grand Central Station, he visited Sam for consultation. Sam declared it merely a 'temporary refuge' from his tension. He called it a waking-dream-wish-fulfilment. But slowly he himself got trapped in this imaginary world.

Why did Charley go to meet the psychiatrist? ›

Solution : Charley met a psychiatrist, since he was in a dilemma. He felt sure that he had been on the third level of the Grand Central Station, which everyone knows has only two levels. Even the Presidents of the railroads would swear on a stack of timetables that there were only two levels.

How did Charley's psychiatrist friend diagnose his problem? ›

CBSE, JEE, NEET, NDA

The psychiatrist friend interpreted Charley's finding the third level was the result of stress, fear, and insecurity of the modern world. He explained to him that the stress and fear had urged him to find an escape to a world that was peaceful and had plenty of leisure.

What watch does Charley Boorman wear? ›

Being very particular over the equipment used in such rugged environments, Bremont were delighted to be the watch of choice for Charley during his adventures.

How many bikes did they use in Long Way Round? ›

BMW then contributed three BMW R1150GS all-terrain motorcycles, which were modified to help the team achieve and document their mission. They were also equipped with cameras, microphones and display/viewfinder screens mounted on the dashboards.

Why did Ewan McGregor split with Eve? ›

When asked about the split, Eve said : "It's disappointing and upsetting but my main concern is our four children are OK." He cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for their split and the divorce was finalised in 2020.

What was the first rule in Long Way Down? ›

The Long Way Down rules are: #1 No Crying, #2 No Snitching, #3 Always seek revenge on the person who has hurt someone you love. After witnessing his brother Shawn be murdered, he feels compelled to follow Rule #3.

What does Long Way Round mean? ›

Long-way-around Definition

An indirect approach .

How long was the trip on Long Way Up? ›

Covering 13,000 miles over 100 days through 16 border crossings and 13 countries, starting from the city of Ushuaia at the tip of South America, Ewan and Charley journey through the glorious and underexposed landscapes of South and Central America in their most challenging expedition to date, using cutting-edge ...

Why was it called the Love bus? ›

As a kind of branding, the new bus service was dubbed the Love Bus (see Figure 1). The name got its inspiration from a popular Hollywood movie of that time, the “Love Bug”. Appropriately, the blue buses were emblazoned with red hearts.

Why did they stop bendy buses? ›

During the 2008 mayoral campaign, victorious Boris Johnson pledged to withdraw articulated buses on the grounds that they were unsuitable for London, and to introduce a modern version of the AEC Routemaster.

Who kills who in Long Way Down? ›

As Will listens to his mother's sobs at home, he opens the middle drawer of Shawn's dresser, previously forbidden territory, and finds a gun. He resolves to follow rule number three and kill Riggs for killing Shawn.

What does the eczema symbolize in Long Way Down? ›

She suffers from eczema, an autoimmune skin condition that results in red, flaky skin, and (in her severe case) blisters. It's itchy and painful, and Will suggests that his mom scratches in part as an outlet for her grief.

What does the moon symbolize in Long Way Down? ›

At times, the moon is the closest thing to Ishmael Beah as he runs for his life against rebel forces during Sierra Leone's civil war. For Beah, the moon is a gateway from the past and a symbol of hope.

Is Buck a ghost in Long Way Down? ›

In fact, the whole story follows a series of well-timed beats, as the elevator doors open to expose the deaths that haunt Will's looming choice — to follow the rules or walk away. The first ghost, Buck, “the only big brother Shawn had ever had,” doesn't seem surprised that his life was cut short by a gun.

How did Frick get his nickname? ›

Buck starts to explain, but then stop to asks Frick why he's called by that nickname. Frick says that his real name is Frank, but that he's a twin, and his uncle called him and his sister Frick and Frack.

What did buck reveal to Will in the elevator? ›

As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun.

How many bullets were in Shawn's gun? ›

The structure of the novel heightens the tension, as each stop of the elevator brings a new challenge until the narrative arrives at its taut, ambiguous ending. There is considerable symbolism, including the 15 bullets in the gun and the way the elevator rules parallel street rules.

Is Will from Long Way Down black? ›

Will is a black American teenager, living in a neighbourhood overshadowed by gun crime. When his older brother Shawn is shot dead in front of him, Will is overcome with grief, despair and fury.

How old is Dani in Long Way Down? ›

Answer and Explanation: In Long Way Down, Dani is killed by stray gunfire when she and Will are eight years old.

What is a OLA bike? ›

OLA is a pure electric vehicle brand. Bike Models.

What is a taxi bike? ›

The cycle rickshaw is a small-scale local means of transport. It is a type of hatchback tricycle designed to carry passengers on a for-hire basis.

Can Uber transport a bike? ›

The inclusion of Jump in Uber's app puts bike-sharing into Uber's transportation options for its users and is a fitting addition for the technology heavy hitter.

Is Lime bike free for 10 minutes? ›

Reservations can be made for 10 minutes, without any charge. Vehicle recommendation: when a rider opens the Lime app, the app refers them to the nearest vehicle with the best battery range. Configurable themes, riders can now switch between a light and dark mode for the app.

How much do you get paid to charge a Lime scooter? ›

On average, Lime pays between $3 and $12 per scooter, with the majority of them coming in at the $5 rate. The price per Lime varies depending on where it's located, how hard it is to find it, and how close it is to other scooters that need charging. In some cases, hard-to-find Limes pay as much as $20 each.

Can you leave a LimeBike anywhere? ›

The rental costs an initial £1 to unlock the bike, plus 15p for each minute it's in your possession. You can end your ride and park the bike practically anywhere in public, and the hire ends as soon as you lock the rear wheel.

Who is the MC in Long Way Down? ›

Long Way Down is a television series and book documenting a motorcycle journey undertaken in 2007 by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, from John o' Groats in Scotland through eighteen countries in Europe and Africa to Cape Town in South Africa.

Does Eve go on Long Way Down? ›

Ewan, Charley and Claudio are reunited for another adventure, this time from the top of Scotland to the bottom of Africa. Ewan's wife Eve also makes an appearance for part of the trip (closer to the end) riding her own bike with the guys.

What happened at the end of Long Way Down? ›

The ending of Long Way Down is a cliffhanger. When the elevator finally reaches the ground floor, Will is left with the final decision of whether or not to continue with his plan to seek revenge or to take a different path and help end the cycle of violence.

Who was in the elevator with Will in Long Way Down? ›

As Will rides the elevator to the lobby, he is joined by several ghosts: Shawn's friend Buck who was killed by Frick in a gang initiation, Will's childhood friend Dani who was killed when they were eight, Will's Uncle Mark who died in a bad drug situation, Will's father Mikey who tried to kill Mark's killer and died ...

Where did Long Way Up finish? ›

Route. The series follows Ewan and Charley as they journey through Latin America including the countries of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, and up through Colombia, Central America — Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala — and Mexico, before entering the USA and finishing in California.

Who was the first Ghost in Long Way Down? ›

The first ghost, Buck, “the only big brother Shawn had ever had,” doesn't seem surprised that his life was cut short by a gun. As a street dealer, he lived with the prospect of violence every day: he followed the rules, and he died by them.

What is the main idea of the story Long Way Down? ›

Long Way Down explores the perpetuation of a cycle of violence and the theme of revenge. Compare the development of these themes in Reynolds's novel to a classic revenge story like Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Iliad, or The Count of Monte Cristo.

What is the purpose of Dani in Long Way Down? ›

Dani, the second ghost to join Will on the elevator, forces Will to confront the potential repercussions of following through with his plan to avenge Shawn's death. Dani was Will's childhood best friend and was killed as an eight-year-old when someone missed their intended target and accidentally shot her instead.

What are the 3 rules in Long Way Down? ›

"There's a code of conduct, and what those rules are is number one, no crying, number two, no snitching, and number three, always seek revenge." Those rules ring true to Reynold's own experience: At 19, one of his best friends was murdered, and he considered revenge himself.

Why did Uncle Mark keep dealing drugs? ›

To make the money for a new camera, he began selling drugs. This led to Mark being shot to death a few months later. Will shares that Uncle Mark wasn't one to get a job or steal (stealing would require running, which might make him sweat or muss his clothes), so dealing drugs seemed like his best option.

How does Dani know will? ›

Dani was Will's childhood best friend until she was accidentally killed at eight years old in a revenge shooting gone wrong. The ghost of Dani gets on the elevator with Will on the sixth floor—her ghost has grown up to be about Will's age but wears an adult version of the dress she was wearing when she died.

Where are the bikes from Long Way Round? ›

And what of the Long Way Round bikes - what happened to them? Ewan's GS was auctioned at a UNICEF charity event for no less than £85,000. Charley's went back to BMW to be used as a (very muddy) promotional tool.

How long did Long Way Round take? ›

In 2004, Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman embarked on an epic challenge to bike 20,000 miles across 12 countries and 19 time zones in just 115 days. Watch as two friends ride around the world together and, against all the odds, realize their dream.

Is Buck Dead or Alive in Long Way Down? ›

Buck was killed when a man named Frick attempted to rob him. Around the time of his death, he passed his gun down to Shawn, along with the chain that Shawn was wearing when he died.

Why does will explain the rules to Dani? ›

Dani died before she learned the Rules. Will explains them to her now so that she won't think he's out to get someone for no reason. He wants her to know that he has a purpose—this is about family. Had Will known the Rules when Dani died, he would've avenged her death as well.

Videos

1. Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman Interview - Long Way Up (Apple TV+)
(HeyUGuys)
2. LONG WAY UP Official Trailer (HD) Ewan Mcgregor
(JoBlo Streaming & TV Trailers)
3. Long Way Down Trailer
(mr.cacadu)
4. The Long Way Up: Full Interview with Charley Boorman | Subscribe to Fully Charged PLUS
(Everything Electric Show)
5. Long Way Up on The All-Electric Harley Davidson Livewire: Ewan McGregor Finally Speaks Out
(Be Gone For Good)
6. Ep 4 | Ewan and Thingy's The Wrong Way Round - Bitten
(BigFaceTV)
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