Two Canadian brothers have set a world record for their 18,000km journey around China on BMW motorcycles. Originally from Toronto, Colin and Ryan Pyle completed their epic motorcycle journey when they returned back to their starting point of Shanghai on Sunday October 17th, 2010, after 65 days on the road circumnavigating China on their BMW F 800 GS machines. Their journey was a unique one, as they have become the first riders to fully circumnavigate China by motorcycle in one single journey.
On March 9th, the two brothers received confirmation by the Guinness World Records organisation that they had indeed set a world record for their motorcycle journey around China. According to the Guinness World Records, the name of the record they received was for the “Longest Journey by Motorcycle in a Single Country”.
Ryan and Colin join fellow GS riders Kevin and Julia Sanders, who also hold world records in endurance motorcycling. In 2002, Kevin and Julia smashed the Guinness World Record for the Fastest Circumnavigation of the World by Motorcycle, taking 12 ½ days off the previous record. They averaged 1,000 miles a day on the bike and rode 19,461 miles in 19½ days. Their second World Record is "The Trans-Americas by Motorcycle" and is the ultimate endurance motorbike ride through North, Central and South America, covering almost 27,200 kilometres (17,000 miles) of tough riding, rugged terrain and extreme weather conditions. Kevin and Julia smashed the previous record of 47½ days, completing the ride in just 35 days.
"It’s an honour to be recognized by Guinness World Records for what was 65 of the most exhilarating, exhausting, and rewarding, days of my life,” said Ryan, who has spent the last decade in China building a career as a documentary photographer. “We have taken our BMW motorcycles through the toughest terrain in the world, and we’re alive to tell the story! On October 17th 2010, some 65 days after we departed, Colin and I rolled back in to Shanghai exhausted and unsure of how the outside world would react to our trip; so it was great to learn that the fine people at the Guinness World Records office were pretty impressed by our journey – so much so that Colin and I are now officially Guinness World Record holders!”
During their remarkable 17,674km odyssey the brothers encountered some of the most intense changes in culture, weather, altitude and terrain that exist in the world. They tackled heavy rains, flooding, landslides, freak hailstorms, extreme altitude (above 5,000m/16,000ft), sand, gravel, thousands of kilometres of road construction and even bureaucratic and military interference.
Colin and Ryan intend to produce both a documentary film and a written book (entitled The Middle Kingdom Ride) on their experiences in China, which have been far from regular. They plan to showcase much of China’s change and development from factory to farm, and the film will help put China on display by exploring the visual and cultural wonders of this amazing place, with its massive population, crowded cities, abundant minorities and stunning natural landscape.
As any long-distance motorcyclist will know, if you open yourself up to the experiences of adventure travelling, the chances are that your journey will prove to be colourful and dramatic, intense and fulfilling, with moments of danger, humour, sadness and gratification along the way, but it will be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do, according to Ryan.
“When Colin and I began this journey of ours last March there were more questions than answers. How would we circumnavigate China? Is it even possible? What bikes would we use? Would the traffic in China be the end of us? Obviously Colin and I are over the moon to have been awarded a Guinness World Record for the most kilometres completed in a single country, in a continuous journey and without backtracking and repetition. It is an amazing recognition of what was a most insane journey.”
The two brothers believe that China offers the traveller an experience like no other and have titled their project “The Middle Kingdom Ride”, as China’s historical name was once The Middle Kingdom.
To see a teaser clip of Ryan and Colin’s Middle Kingdom Ride, please visit www.youtube.com/user/TheMKRIDE