Photos courtesy Victory Motorcycles, unless otherwise noted.
If all goes as planned, Urs Pedraita, a Swiss motorcyclist who goes by the nickname “Grizzly,” will depart Daytona Beach, Florida, on Friday, March 11, riding his customized Victory Cross Country. On May 20, just 100 days later, Grizzly will return to Daytona Beach, having traveled 100,000 kilometers (roughly 62,000 miles), across six continents at their longest points, setting a new world record in the process.
Grizzly on the road in Nordkap, Norway.
Grizzly is no beginner to the sport of motorcycle endurance riding, which requires equal measures of stamina and strength, with a healthy dose of insanity added to the mix. In 2013, he completed a 9,000-mile trip across Siberia in 37 days, seven hours and 41 minutes – in the midst of winter, facing temperatures as low as -35 Fahrenheit. In 2014, he unofficially set a new record for crossing six continents at their longest distance, riding the trip in 116 days and 12 hours. The official and documented record for the journey is 120 days and two hours, and this is the record that Grizzly hopes to beat on (or before) May 20.
Grizzly’s proposed 2016 route. Image courtesy Grizzly Race Team.
This time around, Grizzly’s trip will take him from Daytona Beach to Laredo, Texas; Mexico City, Mexico into Panama, down to Ushuaia, Argentina; to King George Island, Antarctica; back north to Santiago, Chile, by plane to Sydney, Australia; Darwin, Australia; Perth, Australia; by plane to Cape Town, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Cairo, Egypt; Tunis, Tunisia; Genoa, Italy; Gibraltar; Zurich, Switzerland; Paris, France; London, England; Dublin, Ireland; Newcastle, England; by ship to Amsterdam, Netherlands; Stockholm, Sweden; North Cape, Norway; Murmansk, Russia; St. Petersburg, Russia; Moscow, Russia; Novosibirsk, Siberia; Chita, Russia; Vladivostok, Russia; Seoul, South Korea; Hanoi, Vietnam; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore; by plane to Anchorage, Alaska; Fairbanks, Alaska; Edmonton, Alberta; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Toronto, Ontario; Chicago, Illinois; Santa Monica, California (via Route 66); then back to Daytona Beach.
On the sand at Daytona Beach.
If Grizzly stays on schedule, the trip will take 100 days (or less – his ultimate goal is 99 days), and the brief side trip into Antarctica (not required for the record) is to ensure that no one else beats his time in the foreseeable future. Though the legs traveled by plane or by ship reduce the daily average below the simple math of 620 miles per day, averaging even half that distance will surely prove challenging in lesser-developed countries, or in the adverse weather that Grizzly is sure to encounter. Sleep will be an occasional luxury, not a daily occurrence, which is where the stamina part comes in.
Grizzly with the support team in Norway.
Instead of opting for a do-it-all adventure bike, Grizzly will be riding a specially prepared Victory Cross-Country, equipped with touring, off-road or spiked tires (as required); an 8.7-gallon fuel tank; multiple navigation systems; a custom saddle with backrest; dual LED headlamps and additional driving lamps. His support crew will follow to minimize service or repair time (and to maximize safety), but Grizzly will be going it alone in the saddle.
The Grizzy Race Team website will provide regular updates on his progress, and an app (available for both the iPhone and Android platform) will deliver real-time status updates. The team will also be providing ongoing updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.