The woman aiming to be the youngest to travel the world by motorcycle

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(CNN) — Born into a family of motorcyclists, Bridget McCutchen was able to witness firsthand the thrill that riding a motorcycle can bring at a very young age.

The 22-year-old, who grew up in northern Wisconsin, got her first bike when she was 19 and was soon setting off on trips to the likes of Baltimore and New York.

But the idea of ​​traveling around the world never crossed her mind until her older brother pointed out that she was still too young to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the world on a motorcycle. Age can beat human records.

McCutchen, whose longest road trip was from Wisconsin to Washington, says she dismissed the idea at first, but it kept coming back to her mind.

“After a while, I was like, ‘Why not?’ The only reason I didn’t think I was going to do it was because I was scared of it,” she tells CNN Travel. “I was telling myself, ‘No’. And then I decided to tell myself, ‘Yes’. So here we are.”

Record challenge

Bridget McCutchen is trying to break the record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle.

Bridget McCutchen is trying to break the record for the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle.

Courtesy of Bridget McCutchen

McCutchen spent nearly a year planning his route, seeking advice from Henry Crews, who was 23 when he completed the circumnavigation of the world by motorcycle in 2019, and others who had previously attempted the challenge. had tried Kane Avellano, who accomplished the feat a day before his 24th birthday in 2017, is currently listed as the record holder on the Guinness World Records website.

To become the new record holder, McCutchen needed to adhere to a list of specifications, including using the same bike for the entire trip and avoiding staying in one place for more than two weeks.

McCutchen will also need to ride over land across the equator at least once, with the trip to be at least 24,900 miles (40,075 km) to qualify.

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Saving as much money as she could, McCutchen left in August, spending her first few weeks “bouncing around the states” before heading to Baja and crossing to mainland Mexico by ferry.

She’s traveling with a riding partner, Kiva, whom she met a few months ago on this leg of the trip, and says they often take off their helmets when they arrive somewhere new. Make a stir.

“A lot of times people are very surprised,” she says. “Like they expect men to ride these motorcycles.”

By attempting to beat this particular record, McCutchen, who is chronicling her journey on her Instagram account, bike.will.travel, hopes to “represent a new generation of riders,” Emphasizing that traveling makes a big difference in seeing the world. By bike vs. by car.

“In a car, you’re in a bubble that’s moving around the world,” she says. “But on a motorcycle, you’re exposed to everything, for better or worse. The sights, the smells, the sounds. Everything matters more to you.

“You’re exposed to everything, and it’s much more engaging. It’s more intimate.”

A complex path

McCutcheon is currently sailing from Mexico to South America as part of the first leg of his journey.

McCutcheon is currently sailing from Mexico to South America as part of the first leg of his journey.

Courtesy of Bridget McCutchen

McCutchen, who has just left Mexico City, plans to slowly make his way to South America through Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay before heading to Europe.

“This is where a plan falls short,” she explains. “Because I have to find somewhere to ship my motorcycle, which will take about two months.”

Once both McCutchen and his bike arrive in Europe, ideally via Spain, McCutchen hopes to travel to the UK, Ireland, and Turkey, which straddles Europe and Asia, and ” The Caspian Sea will approach.”

At this stage, it has a limited number of avenues to go further into Asia, each of which comes with enormous challenges.

McCutchen had originally planned to enter Russia, but was unable to do so due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“The situation is very complicated,” she says. “I still believe that Russia is my best option.”

Once, or if, she is able to successfully complete the Asian leg of her journey, McCutchen aims to ship her bike back to Mexico, from where it will return to the United States.

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For now, he’s focused on building the first phase, and is excited for Mexico’s Día de los Muertos, also known as the Day of the Dead, which lasts the first two days of November. was

Of course, traveling by motorcycle on unknown roads comes with its own risks, and McCutchen sometimes finds it difficult to navigate some off-road parts of the country.

She has fallen off her bike onto the sand on a few occasions and has had “close calls with trucks around blind corners”.

“By far the hardest thing is the mountain passes,” she says, “because we’ve been avoiding the toll roads.”

McCutchen says he had to learn to slow down and enjoy his surroundings instead of running from place to place.

Conversation starters

McCutchen with the biker group Los Renacidos in the Mexican village of Bernal.

McCutchen with the biker group Los Renacidos in the Mexican village of Bernal.

Courtesy of Bridget McCutchen

“Usually, when I was on a motorcycle trip, I was going somewhere and didn’t have much time,” she explains. “And now I have a ton of time.”

McCutchen has chosen to offload some of his gear along the way to keep things as manageable as possible, and currently has two pairs of pants, two shirts, a small air compressor, an extra fuel bottle, a camping stove. , carrying a tent. , a sleeping bag, camera equipment and a laptop.

“Some of it can be heavy, but it’s really just very basic stuff,” she says.

Although he had saved some money before starting the trip, he soon realized that it would not be enough to cover all his expenses.

She has been able to raise funds by selling stickers that she designed herself, and has a GoFundMe, which her followers can donate to.

“At first I was like, ‘How am I going to pay for this?'” she admits. “Because not being in one place for more than two weeks limits my ability to work on the road.”

McCutchen is extremely grateful to those who have offered to help and/or donate to his fund, acknowledging that the generosity of others is “a huge reason why I’ve been able to do this. “

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She particularly enjoys interacting with locals while on the road, explaining that the motorcycle, a Kawasaki Versys X 300, has proven to be a great conversation starter.

“People think motorcycles are cool, and they come to talk to you,” she says. “It’s like a bridge to more people. You become more accessible.”

Overcoming obstacles

McCutchen, who comes from a family of bikers, got her first bike when she was 19.

McCutchen, who comes from a family of bikers, got her first bike when she was 19.

Courtesy of Bridget McCutchen

Although she was wary of the potential dangers of riding a motorcycle in unfamiliar countries before embarking on the journey, McCutchen says her experiences so far have helped put her mind at ease.

“You hear a lot about how the world is so dangerous, and you should stay where you’re safe,” she says.

“Part of it is true. It’s not like I’m putting my life in danger by doing this. But there are also many things in the world that are very kind and wonderful. And I think his The weight is too scary.”

Although the journey has gone relatively smoothly so far, McCutchen isn’t taking anything for granted, and says she’s well aware that factors beyond her control have made her attempt to challenge. can be failed based on

“I’m definitely a little bit scared about not being able to continue because of something,” she admits. “Like a bike breaking down, or things going wrong in the world.”

Of course, if she manages to break this particular record, it’s likely that someone even younger will come along and set a new record one day.

However, McCutchen is not worried about it at all. In fact, she says she’ll gladly help anyone willing to do so, even if it means beating her to it.

“I want to get other people to do things like this,” she says. “Maybe not necessarily this skill, because not everyone has the time.”

“But if somebody came up to me now and said, ‘I want to break this record,’ and he broke it before me, that would be fine.”



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