I should start this post by saying up front that I am smitten with motorcycles now. I recently watched Long Way Round, the travel documentary about Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman‘s trip from London to New York on motorcycles. It was something like 22, 000 miles and full of those magical moments that only travel documentaries can seem to capture.

They have finished and released a second travel documentary, Long Way Down, which chronicles their trip from Scotland to Cape Town, South Africa. I am incredibly eager to see this second documentary as well.

Travel documentaries are a rare breed if done properly. They inspire, they illuminate, they get a lively pulse out of a sedentary heart. And, in this case, they feature motorcycles. I am not much of a car man; I am quite content with our Honda Accord, an obvious nod towards practicality. Motorcycles are on another level, both visually and metaphorically.

Regardless, the motorcycle pictured here is the BMW K 1200 GT. It might very well be the single most beautiful machine (of any sort) that I have ever seen.

Will this spur a road trip with Jen and I from New York to Valparaiso, Chile? Probably not, but in dreams begin a mental responsibility. It is a pact forged between you, your own soul, God (whatever you define that as) and your mortality. You are indebted to experience these things if given the opportunity precisely because you have been given the opportunity. It is your covenant with the human race.

And it is one incredibly cool motorcycle.

So, in passing I leave you with some clumsy verse, more of a conversation between me and Logic:

“If this land, full of green pastures, boisterous cliffs,
endless sand, does not inspire, does not offer enough room
then perhaps all your days are akin to slapping hands against
the marble walls of a sepulchre, of a tomb?”

I looked it in the eye, mustered calm,
leaned in and answered in monosyllabic truth.


By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

One thought on “Long Way Round and the Pursuit of the Perfect Motorcycle”
  1. Well, it looks like I have some travel docs to watch this weekend. And I don’t know about you, but there dis no way Heejin would ever, and I mean ever, let me get a motorcycle!!

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