Everything we know about Long Way Up
Ewan and Charley are back for more roadtrip action
Yes, Ewan McGregor and his pal Charley Boorman are riding again. Finally. Quite a long time after Long Way Down (2007) and even longer since Long Way Round (2004), the bezzy mates are saddling up for another motorcycle adventure. Except this time, they’re quite a bit older. And they’re not using any petrol.
Long Way Up is an upcoming Apple TV+ show that’ll see film star, dreamboat and probable Jedi Ewan McGregor team up once again with presenter, writer and fellow motorbike enthusiast Charley Boorman. The plan? Another epic road trip, this time from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world at the tip of Argentina, up to Los Angeles. The twist? They’ll be riding electric Harley-Davidsons. You know, the kind that you need to plug in quite often. Except they’ll be spending quite a lot of time in the middle of nowhere. So that should be interesting.
Here’s what we know about the show so far.
The title is very accurate
It’s a long way from Ushuaia to LA. As the crow flies, it’s 6,815 miles but that’s in a straight line, going over mostly sea. The actual trip will be a lot longer. Around 13,000 miles. Oof.
Oh, and they’re going north. And as we all know, north is up. Full marks for the title.
It’s not going to be easy
Well, obviously. A series about two guys riding perfectly-surfaced motorways would be dull. But there isn’t an obvious route between these two cities. Look, even Google Maps can’t work it out. There’ll be some tough decisions to be made.
There are a lot of countries to navigate
Judging by the map on some promotional material, the boys went from Argentina up through Chile, into Bolivia, across to Peru, through Ecuador through Colombia and into Panama. Then it was a cruise through central America, traversing Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, before entering the USA. That’s 13 countries over 100 days. If you’ve ever tried to take a foreign vehicle and camera gear through a border, you’ll know how much paperwork that must have involved.
Ewan and Charley rode custom adventure-spec Harley Davidsons
Although they’d previously ridden BMWs when riding from London to New York in the Long Way Round and from Scotland to South Africa in the Long Way Down, this time the boys worked with Harley-Davidson. The American firm customised two electric LiveWire motorbikes, converting them into adventure bikes, which presumably means there’ll be some serious off-roading going on.
The trip wasn’t just with bikes
As well as the Harleys, Ewan and Charley needed support vehicles. Sure, they could have just loaded up some Land Rovers, but they wanted to keep with the zero-tailpipe-emission theme. So they were joined by two prototype Rivian R1T trucks, which were also electric and so also needed places to recharge. Oh, and were largely unproven over such a long, arduous journey.
Fuel must have been tricky
Ever been on a road trip where you see signs that say something like “last fuel stop for 200 miles”? Ok. Now think about how many electric car chargers there are compared to fuel stations. Now imagine crossing deserts with four electric vehicles. Marketing material from Rivian says they built up a charging network to make sure they could grab some e-juice and keep going. But Ewan told chat show host Jimmy Fallon that they had to knock on people’s doors and ask to plug the bikes in. Which sometimes blew their fuses. Oops.
Ewan ran out of charge
Ewan admitted that he’d run out of electricity, although Charley didn’t. Which means that sometime last year, passers by would have seen a major Hollywood star astride a Harley, clutching onto the side of a car to get a tow.
Anyone who’s watched the first two Long Way films will remember Claudio von Planta, the Swiss cameraman, and he once again joined Ewan and Charley for the trip, although apparently he had a petrol motorcycle rather than an electric one.
Rivian support trucks. Sweet
You can watch it exclusively on Apple TV+ from September 18
The first three episodes will drop globally on that date, and the rest of the series will roll out weekly after that. Find out more here.