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 see firsthand the joy that riding a motorcycle can bring from a young age.

The 22-year-old, who grew up in northern Wisconsin, got her first bicycle when she was 19 and soon began going on trips to places like Baltimore and New York.

But the concept of riding around the world never occurred to her until her older brother revealed that she was too young to set the record for being the youngest person to circumnavigate the world on a motorcycle.

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

“After a while I thought, ‘Why not?’ The only reason I didn’t think I would do it was because I was scared,” she told CNN Travel. “I kept telling myself, ‘No.’ Then I decided to say ‘yes’ to myself. So here we are.

Record the test

Bridget McCutchen is trying to beat the record for the smallest person to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle.

Bridget McCutchen is trying to beat the record for the smallest person to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle.

Sincerely, Bridget McCutcheon.

McCutchen has spent almost a year planning her route, seeking advice from Henry Crews when he completes his motorcycle circumnavigation in 2019. In the year Ken Avellano, who achieved this feat one day before his 24th birthday in 2017, is currently the record holder on the Guinness World Records website.

To become the new record holder, McCutchen must follow a set of specifications, including using the same motorcycle for the entire trip and avoiding staying in one place for more than two weeks.

McCutchen needs to drive over the equator at least once, but the trip must be at least 24,900 miles (40,075 kilometers).

After saving up as much money as she could, McCutchen set off in August, spending the first few weeks “walking around America” ​​before heading to Baja and crossing the ferry to mainland Mexico.

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She’s riding with Kiva, a riding partner she met a few months ago on this part of the trip, and she says they often make a mess when they get to a new place and take off their helmets.

“People are often surprised,” she says. “You expect men to ride these motorcycles.”

In trying to beat this record, McCutchen, who has been documenting her journey on her Instagram account, hopes it will “represent a new generation of riders”, stressing that there is a big difference between seeing the world while travelling. By car versus by motorcycle.

“In a car, you’re in a bubble that moves through the world,” she says. But on a motorcycle, for better or for worse, you’re bought into everything. Sights, smells, sounds. Everything is more important to you.

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

Complicated passage

McCutcheon is currently riding from Mexico to South America on the first leg of her journey.

McCutcheon is currently riding from Mexico to South America on the first leg of her journey.

Sincerely, Bridget McCutcheon.

Leaving Mexico City, McCheen plans to slowly make her way to South America, passing through Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay before flying to Europe.

“This is where planning is lacking,” she says. “Because I have to find a place to ship my motorcycle, which will take about two months.”

Once McCutchen and her bike arrive in Europe, via Spain, McCutchen hopes to travel through the UK, Ireland and on to Turkey, which is Europe and Asia, and “near the Caspian Sea”.

At this stage, Asia has a limited number of road options to go further, each of which comes with major challenges.

McCutchen originally planned to enter Russia, but that may not happen because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

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

Once, or if, she successfully completes the Asian leg of her trip, McCann plans to bring her bike back to Mexico, and then back to the United States.

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For now, she’s focused on getting through the first game, and is excited to be in Mexico for Día de los Muertos, known as the Day of the Dead, which lasts the first two days of November.

Of course, riding a motorcycle on uncharted roads comes with its own risks, and McCutchen has found it difficult to navigate the sometimes off-road parts of the country.

On a few occasions she fell off her bike and onto the sand and had some “close calls with trucks around blind corners.”

“By far the hardest part is the mountain pass,” she says. Because we used to stay away from toll roads.

Instead of running from place to place, McCutchen says she needs to learn to slow down and enjoy her surroundings.

A conversation starter

McCann with the Los Renecidos cycling group in the Mexican village of Bernal.

McCann with the Los Renecidos cycling group in the Mexican village of Bernal.

Sincerely, Bridget McCutcheon.

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

McCutchen opted to unload some of her gear along the way to keep things as manageable as possible, and currently carries two pairs of pants, two shirts, a small air compressor, an extra gas bottle, a camp stove, and a tent. , sleeping bag, camera equipment and laptop.

“Some of them can be serious, but they’re really very basic,” she says.

Although she had saved some money before starting her trip, she soon realized that it would not be possible to cover all her expenses.

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

“At first, ‘How do I pay?’ I said,” she said. “Because not being able to stay anywhere for more than two weeks would limit my ability to work on the road.”

McCutchen is very grateful to those who have given their support and/or donated to her fund, believing that the generosity of others is “the main reason I’m able to do this.”

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She especially enjoys meeting locals while on the road, explaining that her Kawasaki Versus X300 motorcycle is a great conversation starter.

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

Overcoming obstacles

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

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

Sincerely, Bridget McCutcheon.

While she was wary of the dangers of riding a motorcycle in unfamiliar countries before starting the trip, McCheen said her experience so far helped put her mind at ease.

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

“Part of that is true. There’s no way I’m going to risk my life doing this. But there’s a lot of the world out there that’s kind and amazing. And I think that outweighs the scary bits.”

Although the journey has come relatively far, McCutchen says she’s not taking anything for granted, and is well aware that her audition could fail for reasons beyond her control.

“I’m definitely a little bit scared that I won’t be able to continue because of something,” she said. “Like the bike breaking, or things in the world getting worse.”

Of course, if she succeeds in breaking this record, maybe one day someone smaller will come along and set a new record.

However, McCann is not worried about this. In fact, she said she would happily help anyone who wanted to do it, even if he beat her to it.

“I want other people to do things like this,” she says. “Maybe it’s not necessary for this skill, because not everyone has time.

But if someone comes to me now and says ‘I want to break this record’ and they break it before me. That was good. “


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