Thursday, November 6, 2008

Even in U.S., Royal Enfield = adventure

Last of Four Parts

Brian Wittling rode his Royal Enfield Bullet more than 10,000 miles and visited 139 parks in the United States inside one year, earning an Iron Butt Association citation.

Other Royal Enfields have covered more miles, other riders have faced more dangers. But Wittling's accomplishment strikes me as the perfect American adventure. It is the ultimate answer to what you can do with a Royal Enfield in the United States, if you're willing.

Not everyone sees the point. When Wittling announced on a Yahoo message board in 2003 that he intended to attempt this ride, one member asked: "What's the point in visiting all those national parks and not stopping to smell the roses?"

The answer seems to be that Wittling enjoys challenging himself this way. He has done other epic trips with other vehicles. While he considers what he has done worthy of mention, he doesn't boast. Here's how he put it in an email to me:

"It still sort of baffles me that anyone looks up to my journeys as some kind of great adventure. I was just a guy riding my bike. What else are you supposed to do with it? What do my 'detractors' think people did with these bikes in 1955, I wonder?

"One time a shop refused to sell me a 1956 VW Beetle because I intended to make it my daily driver! He said it would be 'too dangerous' with its skinny brakes, in the rain and whatnot. What, did he think people kept them in the garage and never drove them in the '50s? It sort of reminds me of that."

In 2009, Wittling says he plans to ride a Royal Enfield in an attempt to do the IBA's "Ultimate Coast to Coast" trip. That would be Key West, Florida to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska in 30 days.

Adventure? I give him points for even considering such a thing.

All pictures by Brian Wittling.


  1. Anonymous11/06/2008

    THAT'S an extremely sexy RE...

  2. Anonymous, I assume you are being sincere! Bullets in fact do look dramatic in white, in my opinion. While I don't personally want to ride one loaded for safari, I do think that's always amazing to see. Old pictures of traveling motorcycles with actual suitcases strapped to them are particular favorites of mine. All best.


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