To most, the idea of packing up some simple belongings, attaching them to your motorcycle and taking off around the world would be nothing but a dream. To Murray Ash, its his current reality.
Setting off from Vancouver, Canada, Murray is on a 16,000km (10,000 mile) quest across the globe, stopping in 19 cities and ending his trip in London, England. As a sponsor of the ride, ninetynineco are going to be covering Murray’s trip, regularly bringing you updates along the way.
Murray’s ride really does have it all, with plans to ride through Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Yosemite, L.A, San Diego, Mexico, Vegas, Phoenix, The Grand Canyon, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Atlanta, St Louis, Chicago and New York before making his way to London, England for his final stop.
Murray learned to ride in order to reach uncrowded surf breaks in Indonesia but only obtained his full rider license a few months ago. After his 3 year relationship ended a few months ago, he decided to treat it as an opportunity instead of a problem (as his bike was in Canada, along with his ex girlfriend). He decided to fly from the UK with minimal luggage and jump on the bike to head south towards the warmer summer weather.
Having spent some time on the road myself, it’s quite a natural thing to slip into a bit of an alter ego. Aestival means belonging to or appearing in summer, so with the hunt for the warmer weather, ‘Aestival’ became the first part of his travel alias.
He selected Knievel to accompany it because with todays society being based in comfort and safety… [tweet_box design=”box_7″]”Todays daredevils are the ones that are willing to live outside the box, to push the limits of whats possible”[/tweet_box] …and to say a big fuck you to social norms. Murray says that to him, comfort is the creativity killer, and without creativity we are all only consumers, living a small life in a small world. I tend to agree.
Murray is a saver. As a child he worked multiple jobs and saved hard, somehow knowing that he was saving for something big. He didn’t necessarily know what it was, but he knew that at some point, it was coming.
In his mid twenties he was living out of a surf board bag in South and Central America, teaching surf lessons and selling his photography in the form of postcards to pay for rum and rent. Watching as his friends worked on a beach house to pay for their travel and decided that was what he should use all my savings for. Upon returning to the UK he found a decrepit beach pad in Cornwall England, right on a surfing beach and after almost a year of negotiations, managed to buy it. Spending the next summer living in a VW camper van, learning how to renovate and rebuild a house, he taught himself everything and the things he couldn’t do he paid someone to do once and learnt from that.
He rented it out as a holiday let and remortgaged it, using the mortgage money to buy another property and did the same again. After renting the two places out he turned his focus back into his photo & film business murrayash.com and took off.
Murray has been on the road for almost 3 months now due to the generosity of people he’s met along the way, has only paid for 4 nights accommodation. Even staying with associates where he has ‘earned his keep’ by helping them out with photo and video work. He says “In my opinion anyone can travel indefinitely if they have a skill set or two to trade for a few nights on a sofa.” – That’s quite appealing, isn’t it?
As fans of motorcycling, we can all appreciate or find inspiration in seeing someone live out this dream. This was part of the reason that I contacted Murray in the first place – he’s living out the lifestyle that most of our readers dream of. I wasn’t the only one to get in contact with him along the way, he tells me [tweet_dis]”the further into the trip I get, the more I realise that the trip isn’t just for me, that its for everyone else. [/tweet_dis]I have increasingly found people messaging me and thanking me for inspiring them to start a project of their own or even begin a long journey themselves. I plan to write a travel book after the trip with photography and ‘lessons from the road’ to hopefully inspire more people. Seeing how my sacrifices and hard work can affect other peoples courage and drive really keeps me going.”
Deciding on a Triumph Thruxton in British racing green seemed like an easy choice for Murray, partly because of his citizenship he says, but mostly because ever since he was young he has been obsessed with Steve McQueen after watching the great escape. “Finding out he raced Triumphs in his downtime from filming got me stoked.”
Bruce Brown was another hero after watching the movie he directed called the Endless Summer (which Murray based his post university round the world surf trip on), and when he found out he had directed ‘On any Sunday’ the motorcycle bug bit hard. (Actually the place the plane crashes on the beach in the Endless Summer II was the same beach house Murray lived in in Costa Rica).
Murray has really minimal gear. Using a Wolfman dry bag for my rear rack and a couple of Ogio panniers (which hewouldn’t recommend for wet riding as the waterproof covers actually hold in more water than they keep out, soaking anything inside). He alternates between Draggin kevlar jeans and Uglybro Tonups and carries seven of everything else to only do laundry once a week.
“I have added a larger front cog to help with motorway miles, upgraded the suspension (Triumph shouldn’t even be allowed to sell the bikes with that stock shit in my opinion, it’s dangerous!) I’ve added a steering damper, larger tyres and thats about it.”
Here’s a few ups and downs from Murray about the trip so far:
“My favourite moment of the trip so far was probably pulling over on a clifftop on the way through Big Sur to watch whales breaching. I noticed something in my peripherals and stopped in a gravel patch. The ocean was glinting and then a large grey whale, as if in slow motion, launched into the air followed by a mass of white water. I sat there and watched them for what felt like forever, basking in the sun and looking out over nature. That was the moment I realised I was on an adventure.
The hardest moment of the trip was actually the first day. Departing late from Vancouver mid winter, with a hangover and only a few hours sleep under my belt really screwed me over. It took so much longer at the U.S border that it was almost 5pm by the time I started the ride to Portland. The weather really came in on me. The fog was so thick I couldn’t see the lights of the car in front, my visor was constantly misted up and the temperature dropped down to about 1C. My phone stopped working so I couldn’t get directions to my friend’s house that I had planned on staying. I eventually got a pizza delivery guy to show me the way, proof pizza does save lives! I didn’t get in until 11pm and was so cold I couldn’t straighten my legs when I got off the bike.”
These rains were no joke on an long ride, check out the video below:
“The next few days were the worst rain I have ever seen and baring in mind I had never ridden in the rain and didn’t have waterproofs (I know, what a dick) it really tested my spirit. [tweet_dis]It made me stronger and I feel like I’m capable of much more than I would have ever known if I was sitting at home in a warm and dry house.[/tweet_dis] Using my frustration and anger at the weather and my own stupidity really increased my endurance ten fold.”