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Long Way Down/Round Review: Still Worth Watching?

More than 15 years have passed since Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman released their Long Way Down and Long Way Round DVDs.

Doing so caused quite a stir among the ADV riding community. Some loved it and some simply didn’t. Certainly this was the first eye-opener for many into the adventure motorcycling community and caused quite an uptick in sales of both motorcycles and riding gear.

But the question remains: Is it still worth watching today? Let’s answer that question.

Long Way Round DVD

This was the first DVD released in October 2004 and documented Ewan and Charley’s ride from London to New York on BMW Motorcycles, paired with a support crew and a doctor.

Long Way Round

It gained massive popularity and reviews, yet some negative critism regarding the use of support crews. After all, each year, thousands of adventure motorcyclists tour several countries with just them and their motorcycle, paired with some gear.

Yet this really opened the way for adventure riding and what’s ultimately possible on two wheels. For many, they finally saw true adventuring and away from the glossy tourist magazines and catchy Instagram photos (and yes, Instagram wasn’t around back then).

Even females and wives of adventure riders finally understood the notion of touring on 2 wheels. For many, this gave the gents a ‘ticket’ to finally get out there and start exploring, even if it was just their backcountry.

Long Way Down DVD

Several years later, in 2007, Long Way Down was released. This sequel covered their adventures from Europe and down into Africa. This was again with the same support crew of the previous series.

Long Way Down

Some say this is even better than compared to Long Way Round. Some say it’s the same. Either way – it shows us what’s truly possible to see and the huge world that we live in, with both the beauty and dangers.

This is notably so as both Ewan and Charley visited multiple UNICEF Projects to get a first-hand glimpse into the work that is being done. This helped promote the work being done by this organisation.

Worth it?

So then, is it still worth watching this DVD series or purchasing it as a gift for someone? Ultimately:

The Long Way Round and Down DVD series’ is an excellent DVD set for those new or getting started into adventure riding. For the more experienced rider, there are today better influencers worth watching that see the world without support vehicles and elaborate camera crews.

The reviews on both DVDs are excellent and this series still holds a place in the hearts for those who love adventure and seeing new sights.

It’s hard to compare them with what’s available out there today. The industry has exploded and there is some serious talent in the world of amateur filmmaking. In fact, we’ll show you some great alternatives.

Alternatives to Long Way Round

These alternatives are worthwhile and often are seen by true adventure riders as the cornerstone of genuine adventure riding. No crews. No fancy or expensive motorcycles. Just a light motorcycle and a camera, just as it should be.

1. Motonomad

The work of Adam Riemann from Australia is Motonomad. He’s travelled to numerous countries/regions and has produced numerous series. This video in particular has received millions of views:

You’ll note that they have very light ‘adventure’ motorcycles. In fact, these are true adventure motorcycles, because heavy ADV bikes are typically only good for bitumen or showroom floors.

2. On Her Bike

The popular YouTube channel has tens of thousands of loyal subscribers who love the energetic spirit of Kinga who started her journey in Australia. Her editing is incredible and does away with jump cuts or slick scenes.

It’s just her…literally on her bike. Camping while travelling the world on her adventure bike without a support crew or sponsorship. On Her Bike has just genuine excitement!

3. Itchy Boots

Another excellent influencer is Itchy Boots by Noraly. Females tend to do better as motorcycle enthusiasts while serving a predominantly male audience.

Yes – Itchy Boots has been to Afghanistan among other wicked and exciting places in the world.

In Summary

The Long Way series certainly opened the doors for many to get into adventure motorcycling, from global discovery to backyard sightseeing. Was it too ‘over the top’? We think so.

There is no genuine need to have so much support or stuff when seeing the world. Just two wheels, some gear and a love for adventure. It’s very much a relevant series which ignited the spirit of adventure. These days, however, you’ll find more engaging content for free.

Update: Ewen and Charlie have just watched Long Way Up which is a series done on electric adventure motorcycles, so watch this space! Frontaer will have a review on this in the coming weeks once we’ve found the time to sit down and watch it.

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