We’ve been through some strange times in the past few years—but it’s precisely in times of uncertainty that big dreamers usually find a way to break through. In August, 2022, a rider named Bridget McCutchen has a grand plan to circumnavigate the globe on her motorcycle.
Her goal: To finish the journey around 12 to 16 months after she starts. If she succeeds, she should become the youngest rider (period) to complete the task. She’ll also be the youngest—and only—woman to do so.
McCutchen’s trusty steed on this journey will be her Kawasaki Versys-X 300, which she named Mab, after her beloved flesh-and-blood horse. Although Bridget has been busy preparing for her journey for a long time, she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to chat with us about her plans.
Could you tell us more about how you started riding?
I first started riding when I was 19 and bought my first motorcycle, which was a 2004 Kawasaki Ninja 250. Before this, I had only ridden occasionally, normally on the back of one of my brother's motorcycles and very rarely in the driver's seat. Getting my first motorcycle was nearly a revelation!
What made you decide you wanted to try to break this record?
As it turns out, according to Guinness I am not breaking the record - there isn't one for the youngest woman, so I'll be the first to officially set one. That's beside the point, as part of my decision was a realization that this idea was kind of incredible. I mean, how often in your own life do you get to do something that makes history and possibly inspires others to follow the pain that is driving your own life? Of course, the other reason to do this is simply because it's an amazing adventure. Something I can be proud of, record or no record.
What kinds of preparations are you making (for yourself, for the bike, in case of breakdowns or other emergencies)? I understand that you come from a riding family, so I'd imagine growing up around bikes makes a big difference.
I've always been a handy person, making my own things, from Halloween costumes to sailing equipment. I'm very grateful to have grown up with motorcycles around and have spent a lot of time over the past year fixing, changing and preparing myself and my bike as much as possible. Mostly that's looked like a lot of tinkering and education, and my family and their knowledge and help has been totally invaluable. As for Mab, my bike, I will be carrying a few key spare parts: brake and clutch levers, spare inner tubes, and a few other odds and ends. I have no doubt I'll be continuing to learn as I go along!
Are you planning to camp a lot, or will you be staying in available accommodation along the way?
I really love camping in the wilderness and I'll be doing it as much as possible. Throughout my trip planning I've met a lot of people who have kindly offered help, some in the form of a place to sleep, so I'll occasionally be staying with old and new friends! However, in part to conserve funds but also because of my love of the outdoors, I will not be staying in paid accommodation unless absolutely necessary; I would rather sleep in a bush.
Have you done many long trips prior to this one?
I just finished my longest trip up to this point which was a two-week motorcycle trip from Wisconsin to the east coast and back. I haven't had a lot of experience doing long motorcycle trips and I would be lying if I said that didn't make me nervous about attempting to go around the world.
I've been planning and preparing exhaustively and speaking with many people who have done trips like this - I see this as a full-time job, now. But I also realize that I'll be figuring out a lot of things along the way, and I have no doubt I'll be receiving a lot of help throughout my journey.
There is a common misconception that great adventures are done alone, which I think is completely false. Already, I've received so much help, interest and support from so many awesome people. I may be riding alone, but this adventure work is many. Nothing great is ever done alone.…