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Doing The Long Way Up on Harley LiveWires Was Tricky, Sometimes Embarrassing

Now that Ewan McGregor is hitting the promo trail for the latest anti-hero flick from Warner Bros., Birds of Prey, he’s also dishing out details on the 3-month trip he took from Argentina to Los Angeles, on a fully-electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycle.
Ewan McGregor talks about the challenges of doing The Long Way Up on a Harley LiveWire 15 photos
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The trip, taken with his longtime pal and fellow rider Charley Boorman, started in September last year, in top secret. It wrapped in December, when the two, together with the production crew and backup team, rolled into Los Angeles and partied with Harley Davidson. Footage shot will be included in a third documentary from the Long Way series, believed to be called The Long Way Up.

This is the first time McGregor and Boorman rode on fully electric bikes, and speaking to Jimmy Fallon in a recent interview, the actor admits that the experience was awesome, very tricky at times and downright embarrassing at moments. It all had to do with the range of the motorcycles, which is the same issue that plagues the auto industry in terms of getting customers to switch to electrics.

In this particular case, the lack of a charging infrastructure meant the two had to rely on locals for help. In turn, this translated into knocking on doors and asking strangers to let them plug in their motorcycles, and occasionally blowing up their fuse because they couldn’t handle two of them charging at the same time.

“They let us and we'd camp in their garden and sometimes it would blow their fuses because we had two bikes plugged in at the same time, which was embarrassing,”
McGregor explained. “We'd have to go and knock on their doors down say I'm terribly sorry. Then we plug one in. People were so generous and lovely about it.”

The rest of the time, they would charge at restaurants or coffee shops as they passed through a town. Funnily enough, Charley never ran out of juice, which McGregor believes could be confirmation that “he’s the better rider.” When McGregor did run out of power, he would have to be towed – in the most surprising and quite perilous manner.

“I ran out a couple of times and you just hold onto a car. If you open the back windows and front windows have a car you can get your arm round the pillar and then you just muscle along like that for a while,”
he explained.

He’d discovered this method in his 20s, while in NYC, when a Hell’s Angels rider hitched a ride like that on the yellow cab he happened to be in.

McGregor also says they rode electric bikes because they wanted to be “part of the new wave of transportation.” He doesn’t offer a release date for the doc, but reports say it should be out this spring.



 
 
 
 
 

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