BMW Mottorad USA and BMW Performance Driving Schools are sponsoring the series.
Bayly has visited 45 countries in 35 years, many of them at the helm of adventure-seeking expeditions. This time, the characteristically unshaven, mop-haired Brit leads three riders with varying degrees of experience on a trek across Peru aboard BMW F 800 GS and R 1200 GS motorcycles.
Dr. Laura Ellis, Reverend James Johnson and entrepreneur Troy Rice ride for nine days and 1,700 miles. Two especially grueling segments of the trek take place in the deep sand of Paracus National Park and in the Andes Mountains at 14,500 feet in thick, freezing fog.
“It was 32 degrees and we had to keep our visors open because they were fogging on the inside and freezing rain was slapping the outside,” said Ellis, an Asheville, N.C., surgeon who cited the mountain ride as the moment she questioned whether or not she would finish the adventure. “The Diamox [mountain sickness medicine] caused my fingers and arms to feel tingling and numb, it was freezing cold, we were traveling at extremely low speed due to 10- to 15-foot visibility, so operating the clutch lever was constant.
“It was the end of the day after riding from sea level, and the road was twisty and downhill, with huge trucks coming from the other direction and drop-offs that we could not see,” Ellis added. “We could barely see each other’s tail lights. There were large rocks in the road and pot holes from rock falls and poor road maintenance. … There were moments of extreme exhaustion, but also moments that made me laugh with excitement — ‘How cool it all was — what an awesome experience — who gets to do this kind of crazy stuff?’ That’s what I would keep saying to myself while laughing.”
Bayly suspects the ride was a life-changing experience for the group. “After such an intense experience, people need time to process everything,” he said. “So I don’t think we’ll see the full effect of the journey for some months, even years to come.”
For a link to the trailer and more information about the series and cast, visit http://nealebaylyrides.com/sizzle/.
Posted by Arlo Redwine. Photos courtesy Midgett Productions