Sleeping one hour at a time and riding six-hour stints, Swiss rider Urs Pedraita hopes to set a new record for global navigation of the seven continents on a Victory Cross Country.
Urs, also known as “Grizzly” because Urs means bear in German, has already beaten Nick Sanders’ global circumnavigation record of 19 days by three days, and early next year plans to reduce the seven-continents ride from 120 days to 99.
Speaking through an interpreter at the Victory American Rally in Colorado Springs, Urs says the secret to setting the record is to never go into deep sleep and only sleep an hour at a time.
He trains for a month beforehand by setting alarms to prevent him sleeping more than an hour.
He says the “Long Stretch Federation” will set the route for the record global lap in about six weeks and will monitor his progress via GPS and satellite. He also believes a Ducati rider plans to have a crack at the record.
Urs sets off on his record attempt on February 21, 2016, from Zurich, and he’s taking five alarms with him to ensure he doesn’t sleep in!
“The most important thing is you can’t fall into a deep sleep,” he says. “I’ll catch up on sleep on the boat between continents.”
He says his favourite places on his record-setting global circumnavigation were Alaska and Siberia because of the solitude and the wildlife.
“At night time you could see the eyes of the wolves glowing in the dark,” he says.
For security and so he doesn’t sleep too long he usually naps with his helmet on while reclining on his all-white Victory Cross Country.
Urs is motivated to tackle the world record because he comes from such a small country.
And he chose the Victory because of its low centre of gravity, its reliability and because “everyone does it on an enduro bike”, although the current record was set on a Yamaha R1.
“I’m just rebelling,” he says.
“Lights on the bike are the most important part because I have to do a lot of riding at night, he says.
He will have to cross each continent at its widest point, for example, Africa will be crossed from Tunsia to Cape Town.
However, for Antarctica, he will fly with his bike to the continent and only needs to put the wheels on the ground, then he can re-load the bike and fly back.
Mind you, he’ll probably do some riding while he’s there as he’s not scared of ice.
“After driving it on the ice for 20,000km you get a good feeling for your machine,” he says.
The well-equipped Victory features satellite tracking, cameras front and back which send a verification photo every three seconds to the Federation and a computer on the tank which he uses to Skype home, check the weather and watch TV when he’s resting.
He says the only problem he’s had with the bike are broken bearings in the gears and a failure of the front brake forcing him to ride 2000km without a front brake.
Urs is looking forward to riding across Australia, but is worried about the wildlife.
“I have a deep respect for Australia,” he says. “I hear it’s very dangerous for wildlife at night, so I’ll be putting extra lights on the bike.”
He is most concerned about Africa and South America.
“If I get through those continents ok, everything will be fine.”