Gordon Browning is almost certainly the first British person to have ridden a motorcycle
on all 7 Continents. His was not a one-off global adventure achieved in one trip,
but a more leisurely Continent by Continent ride. Read his story below...
The Early Years
Gordon started riding motorcycles as a 14 year old in his local sand quarry in 1966.
His first road legal bike was a 250c.c Greaves trials machine, on which he (fairly
unsuccessfully) entered competitions. In 1970, Gordon became involved in the Club
Road Racing scene, spannering for a friend who rode a Manx Norton on short circuits
and in the Isle of Man Manx GP. It was during this period that Gordon also helped
construct sidecar outfits and raced as the passenger for three years up to 1973.
Motorcycles took a back seat in 1975 as Gordon developed his career whilst pursuing
his passion for mountains by climbing all over Europe, Africa, the Himalayas, Antarctica
and Borneo. It wasn’t until the year 2000, as his climbing career faded, that Gordon
started riding motorcycles on extended trips across Europe, venturing further and
further each time.
The Journey Begins
In 2006 Gordon left the UK on a 650c.c BMW Dakar along with six others and rode
to Morocco, across the Sahara desert through Mauritania to Senegal and up to Timbuktu
in Mali. From there he rode through eight other African countries including Nigeria
and The Congo, finishing at the border with Angola. He later returned and completed
a tour of South Africa, taking in Lesotho and Swaziland for fun. After his trip
to South Africa, Gordon became involved with a charity for disadvantaged children
in Barrydale and helped purchase a new set of instruments for the school rock band
and later with extending the office block.
Southern India was Gordon’s next stop in 2010, where he purchased a 500c.c Royal Enfield on arrival and rode it around Kerala and Tamil Nadu. He later returned to India, this time touring Rajasthan on an Enfield.
Gordon’s love of mountains was best demonstrated by his friendships with the people of Nepal. In 1994, he chose to sponsor a young girl from the Everest region through school, college and University in Sydney. Before travelling to her graduation in Australia in 2012, he decided to visit New Zealand and spent two weeks touring South Island on a 1200c.c GS BMW. Since then Gordon has funded the construction of a Primary School and housing in Nepal following the tragic earthquake in April 2015 and more recently become a supporter of Community Action Nepal, the mountaineer’s charity.
Gordon has also been a lifelong supporter of Southampton FC and for many years a Patron of the Saints Foundation Charity that supports young people and vulnerable adults.
Five continents already?!
For no other reason than it seemed like a good idea at the time, Gordon had his bike crated and flown to San Francisco in May 2012. Once reunited with it he spent two months riding through many of the desert and mountainous National Parks west of Denver, up into Canada and then back down the west coast of the USA. On his return, he realised that he had unwittingly ridden five of the seven Continents so decided he’d best finish the other two!
January 2013 saw Gordon leave Buenos Aries on a 1200c.c BMW Adventure and head south across the Pampas, into Patagonia and Torres del Paine before arriving in Punta Arenas, Chile. From there he swung North and East across the Magellan Straits and into Tierra del Fuego before arriving at Fin Del Mondo, aka ‘the End of the World’. The final continent was in sight.
In February 2013 Gordon travelled to Antarctica, from Ushuaia, Argentina, on a Russian Akadimik research vessel, along with a 650c.c BMW motorcycle. On arrival at the Russian base, the bike was hoisted into a zodiac and man handled ashore, after which Gordon promptly rode around for a suitable period of time and completed his objective and almost certainly become the first British person to have ridden a motorcycle on all seven Continents.
Today, Gordon continues with his motorcycle adventures having ridden across the “Roof of the World” to Everest Base Camp in Tibet, through Alaska and the Canadian Rockies, plus a tour of Scandinavia and the Baltics. Latterly he has ridden around Ecuador and Northern Thailand. Gordon continues to satisfy his own personal challenge of riding in more countries than he’s had birthdays. He was 70 in 2022 and his latest 2 countries are Pakistan and Mongolia, a total of 71.
Gordon can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
for a chat or perhaps advice on your next motorcycle adventure.