by Roy and Chris
This is the story of Elspeth Beard, who was the first British woman to motorcycle around the world. She was the daughter of a well-respected, albeit slightly eccentric psychiatrist, and she went to Roedean School at the age of 10. She was 23 years old and studying to be an architect when her life changed, and she decided to ride her BMW twin around the world. This was in 1982 – no mobile phones or sat navs in those days; you had a map and off you went.
She wrote lots of letters seeking sponsorship for her trip, but received only two replies – one from BMW and the other from a bike magazine. She had hoped for some publicity and advice from the editor but received only mocking male chauvinism in return. So no help was available then!!
Whilst in America, Elspeth and the BMW managed to out-ride a biker gang – when she came to some bends the other riders could not stay with her. She had plenty of adventures over the next two years and 35,000 miles on the road.
She eventually returned home and continued with her studies to become an architect. All her photos, notes and tapes went into a box and stayed there for the next 30 years. In 2008 a short article was written about Elspeth’s journey for BMW International. This created some interest and she went off to write the book, which was published in 2017. She had wanted to write it earlier but there was a lack of interest from anyone at that time.
Another 300 page book, well written, describing some highs and lows in her travels, with plenty of photos. Well worth a read.