Long Way Up episode 1 presents challenges in the preparation as Ewan, Charley and the production team struggle to work out how to do this mission on electric bikes.
This recap of Apple TV+ series Long Way Up season 1, episode 1, “Preparation” contains significant spoilers. The first three episodes will be released on September 18 and then it will be weekly.
We will be recapping every episode — check out the archive.
Ewan McGregor explains his previous 2004 and 2007 trips with best friend Charley Boorman. Episode 1 explains how they found each other again years later when Charley had a bad accident. Long Way Up will document their trip from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego in the southern tip of Argentina, crossing South America, Central America, Mexico, all the way to Los Angeles in California — they only have three months to do it and they will be doing it on electric motorbikes.
Yes, electric — you heard that right.
Episode 1 is about preparation and thinking of the logistics of doing this trip. The main conundrum is when/how they will charge their bikes. Ewan, Charley and the production team discuss it at length. There’s an insightful scene where the production team and the two friends look at a map and plot their route.
A different feeling
It’s strange when they test out their electric bikes — you can tell by Ewan’s face that he doesn’t like the electric sound in comparison to a normal bike at first. When they test the bikes, there are not as many vibrations so the ride feels more smooth and they can hear more. Suddenly, Ewan looks sold on it — he loves the ride.
Learning and health
They learn from engineers that the best they can do is 70 miles a charge on these bikes which is a problem if they want to do 180 miles a day. Episode 1 presents plenty of debate. Ewan visits a Formula-E race in Rome to see how it works in racing. They are there to pick brains. Ewan is concerned about his friend as well because of his last motorcycle accident — he was in intensive care. It was a scary time.
Planning the route
The trip was planned to start from the South American tip. Ewan is seen putting pins on a large map. They are eager to reduce their carbon emissions. It’s 150 miles a day. They also need to plan memory cards and what is shipped — also importantly, charging points. The team also needs an adventure utility vehicle.
Episode 1 sees their Harley-Davidson prototypes arrive. The pair are impressed with what has been made for them. Clearly, the test is mileage. After testing, they realize it can do over 100 miles. The bikes shown are only prototypes. Harley-Davidson now needs to create the real thing for Ewan and Charley.
Near the back end of the episode, the team is installing charging spots for their trip across their route. Without enough charging spots, the trip will fail. The adventure electric utility vehicle is also ready. Long Way Up is a green light.
It’s goodbyes to the family and Ewan struggled to say goodbye to the kids. Their bikes are ready and the best friends describe it as a smooth ride. There’s plenty of appreciation for what Harley-Davidson has done. They take a flight to Ushuaia. And so it begins…
Long Way Up episode 1 presents challenges in the preparation as Ewan, Charley, and the production team struggles to work out how to do this mission on electric bikes.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.