The Sun on your back, the Wind on your face, together we Ride!
Our journey started in Los Angeles in the great state of California. For a pretty well traveled ex-serviceman, I might have even lulled myself into thinking I’d seen it all. After all, this happened to be my second motorcycle tour with BT4TW, having been on the infamous Route 66 Tour back in summer 2014, with fellow wounded soldiers as pillions. In fact, my initial arrogance towards this second tour of the Wild West, USA, couldn’t have been more self-contrived. If I may elaborate, just because one has been around the block a bit in life – perhaps even back-and-forth to the States a few times in their life – doesn’t remotely mean they’ve seen it all. The simple fact of the matter is, the mighty USA is so damn vast, you could travel around it for months and still only scratch the surface of what she’s got to offer. Touring on a motorcycle however really opens up the possibilities and seemingly endless roads, and routes you never realised existed, which former men had built with their bare hands, sweat and toil. Considering this on the odd occasion – you cannot take it for granted – those early efforts in All-American civil engineering continue to bring joy to millions of American motorists. Not least to our specific band of brothers – discerning and dedicated motorcyclists from the UK and their valuable cargo of Wounded, Injured or Sick former service men and women.
How far d’you ride then?…was a frequent question we got asked by the Legion of friendly riders we came across at the various American Legion Posts dotted around our epic route. Epic in proportion, as this took in not just Cali, our starting point, but Utah, Arizona and Nevada. You quickly realise that these Legion riders, proudly straddling their Harleys and Indians, are representing a firmly established brotherhood, stretched far and wide, right across the land. Sometimes, they turn out in droves when they hear the Brits are in town! The reception we got wherever we roamed was always unanimously welcoming – they want to shake you by the hand, look you in the eye and extend a warm welcome to their compatriots – their brothers-in-arms. We’d share a beer, often times even a meal and talk about the kind of old boy’s banter that’s undoubtedly united us in conflicts, since as far back as the history books will tell you. Call that compatriotism what you like, but for me, I began to understand the roots of that special relationship that our two countries share. It humbled me to the core and, looking back on my time in the States on Tour, I was left with a warmth and glow from the people that we met, the places that we saw and undeniably, the thought provoking nature of the open road which was always ahead of us – just quietly paved out in the wilderness, forever waiting to be explored… An alternative kind of therapy is to be experienced on Tour – that automotive force of four-stroke, four-cylinder freedom. Legendary views and mountainous vistas stimulate the senses at every opportunity… With the Sun on your back, the Wind on your face, together we Ride!
Jamie was former UKSF(R); injured in a aircraft fire, whist solo-piloting, 19 August 2007. He endured 60 % third-degree burns plus multiple internal injuries and fractures. Bike Tours for the Wounded has been a very developmental and therapeutic aid to his personal recovery, inspiring confidence, self-esteem and self-belief in what can be achieved from open-road adventure Tours.