Hardcore motorcycle adventurer Nick Sanders has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for his services to ‘endurance cycling and motorcycling’.
The well-known eccentric started his adventuring career in 1981 when, as a 23 year old, he established a world record for cycling around the world, completing the nearly 14,000 mile journey around the northern hemisphere in 138 days. Three years later, he went back and lowered his record to 79 days.
In 1992 he switched to motorcycles and circumnavigated the globe on a Royal Enfield Bullet, but it was his 1997 trip sponsored by Triumph that really brought him to the attention of British bikers. Sanders rode the British company’s Daytona 1200 around the world in 31 days and 20 hours.
Since then, Nick has worked with Yamaha – usually riding ‘inappropriate’ bikes in far flung places – either setting records or acting as tour leader to his intrepid group of customers. In 2005, Nick lowered his around the world record to 19 days and four hours, set on a Yamaha YZF-R1, while his seventh and final circumnavigation, called Parallel World, remains one of the most extreme motorcycle adventures yet.
Undertaken in association with British motorcycle insurance specialists Carole Nash, Nick rode an average of 12 hours a day on his R1, riding through 41 countries and racking up over 35,000 miles in less than five months. The resulting films proved to be a big hit and proved a big inspiration for a new generation of motorcycle adventurers.
Speaking of his MBE, Sanders said: “I’m very emotional about it all to be honest. I didn’t really think that this kind of thing happened to people like me. I’ve always strived to try new ideas and I’m not finished yet. We are already working on ideas for what we can get up to next…”
These days Nick remains a Yamaha ambassador and regularly runs expeditions for everyday riders. He was one of the first to experience Yamaha’s new Ténéré 700 when he tested a prototype of the machine as part of the World Raid last year, which saw the machine ridden all over the globe by Nick and Yamaha’s Dakar legends.
Jeff Turner, Yamaha’s UK Marketing Manager added: “I’ve known and worked with Nick for many years, so it is great to see him honoured in one of the highest ways possible. His achievements speak for themselves, and in his 16 years working with Yamaha he has been a superb ambassador for our brand and I look forward to continuing that work in the future.”