Bear Grylls is leaning against a dry-stone wall munching an apple, England’s green, rolling fields stretching to the horizon before him. The beautiful setting might not hold the adrenalin charge of Death Valley, the jungle or the Australian Outback, but that matters little to one of Britain’s best known adventurers.
“The other day, I jumped on my Tiger to pick up one of the kids. The sun was shining, I had a favourite tune playing and it was one of those moments where you just feel so grateful to be alive. That in itself is what adventure is about for me – doing things that make you feel alive – in the best sense of the word,” he said, relaxing briefly during filming for Triumph’s No Ordinary Adventure Bike campaign.
The father-of-three’s self-awareness and dedication to his family ensure he gets the most out of life’s smaller joys despite his stardom. “I’m just an ordinary guy who likes to get out on his bike. Yes, my job puts me in a few extreme situations, but we can all find great adventures in our lives.
“It’s about pursuing those tangible beats in time when everything just comes together, when the concentration and focus that bikes demand mean you’re not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow. When it’s all about the moment.”
Bear – his real name is Edward, which became Teddy and then Bear – didn’t hesitate when the opportunity arose to work with Triumph and ride the new Tiger XC. “I love Triumph’s heritage and Englishness, and that’s why it’s always my Tiger or Trophy that I go to first. The Tiger is built for adventure but it’s versatile too, whereas for longer road journeys the Trophy is in a class of its own.
“Bikes have always played a big part in my life. I have always loved the feeling of being alone and riding. When you’re on an adventure, there are enough other things to worry about, so I need to know that the gear I have is going to work. You get that assurance with a Triumph.”
When Hollywood star Zac Efron [ask your kids – Ed] became the current series of Running Wild With Bear Grylls’ first victim – sorry, volunteer – he captured the essence of everything his survival guru believes bikes do for him without even knowing it. After jumping from a helicopter and rappelling down a 150ft waterfall, the High School Musical star said: “I haven’t thought about one thing today apart from what I’m doing and where I am at this moment, and I think that’s one of the most beautiful things about nature. Thank you BG.”
That release, Bear insists, is why the perfect escape is only the turn of a key away for every rider: “You don’t need to go to the Himalayas for adventure. It’s right there in front of you every time you climb on a bike. Riding gives me that personal space away
from the cameras and all that work stuff. It gives me a chance to rediscover what really matters in life.”
Adventure bikes, such as the XC, that devour off-road terrain and soak up the miles on a long trip match Bear’s wish list: “I like riding something that allows me to tickle the underbelly of danger without necessarily doing back somersaults through hoops. On
the big adventures I look for a bike that’s trustworthy and that I feel a connection with.”
The former SAS man’s love affair with bikes began as a 16-year-old with a 50cc moped, but he quickly progressed to a 125 and then a 1200cc as a reward to himself for passing selection to the British military elite. One of his first TV programmes was 1994’s Ridge Riders, a documentary about a group of riders who toured England’s historic sites by bike.
“When I’m out filming with the crew and we use all these different all-terrain vehicles and bikes to access places, I’m always first to go for the bikes, riding ahead to scout the route. It is always my favourite time, off camera, alone and pushing into new terrain and new adventures, with great friends beside me.
“I really believe that the only wealth worth having in life is our family and relationships. If you pursue money or fame it will always leave you empty. But shared adventures touch our souls in a way that is hard to describe.”