The Longest Ride: My 10-Year 500,000 Mile Motorcycle Journey

by Emilio Scotto

Emilio Scotto must be the bravest man on the planet. In 1985, with no credit cards and just $306 in cash in his pocket, the Argentine adventurer climbed aboard his 1980 Honda Goldwing and set out to discover the world. At the end of 10 years and 460,000 miles, Scotto had traveled to 279 countries, twice circling the world.

Scotto’s hair-raising adventures started almost immediately. He was robbed on the third day of his trip in Rio de Janeiro. He was robbed four more times during the next decade, suffered three major illnesses, was shot at twice, and imprisoned six times.

Fortunately for those of us who love adventure stories, Scotto also took more than 90,000 photographs and has a way of telling his amazing story in a droll, almost matter of fact way.

“I’m very tired. I suppose the bike is, too. I stop, realizing for the first time that it’s totally dark. In fact, it’s been dark for some time. I’ve been going along at a snail’s pace, guided by the headlight of the bike. I know I’ve been moving all day without a break, so I can’t have done less than 30 miles. I must be a stone’s throw from the border. I look at the speedometer. It only shows 8 miles since I left the asphalt. The cable must be broken. I check the cable. It’s intact.” Scotto at times exhibits almost superhuman determination to push his Goldwing to places few riders would take a modern adventure bike.

If The Longest Ride has a weakness, it comes in the second half of the book. It almost feels like the editors decided to cut short the author’s stories in order to get the book to the printer. It’s a shame, because Scotto is by now on his second lap of the globe and is visiting many of the places he missed on his first lap.

Scotto is also blessed with a personality that allows him to make friends easily and on more than one occasion probably saves his life. In fact, the wide variety of people he meets on his travels, everyone from Muhammad Ali to Pope John Paul II (who blesses both the motorcyclist and his Honda) add to his almost incredible story. It is the kind of tale that will keep you up late into the night, reading of a brave man who wouldn’t let his fears or third-world bureaucracy stand in the way of seeing every part of the world.

Copyright 2009, Kevin Clemens (

The Longest Ride: My 10-year 500,000 mile Motorcycle Journey
By Emilio Scotto
224 pages
Motorbooks, 2007
List price: $34.95
ISBN: 978-0-7603-2632-9

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