In Asia, up-and-coming road racers work their way up the scooter ranks before they graduate to “real” motorcycles. Grids are usually packed at these “Underbone” events, and when you get grids sometimes 40-deep of youngsters full of adrenaline lined up on the starting line, you often get incredibly close racing. Other times, however, carnage ensues. […]
Playboy Writer Rides the Road of Death
Degenerative eye disease didn't stop him from riding the world's most dangerous road
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Okay, we’ll admit, we will make up any excuse to get to read Playboy at work, but this is a story worth sharing no matter what the source.
James R. Petersen, a longtime writer for the Bunny mag, is also a lifetime motorcycle enthusiast. He also has a degenerative eye condition that makes it increasingly difficult to see. The part of his eye responsible for focusing is leaking fluid, severely affecting his ability to see. While he still has enough sight to ride, his editor at Playboy pitched the idea of an Ewan McGregor-esque adventure riding story. Petersen accepts.
With blood vessels doing to his retina “what tree roots do to sidewalks”, Petersen heads to South America for a 5,000 mile motorcycle ride from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Lima, Peru, including a stretch on Bolivia’s North Yungas Road, one of the world’s most dangerous highways, colloquially known as “El Camino de la Muerte“, or the “Road of Death“. It hangs atop a 2,000-foot cliff with no guardrail to protect riders from a deadly plunge. The North Yungas Road claims the lives of 200 to 300 people each year, most of whom probably aren’t dealing with severely degenerated vision like Petersen.
The video above is fascinating, but not as fascinating as his story. Check it out at Playboy.com or in the March 2011 issue of the magazine.