The new season of Tough Rides kicks off on Travel Channel on 23 July. Check out my Q&A with host, Ryan Pyle to see what he gets up to in this season of Tough Rides: Brazil:
1. On 23 July, your show Tough Rides: Brazil kicks off on Travel Channel, channel 179 on DStv. Riding a bike can be nerve-wracking at the best of times. Do you get nervous leading up to a new show’s debut on TV?
RP: I don’t get nervous when I am riding motorcycles, but it can always be a little bit scary when you travel around a country as wonderful as Brazil and you have so many honest and intimate moments with people, and you wonder if your television audiences around the world will “buy in” and want to follow in your footsteps and watch the rest of the episode. My goal is to explore, educate and storytell, and I think we did that in Brazil.
2. In this series, you’re riding across South America’s biggest country, Brazil. What is the best aspect about traversing a country like this on nothing but a bike?
RP: A motorcycle puts you in touch with a country the way a car or bus or train never can. On a motorcycle you are connected to nature, to the weather, to the landscape and to the people. It’s a 360 degree experience that is real, rich and incredibly fullfilling.
3. How did this idea come about?
RP: We are now in Season #3 of Tough Rides. I’ve already completed journey’s in China (S1) and India (S2). Originally my brother joined me in China and India and it was a wonderful experience, it was something that we had always wanted to do. Instead of “riding around the world” I always just wanted to learn as much about one country at one time; so riding a motorcycle for a few weeks or months around a single country and learning as much as possible about what makes that country special is just wonderful and very rewarding. The best way to explore the world is on two wheels.
4. In the first episode, you’re in the incredible city of Rio de Janeiro, which is amazing. It can also be a bit scary in parts, can you tell us a bit about that?
RP: Rio is a city of great contrasts. If you stay near Copa Cabanna beach where all the tourists are then there are no real issues. If you go wandering off in other parts of the city there could be some issues. We toured the favella’s as part of our series and it was a unique look at a city of great constrasts. Highly educational.
5. When you’re in these different cities, or making your way from A to B, do you ever get time to just pull over and admire the beauty, the scenery, the people?
RP: Sure, we always stop and film and meet people on the road and take our time. We are never rushing from A to B, and most of the time the best stories and the best people we meet are in those places inbetween. My series is un-scripted for the most part so we are always on the look-out for chance encounters.
6. What were some of your personal highlights that perhaps didn’t quite make the TV cut?
RP: There is so much content that never makes it in to the TV Cut. Wow, where do I begin? There were a lot of challenging moments along the BR-319, the most dangerous road in Brazil, that we were just unable to film because of extreme conditions due to personal safety. But that could have been an entire series all by itself. I hope I can go back at some stage.
7. What was the most difficult thing about the trip?
RP: The most difficult thing for me about making adventure television shows is being away from my family for long stretches at a time. As “tough” as I am in traveling by motorcycle through the Amazon, I have an incredible support team in my family….that I miss dearly everyday.
8. If someone is going to Brazil for the Olympics next month, what are some of the words or phrases can you share with them to get by while they’re there?
RP: In Brazil, you don’t need language. You need body language. Be loose. Be fun. Smile. And be sure to drink and dance the night way, just like all the locals. You’ll be embraced but what it means to be Brazilian. What a beautiful way of life.
9. You’re an adventurer by trade. So what’s next for Ryan? Maybe a trip from Cape Town to Cairo?
RP: I make a lot of different television shows, and Tough Rides is one of my absolute favorites. I would love to do an adventure in Africa but I would prefer to visit only one or two countries at a time and really try to learn about their diversity and what makes them special. I am less interested about crossing continents or doing “round the world” rides. I am on my motorcycle to connect with people and learn about places that I want to visit.
10. In closing and in two sentences, why should people watch Tough Rides: Brazil?
RP: You should watch Tough Rides: Brazil because it is real, it is honest and it is epic. Enjoy the adventure!