Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lois Pryce Visits Minnesota

The Twin Cities was lucky this past Sunday as a couple of the local motorcycle clubs were able to convince Lois Pryce to come back and talk to us about her trips. Over 250 people showed up to listen to Lois talk. As in 2009, it was standing room only for those who didn’t arrive early.

She was last here in 2009 and told us about her Americas trip where she rode from Alaska to the Southern tip of South America solo. This was my first introduction to her. I bought her first book “Lois on the Loose” which chronicled her 20,000 mile trip across the Americas. A great read, and I recommend you find a copy if you haven’t read it.

During her 2009 talk in Minnesota, she also talked about her second solo trip riding from London to Cape Town in South Africa. She also wrote a book about that trip. It’s called “Red Tape and White Knuckles” and it was much more tense than the first, and another good read.

Lois Pryce talking about her trip across the usa on a ural in 2009 with austin vince

I was lucky enough to get her to sign my copy of her first book today which I managed to get as a hardcover in 2009. She only had the paperbacks today. My fantastic wife bought me the second one, and had it autographed for me too!

In 2009, Lois and her husband Austin Vince (of Mondo Enduro fame) rode a 2009 Ural Patrol 6000 miles from Richmond, VA to Washington. They took the slow scenic route and only rode back roads. It took them about 2 1/2 months. They made made short film about the trip which Lois played for us – “Ural USA”. It was quite entertaining, and made in the typical Austin Vince style. If you saw Terra Circa or Mondo Enduro, you’ll probably like this one too.

Lois is quite entertaining to listen to. She is a witty and charming brit not unlike a certain other brit I know. If you get the chance to read one of her books or see her in person, I would recommend it.

Ural 3/3 at lois pryce talk

I smiled during her talk as she explained their experience of riding a sidecar for the first time. It reminding me of December 2009 when I first learned to ride a sidecar. I had a bit of a chuckle as she admitted, “I’ve been riding for a few years, how hard could it be?” Funny we both had the same hard learning experience.

She also experienced the same UDF (Ural Delay Factor) that every Ural owner quickly grows accustom to. It’s the delay you should factor in to answer the questions from the swarm of people that appears every time it stops. Whether at a red light or a gas station, they will come. They even went so far as to add a sign on the front that read “It’s a Ural”. It didn’t seem to help much.

Ural 2/3 at lois pryce talk

It was also nice to hear that they rode 6000 miles and only put gas and oil in the Ural even with all of their shenanigans off-road. They didn’t have any other troubles. I’m envious.

The other part of the talk I liked is when she explained about how a couple riding in a sidecar together is a nice test of the marriage/relationship. Each of them was used to riding and controlling 100% of their own destiny. As a passenger, they had to give up that control. She talked about how they both had to learn to shut-up and not comment as the rig flew into the bushes or narrowly missed a truck. Sage advice.

After the talk it was fun milling about with all of the other riders and fans. I was surprised how many people showed up that I had met at other events.

Outside there were three Urals that made the trip to listen. I was sad mine wasn’t there to join them. It was a fun time. I look forward to reading about her next big adventure which might be somewhere in Asia.

Ural 1/3 at lois pryce talk


  1. Chris

    You guys were truly lucky, I've read her stuff and she's quite the storyteller.

    I reviewed her book "Lois on the Loose" back in '08, here's a link to the review: LINK

    Have you seen the little video that Austin and Lois put out: "Come Uraling with me"?


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

  2. Dom: Yes, twice in two years! She was just in or is going to CO soon. See her website for her schedule. I think she is at the Overland Expo in AZ this weekend.

    Yes, I watched it when you posted it :) That video is a teaser for their DVD shown at her talk (which I purchased). It's about 30 mins long and is more of the same in the short vid. Good stuff! I wonder if Lois was playing her banjo for the music.

  3. Thanks for sharing this event and for bringing this great pilot (and monkey) to our attention. Her trips must have been fascinating and real physical workouts. I will try and get to read the stories, maybe catch some of the vids. Good job.

  4. tennesseedog: Thanks for taking the time to comment again. I do appreciate it. She is quite the adventurer as is her husband Austin Vince. Do check out his material if you haven't as well. Riding a sidecar is work, especially on twisty roads or off-road, and it is a bunch of fun! :)

  5. Dear Chris:

    Thank you for a great lead to another moto-book. The thirst for genuine adventure builds to breaking point by the time the riding season gets started. I love looking at Urals, but could never be tempted to own one. The machine has a timeless look to it. But I am dangerous with a wrench, and I suspect I'd be real dangerous around one of these.

    I think the Russians should join hands with BMW, and build a modern Ural, having the best qualities of the original, and a powerplant and transmission with a modicum of difficulties. I'm sure ypu'll gert that bike back pronto.

    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads
    The Bermuda Triangle of Biker Bogs

  6. Dear Jack: You're welcome Jack. Make sure to look at her husband's stuff. He's ridden around the world twice.

    No worries on getting a Ural. You'd actually be better wrenching on the Ural than the BMW. It's easier and simpler.

    As much as I like the Ural, forget the Russians. The Germans should just build a nice sidecar themselves and be done with it.

    It would be SO nice to have fuel injection and ABS. Going from four forward gears to six would also be awesome. I don't need to go 100mph in a sidecar, but the Ural topping out at 60-65mph into the wind is rather limiting at times.