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In Memory of Hubert Kriegel: The Timeless Ride

"Ten Years on the Road"-- A 60-year-old man decided to go see the world on a Ural

by Ujjwal Dey, all photos by Hubert Kriegel
4/5/2018


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Highest Motorable Pass in the World, Ladakh, India
Highest Motorable Pass in the World, Ladakh, India

 

“Selling everything I had in 2005 to go travel around the world on my sidecar was the best decision I ever made in my life.” – Hubert Kriegel, New York (1946 – 2018)

 

On January 24, 2018 the sidecar motorcycle community lost one if it's most adventurous and inspiring ambassadors, Hubert Kriegel, the man behind The Timeless Ride.

 

 
Waving goodbye to the children of Africa
Waving goodbye to the children of Africa

 

For those who don't know, Hubert was one of the most honest and kind hearted sidecar enthusiasts this world had ever seen. He traveled the world for over a decade, inspiring generations of new riders and adventurers alike. Pushing people to think outside the box and chase after their dreams.

 

His ever evolving curiosity and passion for life pushed him to continually live life to the fullest.

 

 
No borders, Hubert and his Ural cross every bridge
No borders, Hubert and his Ural cross every bridge

 

Hubert always traveled with a sense of wonder, preferring to immerse himself in the local culture instead of hiding away in hotels and tourist destinations. With his incredible wit and boundless stories, he was always making new friends wherever he stopped.

 

 
Always learning to speak the local language in new lands with new friends
Always learning to speak the local language in new lands with new friends

 

Always keen to communicate in the native language, Hubert often wrote notes on his gas tank of local phrases.

 

 
Hubert's last post on his blog was this photo of his wife, daughter and grand-daughter
Hubert's last post on his blog was this photo of his wife, daughter and grand-daughter

 

Originally from France he was settled in USA. For the last 9 months he was living healthy, happy (off the road), and in harmony with his family including his wife, Lorraine, his daughter, Jessica, and her family including his new granddaughter, Eleanor.

 

 
Asleep in a desert in the lap of Mother Nature
Asleep in a desert in the lap of Mother Nature

 

Now his ride really is timeless as he sets off on his next adventure. The Ural family and entire sidecar community will miss him dearly. As Hubert always said, "Don't forget to take a risk today!"

 
 
Hubert at Arctic Circle, 2005. Every Ural sidecar motorcycle is tested in very strict, harsh and in every possible road test before being shipped from Russia
Hubert at Arctic Circle, 2005. Every Ural sidecar motorcycle is tested in very strict, harsh and in every possible road test before being shipped from Russia

 

Hubert started his Ural sidecar journey in 2005 which took him to Arctic Circle Canada, France, Switzerland, Spain, Jersey in UK and Texas USA.

 

2006 his Ural took him to Death Valley USA, Mexico, Guatemala El Salvador, Honduras Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, crossing the Panama Canal to Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Buenos Aires to back home to New York.

 

2007 he rode to Patagonia, Andes, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

 

 
Never too old to do a Wheelie. Argentina.
Never too old to do a Wheelie. Argentina.

 

2008 he again visited Colombia and rode on to Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, crossing the border to USA, then on to France, Austria and Switzerland. Visiting Jersey UK again he prepared his Ural Sidecar for more adventures into Switzerland before returning to New York.

 

 
Riding Ural in Mongolia among the legendary riders of Emperor Genghis Khan
Riding Ural in Mongolia among the legendary riders of Emperor Genghis Khan

 

2009 started at Geneva, to Scandinavia, Estonia, Western Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Siberia and Mongolia. He then went to explore California.

 

2010 he returned to Mongolia, going to Lake Baikal and Siberia, switching to Martinique in the Caribbean, before his heart took him back again to Mongolia. Another visit to Geneva and again like last year December was spent in his home in California.

 

 
Can you name a single kid anywhere in the world who doesn't love Ural ?
Can you name a single kid anywhere in the world who doesn't love Ural ?

 

2011 his Ural headed back to Switzerland and France. From there he headed to Morocco, Mauritania and further into the heart of Africa to Senegal, Gamba, Mali, to Burkina Faso which is known as the world’s poorest nation ever known and recorded. December saw his Ural back in California and Lake Tahoe.

 

 
Africa - the birthplace of mankind. Hubert and his Ural at Cape Town, South Africa
Africa - the birthplace of mankind. Hubert and his Ural at Cape Town, South Africa

 

2012 he rode back to Africa. This time to Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Ghana with a brief stop to France and then returning to Africa for 3 months ride in Namibia. He headed to Spain and spent the rest of the year in France.

 

2013 started at Morocco, a return trip to USA, on to Czech Republic, to France, Namibia, South Africa and dividing his December between France and USA.

 

 
Africa truly has everything and nothing
Africa truly has everything and nothing

 

2014 his Ural still craved more of Africa. January was at South Africa, a trip to Lesotho, to France and Namibia. Sepember got him to ride into Southern India. He then went to France and USA both of which are his homes.

 

2015 started at France and he just had to ride back into Southern India for two months of sidecar motorcycle touring. He took a month break to France. And for the first time did what every motorcycle tourer wants to do – he rode into North India and toward the Himalayas. Hubert spent 5 months exploring the Himalayas and the incredible landscape and people and culture surviving since over 5000 years of Indian civilization. He returned to France and then onto his new home at California USA.

 

 
Trying to reach the Himalayas. At India.
Trying to reach the Himalayas. At India.

 

2016 brought him to France where he prepared his Ural for more adventures in the mythic and mystical land called India. He then spent 5 months riding in the equally mesmerizing landscape of New Zealand. The "Brass Monkey" is the coldest rally of New Zealand in the Maniototo area.

 

 
New Zealand, heading to a wild biker rally
New Zealand, heading to a wild biker rally

 

Hubert Kriegel held French and American nationality but truly was a citizen of the World. He was married to Lorraine with whom he shared 3 daughters Eve, Lucie and Jessica. Professionally he was an entrepreneur, Owner & manager of Music Hall, Paris and Graphic Arts firm, NYC.

 
 
The mythic, mystic and magical land of India. Recommended to be seen on a Ural.
The mythic, mystic and magical land of India. Recommended to be seen on a Ural.

 

Born and raised in Paris where he lived for 37 years. In 1983 Hubert moved to Los Angeles. 5 years later, he moved to New York city until February 16, 2005 at 6:04 am when he started his epic Ten Years on the Road! Hubert has been married 3 times and have 3 great daughters that he raised in sidecar and one grandson; they live in Paris, San Francisco, USA and on the island of Jersey, UK. Hubert was a real estate broker for 10 years, ran a night club for 7 years, was a sidecar- ist messenger for 3 years and owned a graphic arts business for 12 years. He has been traveling on 2 and 3 wheels motorcycle/sidecar around the world since 1970.

 

 
Hubert raised his delightful daughters on three wheels
Hubert raised his delightful daughters on three wheels

 

“This is the most important part of my life after my family.” - pronounce Hubert (say U-bear)

 

HUBERT MOTORCYCLE AND SIDECAR LIFE

1962 Moped - Orange Mobylette (known to be faster than the blue one!)

1970 Yamaha Trail 125CC, bought 2 in Tokyo to tour Japan with Yan

1971 Guzzi V700 with Krajka Sidecar to go around the Red Sea

1972 Suzuki les Gorges du Verdon (my scariest ride of all!)

1973 Bultaco Alpina (you might have thought that it was Steve Mc Queen, but it was only me.)

1978 BMW R60/2 with Sidecar Precision

1980 BMW R69S with Sidecar Precision

1980 Yamaha 50cc Sidecar Cross from Van Hougten

1982 Kawasaki 1000cc with Sidecar Terraplane

1983 Goldwing 1000CC/1979 with Sidecar Ural from 1977

1985 Goldwing 1100CC/1981 with Sidecar Ural from 1977

1986 Goldwing 1200CC/1983 with Sidecar Ural from 1977

1996 Softail Harley Davidson with HD Sidecar 1936/1979

1997 Jawa sidecar that i bought on eBay for my living room

1998 New Roadking Harley Davidson with HD Sidecar 1936/1979

1999 New Roadking Harley Davidson with HD Sidecar 1936/1979

2000 New Roadking Harley Davidson 88ci with HD Sidecar 1936/1979

2002 BMW R100GSPD with Sidecar Ural 1977 a monster long-range off-road!

2005 Guzzi 850 1973 from Giorgio touring Europe summer 2005

 

 
Hubert's Ural sidecar motorcycle has survived EVERYTHING since 1983
Hubert's Ural sidecar motorcycle has survived EVERYTHING since 1983

 

THE URAL SIDECAR MOTORCYCLE

§ I bought it used in 1983 the 1st week that i arrived in Los Angeles

§ Ride for 3 years as a messenger in Los Angeles

§ Hang on the ceiling in my Power Color office in New York for 12 years (as a reminder of my means of evasion)

§ Kept in my living room in New York for 3 years

§ Put together with a BMW R100GSPD as a monster "long-ride off-road" machine

§ Ride to the Arctic Circle on March 11, 2005

§ Then the ride never stopped

 

 
No fear, only adventure. Lindis Pass, New Zealand.
No fear, only adventure. Lindis Pass, New Zealand.

 

Countries travelled by Hubert Kriegel on Sidecar or Motorcycle since 1971

 

North America: USA, Canada

Asia: Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Nepal

Middle East: Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

Eurasia: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia

Europe: France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, England, The Netherlands

Central America: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama

South America: Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia

Africa: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Burkina faso, Guinea, Ghana, Namibia, South Africa

 

 
Rural Villagers have seen nothing as amazing as Hubert's URAL
Rural Villagers have seen nothing as amazing as Hubert's URAL

 

From desert, to mountain, to jungle the man says he was made to ride. Sharing the warmth along the route with all the people in the world, young and old, poor or not.

 

Hubert gets a Royal Reception in India
Hubert gets a Royal Reception in India

 
 

THE BEGINNING OF THIS UNENDING FUN

In November 2004, while living in New York, Hubert had dinner with his good friend Jean-Louis at l'Orange Bleu in Manhattan. While eating a cucumber salad, Jean-Louis was telling me "When we live in a big city like New York, on december 31 our pockets are empty because for ordinary people like us, it's a lifestyle and we spend it all !"

 

 
Heat, Cold, Ural and You.
Heat, Cold, Ural and You.

 

Then we ate a couscous and Jean-Louis asked Hubert a question he had never thought about "Now that your younger daughter Jessica is finishing her college, what are you going to do ?". As they were talking they established that if Hubert was to sell everything he had, he had enough money to travel on his sidecar for ten years.

 

By the time Hubert and Jean-Louis ate a creme brulée, it was clear to Hubert that he had 2 choices

1 - I keep working for the next 10 years and I will be poor after that !

2 - I sell everything I have, I go travel for 10 years on my sidecar and I will be poor after that !

 

It did not took long, with common sense, he took his decision while drinking his coffee.

 

 
Live, Ride, Enjoy. The Ural makes it happen.
Live, Ride, Enjoy. The Ural makes it happen.

 

“Three months later, on February 16, 2005 at 6:04 am, New York was closed, I was on my way to the Arctic Circle on the first leg of my "Ten Years on the Road".” – Hubert Kriegel

 

Hubert’s AMAZING Website: http://thetimelessride.com/index.htm

 

 
Hubert's trademark glasses and Ecuador.
Hubert's trademark glasses and Ecuador.

 

For all his life all Hubert ever wanted to do was ride. He was recognized everywhere for his trademark red reading glasses and the Ural that would not ever stop seeking new adventures in new lands. His motto and advice: “Don’t forget to take a risk today!” Hubert died on 01/24/2018 of an aortic dissection in Sacramento, CA, USA.

 

R.I.P.

 

 

Never too late to go out and ride
Never too late to go out and ride


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Reader Comments


He lived well and got to see so much.

Phil White
Ashburnham, MA
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Editor Response Book of Life, best read by being there done that.
Ujjwal Dey

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