Rice rides for adventure
Troy Rice, an Appalachian State University alumnus, has always
enjoyed the thrill of the open road.
In February, his passion for riding was elevated with his participation in filming of the pilot episode of “Neale Bayly Rides: Peru,”a television show on the SPEED channel.
The premise of the show features four riders on a 1,200-mile cross-country motorcycle ride across the Peruvian nation as they deal with off-road hazards and treacherous riding conditions on shoddily maintained city highways, all in an attempt to raise awareness for a South American orphanage.
Rice’s role on the show came as a last-minute addition, after one of the cast members was forced to back out.
Rice’s personal trainer, Ike Dejager of “20/20 Racing,” also worked as a trainer for the show, connecting him with the show’s creator.
Preparing for the ride in such short a period of time was a challenge in itself.
“There was a tremendous amount of cardio, weightlifting and proper dieting,” said Rice, who currently resides in Charlotte.
Riders took to the dirt bike tracks of South Carolina, where they began riding on smaller-framed bikes, before moving up to the larger BMW motorcycles, Rice said.
After training at the BMW Performance Center, riders were ready for the open roads of Peru.
The trip featured a mix of off-road riding and traversing the cluttered streets of the South American nation.
Portions of the trip had riders battling conditions 15,000 feet above sea level in the unforgiving Andes Mountains, while at other times they were contending with the blinding effects of sand storms, Rice said.
To add strain to an already demanding trip, riders were subjected to rides of eight to 12 hours in duration each day. “It was the most physically demanding amount of time I’ve ever spent on a motorcycle,” Rice said.
While viewers of the show might guess that the paved roads would prove safer travels, Rice said this wasn’t always the case.
He recalled one particular incident when he narrowly dodged a two-foot wide, three-foot deep pothole in the middle of a highway going into a large metropolitan area of 1.5 million people.
“There was a time when I hit an oil slick going into a turn, and I almost had to lay the bike down,” Rice said.
Then there were more hair-raising moments, like passing large transport trucks on two-lane mountain pass highways.
Some of these precarious moments almost took out the entire team of riders, Rice said.
“We were riding in the pitch black one night on these twisty roads; it was very late,” Rice said. “We were going down the road, and, thankfully, we had caught up with the lead truck in a left-hand turn. There was a huge drift of sand in the middle of the road, and, luckily, the truck’s lights hit it and kept us from crashing.”
Despite the near misses and grueling days of riding, Rice said there was much he took away from the trip.
“Even after being back seven months later, I’m still processing it all,” he said. “Just seeing that level of poverty… The biggest thing I noticed was they (Peruvians) didn’t seem to have much of anything, but they were so happy. The families there were so strong, and there was a lot of love.”
The show premiers on SPEED at 9 p.m. EST on June 9. Check your local cable provider for complete listings.