Reader profile - David Barr a most remarkable man
Dave Barr must surely be the world’s most remarkable disabled man, if not one of the most special of all human beings.
Bar toured South Africa on a Harley Davidson 1200 Sportster earlier this year, attending daily fundraising events all over the country. His journey took him from the most Southern tip of the country to as far north as Makhado (Louis Trichardt).
During his trip he inspired South Africans and raised funds. He even had time to have a look at the pimped wheelchair that is being given away in this edition of Rolling Inspiration.
His trip was in aid of Cheshire Homes and the QuadPara Association of South Africa
Dave chose Cheshire Homes as his favoured charity as it had been started by a soldier, the VC winning Leonard Cheshire of WW2.
The 62 year old Barr was a soldier for many years, serving as a US Marine, Paratrooper in the Israeli Army and parabat.
Her later joined the South African Defence Force, but lost both legs when his Jeep hit a landline in Angola while Dave was the legendary Colonel Jan Breytenbach’s machine gunner.
Dave recovered and returned to combat duties on prosthesis’s, “Somehow, my question never was ‘Why me?’ but ‘What now?'” Dave told supporters during his South African trip.
But his accident made a continued career as an active soldier impractical. He left the army and embarked on a lifelong quest to help other disabled people come to terms with their disabilities.
Dave took on the challenge of circumnavigating the world alone on his 10 year old Harley Davidson, a motorcycle many would say is not the most suited for such a journey.
Nobody, able bodied or disabled, had ever done this before.
His solo journey took three and a half years to complete and spanned six continents and 132 000 kilometres. He pushed his way through the Sahara, Namibia, and Gobi deserts, slipped through the Andes during avalanche season and braved the unique challenges of riding across China, Russia, Australia, and Africa.
In 1994, Dave completed his adventure and was entered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
During his latest adventure, the “Southern Cross” adventure, he completed the first motorcycle journey ever between the four extreme geographical corners of the Australian continent in just 45 days. A documentary is currently in the works about this amazing trip.
He also crossed Siberia in winter, a feat that makes the hardiest Russian shiver!
Barr told South Africans he would continue his tours as long as God gives him the strength. “What I do is a privilege. It is not work as much as a duty that I do willingly.”
He's written two books about his adventures: "Riding the Ice" and "Riding the Edge" and lives in California, where he operates a motorcycle tour company.