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Local motorcycle mechanic helps friend ride around the world

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hubert (pronounced U-bare) Kriegel has traveled around the world on his BMW motorcycle, equipped with a Russian sidecar. He's been north to the Arctic Circle, south to Antarctica and to countless rivers and mountains in between.

Physically, Kriegel did most of his traveling alone, starting his adventures more than 10 years ago. But for the last couple of years, Kriegel had a virtual traveling partner from Cape Girardeau.

Kriegel met John Simmons, a Cape Girardeau BMW master mechanic, two years ago while Simmons was vacationing with some motorcycle-riding friends in Mexico. Simmons was intrigued by a motorcycle he found, which led to Kriegel.

In the last two years, Simmons and Kriegel have been communicating frequently by e-mail. Simmons would keep track of Kriegel on his Web site, www.thetimelessride.com. On a couple of occasions, Simmons said, Kriegel posted pictures of repairs made while on the road in South America, and Simmons was able to warn Kriegel that the repairs would not last. Simmons gave detailed instructions via e-mail on how to make certain fixes.

"In South America, they don't know these motorcycles," Simmons said.

On the way back from South America to New York, Kriegel paid a visit to his friend. Kriegel left Cape Girardeau on Wednesday morning.

Kriegel speaks with a thick accent. He was born and raised in Paris where he lived for 37 years before moving to Los Angeles, then New York. He started traveling full-time in 2005. He has three daughters and a grandson. He's been in the real estate business, run a nightclub and owned a graphic arts business.

He said his traveling highlights included visiting the arctic circle and Antarctica, traveling the Panama Canal on a tugboat, touring the rivers in Brazil, riding the Patagonia in Chile and visiting the Inca country in Bolivia and Peru and also the Andes mountain range.

Each of those places were touching in their own ways, Kriegel said.

He said he enjoys being in the United States again after two years in South America.

"Coming back to America, there's so much richness in our country," he said. "Mile after mile, everything is clean and neat, worked on, you have access to everything you need all around you. After two years in South America, it's something you really appreciate.

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 121

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