Canadian races home against the clock amid border closings from global pandemic.


With his trip to South America cut short by the pandemic, Bradford’s Lukas Robert King talks about his race against border crossings to arrive home safely.

Bradford resident Lukas Robert King is finally home after a long journey by motorcycle from Panama City.

The 28-year-old left for South America mid-December with plans of returning home by end of April, the COVID-19 pandemic quickly changed those plans.

When the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global pandemic on March 11, King was in Mexico, already on his way home. He realized he needed to expedite his ride before borders started to close in Mexico, U.S. and Canada.

“I rode across Mexico in just over a week. Taking roads I maybe not should have been taking. (I) took them because it was faster but definitely more dangerous, but I’m still alive,” he said.

He made it to the U.S. border three days before it closed.

With nothing but a motorcycle and a bag of clothes and essentials, King had difficulty finding places to stop or recharge. Many campsites and restaurants were closed, and he spent most nights camping in the woods.

“Going through the States was really hard. It was hard physically in the sense that there was constant rain and it was really cold. Texas had already gotten tornadoes and hail. There was snow in the Midwest,” he shared.

“Normally it wouldn’t be that bad but there was nowhere to stop and actually warm up,” he explained. “No coffee places. No restaurants. It was just me, my motorcycle, the elements, and many thousands of kilometres to home.”

He said it was sad seeing so many businesses closed and boarded up.

“A lot of these communities were struggling even before COVID-19,” he said. “To see them now seems to make the underlying socio-economic problems so much more visible.”

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