Round-the-world motorcyclist rides into council contest

Tom McInally with his battle bike
Tom McInally with his battle bike
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HE used it to travel around the world. Now it’s proving handy for getting around the ward.

Former police inspector and now council candidate Tom McInally clocked up 20,000 miles on his motorbike circling the globe “the long way round”, from Europe through Siberia to Japan and on to the United States.

Now standing for Labour in the Corstorphine/Murrayfield ward, Mr McInally, 52, has made the BMW R1200 GS Adventure his campaign battle bike.

“It’s in surprisingly good nick considering it’s been over the non-roads of Siberia,” he said.

“I couldn’t always get what I needed for repairs on the trip and at one stage it was held together with cable ties, but once I got to California and $1000 later it was running to British spec again.”

He said the bike gave him a “unique selling point” for his campaign as he canvasses in Corstorphine and Murrayfield.

“I used it as a bit of a joke to start with, but it’s quite handy and it is parkable in lots of places. It’s got the big panniers and I’ve got my posters on it.”

A keen motorcyclist since the age of 17, Mr McInally embarked on his six-month round-the-world adventure after retiring from the police in 2009, having served in the Capital.

He bought the BMW for the trip and chose to follow the same route which Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman completed for a documentary TV series.

After flying back to London, he went “back” to Ireland to finish the challenge. “People said no-one ever does Ireland west to east, so I went and did that too.”

The trip raised £27,000 for Capability Scotland.

Mr McInally, who lives in Clermiston, is also a long- distance cyclist and pedalled his way from Edinburgh to Paris last September.

He says his enthusiasm for two-wheeled transport gives him first-hand experience of one of the problems he would like to help tackle if elected to the council – the state of the city’s roads.

“The potholes are absolutely horrendous,” he said. “The problem has just not been given the attention it needs. It’s a personal safety issue.”

Mr McInally believes his police background could also be put to good use at the council.

“I have a passion for community safety and I’m keen to do something in that area and I have a background in crime prevention.”

He insists that despite his “action man” ventures he would not be bored by the day-to-day work of a councillor.

“I’m now beginning to settle down,” he said. “That was my year out, as it were. I just feel it would be a big waste not to continue using the skills and experience I’ve got.”

Tomorrow the deputy Scottish Labour leader, Glasgow MP Anas Sarwar will join Mr McInally on a campaigning session, which will include a visit to local business, the Philip Politi hair salon, in St John’s Road, Corstorphine.

The salon was one of the charity sponsors for Mr McInally’s round-the-world trip.