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Ride Around the World Without a Film Crew

Before Long way Round there was Mondo Enduro – seven friends riding the world without support crews, GS Adventures, mobile phones or irritating producers called Russ. Mondo’s Austin Vince on keeping it simple

We spent two years planning our trip but within two months of leaving we realised we could have organised it in two weeks. Because resources like the internet and Chris Scott’s Adventure motorcycling handbook didn’t exist, we spent ages planning for things that didn’t happen, and were never going to happen. My advice is to under-prepare. I don’t mean be silly but don’t obsess, don’t try to predict what’s going to happen on every single day of the trip – that’s the point Charley and Ewan missed spectacularly.

Suzuki’s DR350 was our bike of choice. I’m really disappointed in the motorcycling community that has so blindly embraced the BMW marketing golden calf. A child can watch Long way Round and tell you they’re on the wrong bike. The phrase “less is more” has never been more relevant than it is to adventure motorcycling. If you’re going on a proper adventure, and that means somewhere that isn’t Europe, America or Australia, you’ll never wish your bike was bigger and heavier than it is, but the GS or KTM Adventure rider will wish his bike was smaller and lighter every single day.

As for luggage, a couple of us went with soft luggage but most of the group had hard luggage, all of which fell to bits eventually. The ideal combination is soft panniers and a small, lockable top box. The choice of luggage now is unbelievable. I favour homemade army surplus stuff because it’s cheap and there’s no denying how much fun it is making your own shit.

Also the specialist equipment, aluminium boxes and the like, make your bike look intimidating and scary, and I feel if you’re going to go amongst people who are conspicuously poorer than you, you’re rubbing their face in it if you’ve got £4000-worth of luggage clipped to a £12,000 bike. It’s the two-wheeled equivalent of a Hummer. A £2000 bike with £50 bags scales you back.

Any crappy road atlas will get you from one side of any country to the other, you don’t need any specialist maps at all. For Mondo we bought ONC maps, aviation maps designed by the American military that cover every square inch of the planet, the only set of maps that does.

We bought every sheet between Turkey and Magadan and it was a complete waste of time. The rest of the world’s not like England; there aren’t tangles of roads everywhere. Out there there’s usually only one road anywhere and if you get lost you just ask someone. You only need GPS if you’re crossing proper, open desert in which normal navigational isn’t possible. And then you’re not really on a round-the-word trip, you’re on a rally.

There is no ideal group size, the key thing is team spirit; how well you know each other and to what extent you share a common goal. State the team aim, have a couple of simple rules and it’ll be fantastic. There’s no denying that riding with a bunch of mates in a group with a stupid name is without doubt the most satisfying, warming, exciting and rewarding thing you’ll ever do. For more on Mondo, visit www.mondoenduro.com

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