Around the World the Hard Way – Mondo Enduro DVD
Ready for your big adventure? Have you seen enough of Ewan and Charlie going the Long Way here or there that you want to hop in the saddle and leave your cares behind in a cloud of dust? Well, there’s no better place to start planning a big trip than in front of your TV with the Mondo Enduro DVD. This is the story of seven Brits who decided to ride around the world by the longest route in the shortest amount of time on Suzuki DR350s. This is not a Ewan and Charlie adventure by any means. No film crew, no trucks, no satellite phone or FedEx’d parts. This is seven normal guys with small bikes, a few tools, and some camping gear pitting themselves against an aggressive schedule and the great unknown. Their adventure is an inspiration for anyone planning the Big Trip, but it also points out in living color the pitfalls that are part and parcel of such an undertaking.
These blokes were exhausted after their first solid week of riding. By the second week they were missing their girlfriends and homes. And after each long day on their small, overloaded motorcycles—a day which might include fixing a flat tire or three, or repairing a broken chain—they set up camp wherever they were and cooked themselves dinner. No hotels for this lot. They had all the comfort they could pack on a DR350, and nothing more. Breakdowns, crashes and flats were common affairs. So was rain. They packed a fire extinguisher and harmonicas, but no tire irons or mosquito netting. Their luggage was a hodgepodge of individual designs, their finances were limited and their planning was sketchy. Their strengths were spirit, desire and, in some cases, sheer ignorance of what lay ahead.
Driven by a goal of logging 44,000 miles in 440 days, the riders didn’t hesitate to forge a vehicle registration, travel on expired visas and just keep picking themselves up from marginal campsites and moving on. Their route begins in England, takes them across Europe and central Asia, then across soggy Siberia to the east coast of Russia. From there, it’s over to Alaska, and south across the Atacama desert of Chile, a landscape they didn’t know existed until they met it head on. Putting the desert and the Andes behind them, they crossed the Atlantic to South Africa and headed north, eventually crossing the Red Sea into Saudi Arabia. Then it was back through Turkey and across Europe until reaching home.
The Mondo Enduro crew had no idea that Siberia was impassable in the summer, and being stuck in the muck had to be the lowest point of their journey. Their struggle in the swamps reminded me of Adrian Scott’s difficulties crossing the same area in The Road Gets Better From Here, which chronicles his solo journey from eastern Russia to Turkey. Like Scott, they found that in spite of the hardships, the world can be a friendly place for travelers, with common people helping them along their way at every turn.
Mondo Enduro is an irresistible story told with typical British pluck and humor. These guys don’t always have that famed stiff upper lip—crashes and bee stings make them more fat than stiff—but they soldier on through thick and thin. Shot by amateurs long before HD was even a twinkle in a videographer’s eye, Mondo Enduro is a triumph of seat-of-the-pants documentary.
This DVD will take armchair travelers round the world as they’ve never been taken before. For someone planning an adventure, it’s worth its weight in gold—buy it, watch it and take notes. These guys don’t hold back on showing the misery, or the joy, of seeing the world from the seat of a motorcycle. It may be the best video out there for a real-world look at long distance motorcycle travel and it’s well worth $29.95 just to experience the craziness of it all.
You can find it at www.aerostich.com.