Monday, 29 October 2012

Mondo Sahara is go - Austin Vince is off again!

Motorcycles and adventures


As you can see Austin is shy & retiring by nature

You may or may not have heard of Austin Vince, but if you haven't and you are into motorcycles, adventures and pushing the limits - your own and your bike's - then read on, you are in for a treat.

Austin has had an interesting life to say the least and after lots of adventures, is planning a new challenge, a trip across the Sahara.  Before leaving he swung by Wemoto last week to get all the essential parts which he would need to keep his and his team's bikes going on the way, and while he was here he made a little film of Wemoto, doing what it does best, getting him all the parts which he needed.

Read on for a bit more about Austin and his past and future adventures and check out his website if you fancy going with him one day! 

More facets than hot dinners

Austin Vince is a colourful character, polymath and generally all round interesting bloke, who has had more jobs than you have watched episodes of Top Gear. He has been: a maths, a physics, a DT, an IT and a history teacher, an army officer, a cameraman, a producer, a director and a motorcycle adventurer extraordinaire.

Charlotte checking Austin's order

Once upon a pair of wheels

Not content with a life of jobs, Austin set off, Phileas Fogg stylie (but on two wheels), round the world on various major adventures.
* Mondo Enduro

His first trip took place in 1995, and he called it Mondo Enduro (not to be confused with Joe Strummer's  Mondo Bongo!). This journey covered 40,000 miles on 350cc dirt-bikes across the Caucasus, through Central Asia, Russia and Siberia, and crossed  the full length of the American and African continents.  The team members were just normal folk with no expedition experience and there was no sponsorship or funding - it was just a good old fashioned adventure in the days before mobile phones and the internet, when you really were out there on your own.

* Terra Circa

After that Austin had obviously got the bug and got involved in more adventuring and travelled from London to New York on a trip called Terra Circa as the cameraman chronicling the journey.

* Twin Shock Trailfinder & The Vince

As well as his world trips, Austin has made films and documentaries, and also runs orienteering trips in the Pyrenees where you can test your mettle, your wits, your bike and your map reading skills all in one go without having to go to quite the extreme of crossing the Urals or riding across the Sahara. Have a look at his website for further information about these.

Happy as a sandboy

A man with many parts

In typical adventurous style Austin, from his floating barge home HQ (no, a house would be too dull for Austin and his cool motorcycling banjo playing wife Lois Pryce - yes she does interesting things too), has planned another trip which is due to leave from London on November 4th - that's very soon! 

The Magnificent Seven go Mondo Sahara

The new trip is called Mondo Sahara  and, in true Austin style, it is a pretty extreme trip. It is a 4000 mile off-road ride, with the first leg being Bilbao to Atar in Mauritania.  Once the Magnificent Seven (Austin and his six intrepid chums) reach Atar they will head out into an empty quarter of the Sahara desert, the largest and driest desert on the African continent (ooer) and, avoiding the bleached bones, will attempt to do about 150 miles a day across the sand, navigating from Way Point to Way Point, like a crazy  join the dots exercise. Each GPS Way Point will be a little man made oasis, where their supplies of food, fuel and water for the next day will be buried - ready for use to get them to the next dot on the map.  The Way Point route will take them across the desert for ten days.  The food and fuel will have been buried weeks ahead and although they will be carrying about enough supplies to cover them for one further days riding if they fail to find a Way Point, there is a pretty large incentive to be good at navigation! That's how all true adventures should be - adventurous, with a touch of scary!

A date with the desert


Austin and his six buddies, Gabriel Bolton, Paul Castle, James Duveen (UK) and Joe McManus, Eric Sowle, Pablo Gustavson (USA), will be off on Sunday Nov 4th, riding to Portsmouth before embarking on the ferry, bound for Bilbao, and then on up to the desert to call on the Tuareg.

Austin & Gerald Vince filming at Wemoto
Austin will be filming the whole trip, so we can see how they got on, and what adventures they had, when the film comes out next year.

Have a little look at this if you want to get a feel for Austin and Gerald's travels to date...

Around the world with Austin Vince


Austin says:


"My mission is to encourage more people to get on a bike and get away from their comfort zone for a few months. My life was profoundly altered by my time ‘on the road’. Putting yourself ‘out there’ at the mercy of your own wits and the society you are travelling through is a healthy experience. Sadly, too many folk tell me they lack the skills or budget to take on a big trip such as this. They are wrong, it’s easy."

To Infinity and Beyond...

Feel tempted?  All you need to do to your motorcycle if you are going on a trip like this is to replace everything replaceable before you go, so that there is a good long life in every part.  You don't need any fancy equipment or loads of money, just you, your bike, a lot of guts and a great sense of adventure!
'Hit the road and I'm gone ah......'


  1. Go Austin & Co on Mondo Sahara, wishing you all safe miles and countless smiles... and thanks to you all at Wemoto for helping to make this happen

    1. Thanks Geoff, glad to be of help and with you absolutely on the good wishes to Austin & Co.