Driving a pink tuk tuk halfway around the globe whetted my appetite for Very Long Journeys in unsensible modes of transport. Here are a smattering of some of the adventures I’ve been involved with over the past few years.
The Adventurists Mongol Derby
During my stint at The Adventurists I set up and directed the Mongol Derby, a 1000 km horse race across the Mongolian steppe. Selecting, vetting, training and co-ordinating nearly 1000 semi-wild Mongolian horses was without doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Add to that a staff of hundreds (nomadic herding families, vets, horse trainers, caterers, drivers, translators…) and 25 demanding international riders and you’ve got what could be termed a Logistical Nightmare. But we pulled it off, and since its incarnation in 2009 the Derby has become recognised as the world’s longest, toughest horserace. Even those folk at Guinness agree.
Here’s a little video of the Mongol Derby to whet your whistle.
The Adventurists Southeast Asian Rickshaw Run
Working with ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) to implement a new rickshaw event that would trundle across Southeast Asia. A new fleet of rickshaws was bought from a tiny factory in Java, Indonesia, and in October 2011 28 brave teams set off in the direction of Bangkok. Arranging the smooth(ish) passage of these ‘shaws across Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia was extremely difficult and involved mountains of paperwork, alot of cups of tea and the assistance of tens of politicians, including luminaries such as Dr Surin Pitsuwan, the Big Chief of ASEAN, and the Governor of Bangkok. Once again, we pulled it off, and this sell-out event now wobbles across Southeast Asia three times per year.
The Adventurists Ice Run
Motorbikes and extreme cold don’t generally go together, yet The Ice Run is a limb-threateningly lethal combination of the two. Take one old Russian Ural motorbike, several idiots, a large dose of Siberian cold, and hurl the whole lot at the Arctic Circle. Bam. The perfect adventure….
Setting this baby up was another seemingly impossible feat and meant a crash course in motorbikes and extreme cold. It also meant doing a Test Run in February 2011. You can read all about this in the August 2012 edition of Motorcycle Monthly.
Here’s a video of our Test Run, in February 2011
Black C90: around the Black Sea by moped
You can read all about this here.
Since 2006 I’ve been on the Royal Geographical Society’s Overland Expedition Panel, speaking at their Explore conference in London every November. I’ve also consulted a myriad adventurers on everything from visas to sponsorship, fundraising, PR, filming, routes, vehicle modifications, equipment and border crossings.
Most recently I have been working with the marvellous Andy Campbell of pushingthelimits.com, who is attempting to be the First Person Ever to circumnavigate the globe in his wheelchair. Follow Andy’s mission on Twitter at @Andy_Campbell.
If you’re setting off on an expedition or adventure and want a bit of guidance, feel free to drop me a line. I’m happy to give email advice for free. However, for those wanting longer face to face consultations I’m afraid I do charge, either in hard cash or tea at Claridges.