Good news, fans of classic ADV film Mondo Enduro—four members of the original team are getting back together, and you can join them for a rip around Spain next year.
First, some background: In case you’ve never heard of Mondo Enduro, it was an under-funded and over-ambitious trip around the world in 1995-1996 by a band of whacky Brits, aboard Suzuki DR350s. Unlike most adventure riders back then, the members filmed the trip, and managed to get it on TV, playing a big start in the boom of modern-day adventure motorcycling (there’s also a smashing book about the trip as well, a much different perspective if you’ve already seen the film).
Mondo team members Austin and Gerald Vince returned as part of a new team for a sequel film (Terra Circa, which made it to TV as a mini-series), but the rest of the original Mondo crew has dispersed into normal life. Austin, and to a lesser extent Gerald, have remained very active in the UK’s adventure riding community, but you don’t hear about the others.
But now, Austin says that a few of the original team members (Austin, Gerald, and Clive Greenhough and Louis Bloom) are getting together for a reunion ride in Spain, and they are leaving room open on the roster for three other riders. It runs the first week of June in 2020.
As Austin runs pay-to-play tours in the Pyrenees all the time, you can expect that if you sign up for this you ought to have a good time (expect a fee to come on this tour, of course). He says he can arrange a bike rental, if needed, and that interested parties should contact him for more details (find him here on Facebook).
Intrigued, I sent him some questions and got this:
Kawazacky: Next summer, you’re headed to the Pyrenees with the “finishing lineup” of the original Mondo Enduro squad. Is this something you’ve talked about doing before? Why now?
Austin Vince: After Mondo Enduro we all got married and had kids and acquired mortgages. All the things that kill spontaneous projects. It has taken about 25 years for all those things to get addressed and become less of an impediment. Now, we can all actually get ‘out’ without feeling reckless. Add to that, 3 years ago I started up my ‘Mini Mondo’ projects in the Pyrenees and I suddenly found I was inculcating the next generation into ‘Living La Vida Mondo’ – you know, small bikes, low fi, rough-camping, no tents, no support trucks etc. Suddenly, the time was perfect to get the old gang together and maybe take a few newbies with us …
Kawazacky: I presume this is going to be a more relaxed, less “by your wits” trip than the original Mondo journey?
AV: This trip is only a WEEK! It isn’t around the world but the vibe will be the same as we had back in 96′. We will be able to trade on the fact that we (and me in particular) are super-comfortable with long distance off-pavement exped biking. We’ve got it down; the kit list, the routine, the attitude (which is crucial) and the routes.
Kawazacky: For anyone who joins up on this journey, what can they expect? What sort of terrain, accommodations (camping? hotels? jail?). What sights will they see?
AV: It’s a week long trip across the farm tracks and shepherd’s trails of the Catalan Pyrenees. The routes we ride are hundreds of years old and are now, since the hilltop farms have been abandoned, almost untouched by humans. The Pyrenees are the great undiscovered European wilderness. Normal people, even the locals out there, are not aware of the scale of the countryside that sits on their doorstep, accessible only by foot, mountain-bike, dirt-bike or helicopter. We will do 100 miles a day, 99% off-pavement, washing in rivers and streams, coming down out of the mountains just once a day to garner gasoline and food, then, it’s back into the wilds to find a rough camp-spot. We cook on open fires every night and live like kings. A duty rosta means that everyone does every task at least once. We sleep cowboy style, around the fire but set up tarps between the trees and the bikes in case it rains. 100% outdoor living, fabulous food and unlike Long Way Round, no support crew because WE are the support crew. We look after each other. The 5th night we reach a hotel and stay there that night.
Kawazacky: I expect you’ll be on your trusty Hondas this time, as the Suzukis have all been stolen or sold?
AV: All The Mondo Enduro and four of the Terra Circa bikes were stolen in London upon our return. Only one has survived, the bike known as H6 owned by Clive Greenhough. Nowadays, we favour the natural successor of the DR350, the Honda CRF250L. Rock solid, brilliant off-road on the gnarly mountain trails and delivering 85 mpg with ease.
Kawazacky: Any chance you’ll be filming this trip?
AV: We shall see, there might be a few moments!!!!!
Kawazacky: You seem to be doing most of your adventuring in Spain these days. What’s the draw?
AV: Easy to answer this:
a) Generally excellent weather and in the summer, predictable weather.
b) Unprecedented access to a network of about 100,000 miles of dirt tracks and trails, almost all of which have no other users.
c) Tons of countryside for wild-camping, hardly any fences, benign land-owners who have none of the Anglo-Saxon sensation of ‘trespass’ but civilization when you need it. Like the USA, Spain is wild, but never adventurous (the cops are good guys not criminals) so you can have your outdoor cake and eat it.
UPDATE: Since writing this, Austin says he’s filled all the slots on the team. Wonder who the lucky buggers are, who get to ride along with this unit?