In 2015 Continental sponsored Rhys Lawrey became the youngest ever rider to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle, also visiting the most consecutive capital cities in the process, setting a new record of 50 in total.
With overlanding very much in his blood, Rhys is the son of Kevin Sanders at GlobeBusters, and stepson of Julia – so he’s had plenty of two wheel experience.
Before deciding to take on this mammoth challenge, Rhys had a good job in New Zealand, a girlfriend, and a potential dream move to Las Vegas to take on the role of Head Bartender in a new business venture, but the call of a once in a lifetime adventure was too strong to resist, as he began to scribble down a list of destinations he wanted to visit.
Since his return the double Guinness World Record Holder has been working with Triumph and generally enjoying life on 2-wheels, and recently wrote down his “Six Life Lessons To Ride By” based on his experiences in the hope of inspiring a new generation of adventurers.
- Lesson 1 – Feel Alive
Rhys was at a T-junction in his life when he made the risky decision to go on a solo adventure instead of taking the safer option. Whilst riding through the USA he even pulled in to Vegas to see the life he could have had, and at that moment, he knew his recent experiences far outweighed what he could have had.
- Lesson 2 – Bigger Isn’t Always Better
The stunning Carratera Austral in South America is a combination of panoramic mountain landscapes and challenging off-road conditions. At it’s very best it is pure exhilaration, but at it’s worst it could be hell. Unfortunately for Rhys, it was the latter with thick mud, landslides and fallen trees – his TKC 80 tyres doing their very best to cling to the surface as he got soaked from head to toe. The kindness of a 100 year old stranger saw him warmed up by a fire, fed and refreshed.
Rhys says; “In that hour or so I realised that in life there is nothing more crucial to our physical and mental well being than shelter, warm water, fire, chicken and chips. They are the basic essentials of life and I will never take them for granted again.”
- Lesson 3 – Random Acts Of Kindness Matter
When you’re along on the road for long periods of time, any small acts of human kindness can make a huge difference. In the Central Americas, Rhys was joined by many riders, and although they didn’t even speak the same language, they formed a bond that can only be made on two wheels, meeting their families and feeling like part of the group for that short period of time before he moved on once again.
- Lesson 4 – Bad Times Help You To Appreciate The Good Times
After spending many hours sheltering in the minimal shade offered by his bike at the Turkmenistan border, Rhys was starting to question himself, and if he was really ready for the rest of the challenge. Stuck in an arid landscape and held back by huge amounts of bureaucracy he finally made it into the country. That night he set up camp by the Door to Hell, a natural gas field which collapsed into a giant cavern many years ago. That amazing experience saw him end the day on a high, reassuring him that he was making the right decision to push ahead on his journey.
- Lesson 5 – Create Your Own Bubble
Travelling through China was a dream for Rhys. Despite the often restrictive nature of their political regime, there was none of the structures and safety bubbles of Western Europe. The variety of roads, the culture and the isolation ticked so many boxes with Rhys that he says he’s never felt so alive.
- Lesson 6 – Adventure Doesn’t Have To Be Far Away
On the New Zealand leg of his trip, a country in which he had lived for several years, Rhys finally explored some of the scenery that had been pretty much on his doorstep for a considerable portion of his life. There’s often so much of your own country waiting to be explored, and it’s a real shame to miss it. You certainly don’t need to change your life for a two week ride around the best of the UK.
Rhys admits that you don’t need to ride around the world, or break a world record to have an adventure… but it does help!
Read Rhys’s article in full at fortheride.com
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