It’s not everyday you a meet someone whose riding around the world on his motorbike. Slyvain is 4 months into his 18 month trip around the world on a vintage Yamaha Tenere 650. He begun his expedition in France, and has so far traveled through various countries of Europe all the way to Turkey, then back through the ice and snow all the way to England.
From the UK, Sylvain flew with his bike to India, and rode up to the Himalayas of Nepal. He is now in Thailand, where he has been for the last month, exploring places based on local recommendations, having no set plan or detailed itinerary in mind, just an insatiable thirst for adventure.
Sylvain stayed as a guest of Royal Bike Tours at the boutique jungle resort – Khao Sok Paradise – which is also our clubhouse during the high season. It was a real pleasure and honour to spend a couple of days riding around Surat Thani and Phang Nga province with Sylvain, showing him my favorite back roads, restaurants and places to relax after a long day’s ride.
I was impressed by his practical, down-to-earth approach to moto-touring. His resourcefulness was clearly evident by the luggage rack and boxes, bash plate, and tool boxes he made himself, after teaching himself how to weld! Sure the welds were not perfect, and the boxes a little rough around the edges, but they were solid, waterproof and easy to mount and remove when needed. Best of all they cost only a few hundred euro to make, saving him thousands of euro which he’d rather spend on his journey around the world. Brilliant!
His can-do approach to international moto touring, and absolute minimalism in packing, along with his loosely planned itinerary, were all incredibly eye-opening and inspiring, and left you feeling like riding around the world is not as daunting a concept as you might originally conceive. All but one visa (India) he has obtained upon entry so far, and with all the appropriate paperwork in hand (valid bike licence, International Driving Permit, Carnet de Passage, Registration documents and insurance papers) have made his international border crossings relatively painless. He has deliberately eschewed expensive high-tech accessories and modifications wherever possible, for instance using a cheap waterproof sleeve slung behind his windshield as his phone holder, which doubles as his GPS navigator. He wired in his own external USB power source, added heated hand grips and bought cheap hand-guards from ebay that have held together across desert sand, jungle dirt tracks, ice and snow. Sylvain explains how his modifications and touring accessories have cost him the princely sum of about 400 euros in total. His trusty steed, the venerable Tenere 650, has been a reliable ride so far, apart from wheel damage in India and some stickers peeling off, the bike has been rock solid.
I must confess you risk catching the moto travel bug if you spend any time with this inspiring Frenchman. He’s on a mission to travel around the world on his bike. I’ve done two around the world trips before but not on my own motorcycle. There’s really no better way, as far as I’m concerned, to see the world than on two wheels, unless of course, you also own a boat. Then sailing around the world in a yacht equipped with its own motorbike might just give your the keys to unlock some of the most epic experiences possible on earth. That however is another story by another adventurer I’ve yet to meet.