Lyndon Poskitt is in the midst of the trip of a lifetime. In ’13 he finished Dakar and just three years on he’s spent 27 months travelling. A good bike racer and mechanic, the englishman has filmed every step of the way with UK based parts company, Adventure Spec.
Now 80,000 miles down with at least three full continents and another Dakar Rally to go, we hijacked Lyndon’s ride to the airport in Toronto to find out more about the excitable Englishman’s journey.
B: Thanks for letting us hijack your car trip. Let’s start right at the beginning. How did you arrive at the decision to build your own bike and ride around the world?
LP: I’d been racing for years and years. I raced in seven different disciplines of motorcycles. I was training for RedBull Romaniacs, running a half marathon, when I had an accident and ended up in Hospital. I missed the race and while I was sat in the hospital bed staring at the walls, I realised that all the stuff that I had, loads of bikes and cars and things like that, wasn’t any good if I wasn’t here and I very nearly wasn’t. I decided to sell it all.
I wanted to travel the world and I really loved racing and didn’t want to stop. I thought it was a cool idea and would make a good story. There wasn’t anyone I knew of that’d done it.
B: How hard was it to make the decision, to sit there and say “I’m gonna give up everything I’ve spent 17 years of my life working on and ride a bike around.”?
LP: People always ask me what the hardest part of my trip has been and it was definitely making the decision to go and do it because I was set in my ways. You think that working life is normal and it’s really hard to make that change. Once the decision was made, it became easy after that.
B: How did your family and friends react to the decision?
LP: I think a lot of my friends were pretty envious, they thought it was a really great thing. I think everybody expected it to be a year out or something like that. My parents were a bit shocked, my dad said “It doesn’t surprise me at all”. They were more worried about me leaving work and a good pension and job than anything else.
B: Did you have a plan? Where did you want to head first?
LP: I wanted to ride to Magadan and I wanted to do it the hard way, that meant as much off-road as possible. I spent a bit of time researching tracks and got a route sorted out. I’d wanted to go to Magadan ever since seeing Long Way Round, ya know. I loved all the challenges they had on the way.
B: What are the best memories you have of that first leg?
LP: Probably crossing the Old Summer Road (Road of Bones). The bit that Ewan and Charley struggled to get through because of the water. I rode with another guy called Lukas, we were the first ones through there in about three years or something. It was a massive achievement. I remember draining water out of engines, working through challenges every day and getting stuck in a lot of mud.
B: Were there any points where you thought “Wow, this is a really dumb thing to be doing.”?
LP: No. It was totally mega!
B: Having been there, can you see why Charley and Ewan struggled?
LP: Yes, totally. You had to be pretty mental to get through some of it. Erm, really head strong, a good rider and someone riding with you who was confident as well. We had a bike flood that then wouldn’t start. It pulled dirty water through the engine and the piston rings were knackered. It was a really bad moment, but we managed to get it going. You can see if you’re on a big heavy bike some of that stuff would’ve been really hard to get through.
I would’ve stopped and had a cup of tea like Ewan as well.
B: Would you have done it on your own?
LP: I get asked that a lot. I would’ve done it on my own. It would have been way scarier. Like Lukas was the one who had the problem with his bike. If that’d been me and I was on my own, it would’ve been a really bad situation. We needed to use my bike to start his by towing it. If you couldn’t do that, it’d be bad.
I think it was a good thing to do it like that, with two of us. I did the Simpson Desert crossing I didn’t have anyone to go with, so you either don’t do it or you do it on your own.
B: I imagine there were quite long periods without food so what did you do?
LP: Despite all the problems we were managing to do about 200km a day so progress was good. There is only one town on the road, Tomtor, in the middle where we able to get some supplies but there aren’t any restaurants or anything. You can buy cheese, bread, past and stuff like that so we cooked and ate on simple food for a few days.
B: What was the temperature like?
LP: When we were there it was about 15-20ºC and then at night it was just sub-zero. I’ve seen some video of people going through when it’s been REALLY cold, -20 or something so we had it good.
B: From there you went to?
LP: I shipped to Korea, Japan and South East Asia.
B: What was that like?
LP: Korea was limited because I didn’t have great info on tracks. I did some in the north (of South Korea). Japan I spent lots of time in. There are loads of lovely people in Japan so I had a really great time. When you get into South East Asia, like Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, it’s amazing off-road riding, there is so much of it that you don’t need to go on a sealed surface anywhere.
B: What was the best thing about South East Asia?
LP: Probably the food. Seriously, it was 50 pence for the most amazing meal ever, so I was never worried about it. There is street food on every single corner, you just stop and eat when you’re hungry. You never have to find a restaurant or anything.
B: You crossed the Simpson Desert on your own, how did that work?
LP: It’s pretty far, 550km+ unsupported. There is nothing along the way and it’s pretty much rolling sand dunes all the way across. I loaded the bike up with about 60 litres of fuel. Standard the bike has 32 so I added a jerry can and a fuel bag. I put 12 litres of water on board too, so it was a lot of weight.
B: What was the crossing like?
LP: From a racers perspective it was pretty easy. The biggest problem is that you’re out there on your own but it’s a well ridden route so there is a track. I wouldn’t say it’s a safe thing to do, especially if you’re not comfortable on your own. You only need a small thing to go wrong, to have an accident and its suddenly a really remote place. The time of year I did it there were a few 4x4s out there. I saw two on each day.
I also did it at a good time of year, the temperature was perfect. In the day it was about 30ºC. When I crossed back through Aus I did it in the middle of summer and it was horrendous, in the high 40’s the whole time.
B: And then New Zealand…
LP: I did about 15,000km around NZ. I did about every track I could find, most of it off-road, other than linking tracks together. There is so much; fast twin track, single track, mountain rocky climbs, dry river beds, it’s just amazing. The South Island has definitely been the highlight of my trip.
B: And then you arrived in North America?
LP: Yup, I went down to Mexico and did Senora Rally. Then I rode all the way up to the Arctic Circle and Prudhoe Bay. I crossed the Arctic circle twice and that brings us to now.
B: What is the most memorable part or enjoyable track you’ve ridden?
LP: Wow, there are so many good places to ride, like in New Zealand. Old Summer Road is really memorable for me because it was a challenge, there are a lot of river crossings and it was pretty remote. It’s so unique too, not many people do it. The Simpson was a great ride too.
B: What’s the worst crash you’ve had along the way?
LP: In New Zealand. I hit a drainage culvert. I thought it was just a puddle and I wheelied it. However, the back wheel dropped right in. It then rebounded so fast I went straight over the handlebars and the bike cartwheeled down the road. The bike was a bit hammered, the bars were bent and all the navigation stuff was damaged. I was so lucky; I was just bruised. I landed on knees and my hands. It was a massive crash and I was on my own, in the middle of nowhere.
B: The worst breakdown?
LP: The worst breakdown was probably the one that took me the longest to fix and that was when my stator failed. I was in Laos, it took about three weeks for the parts to come. To get them to a remote place was really difficult.
Fortunately, there are KTM dealers all over the world, so I organise stuff from a UK dealer and pay for it to be DHL’d (couriered) to the nearest place where I am. Then I had to ride to the depot. I managed to borrow a scooter. I got one from KTM Thailand first but it was the wrong part so I had to order a new one.
B: What’s the worst thing you’ve eaten?
LP: Scorpion. Or maybe one of those fermented eggs. I don’t know what they’re called but they’re pretty gross. That was not fun at all. I only managed about a quarter of one and then I saw the shape of it inside and I couldn’t eat it. It’s all black and furry. How do people like eating that stuff?
B: I don’t know if they do it just to mess with foreigners… Where has been the most scenic place to ride?
LP: Tajikistan on the border of Afghanistan. The mountains were just incredible. I was riding at 4000m and the mountains around are at 7-8000m. Big snow crevices and stuff, it’s really awesome to see.
B: If someone wants to do a trip with two months instead of two years, where would you send them?
LP: I spent six weeks in New Zealand and it was pretty special. I think a trip to New Zealand. The riding was really good, it’s a great place to go adventure riding. The big thing with New Zealand is that everything is super close so within a day you can ride to somewhere you wanna be. Whereas other places, like Australia; I wanted to get to Perth from Brisbane in the summer across the middle and it took me eight days to get there. Eight hot, hard days.
B: Do you carry any kind of Spot Device?
LP: Yeah, I carry a DeLorme InReach and I also carry a SAT Phone. I figured that I’m travelling on my own and if one of those broke I’d rather have a backup. I appreciate that travelling on your own is a pretty dangerous thing to do and a lot of people wouldn’t do it, but if no-one will come with you, it’ll never happen.
B: What are the benefits of travelling alone?
LP: You definitely communicate better and more with the locals. When you’re with someone else you tend to talk to them more and that flips when you travel alone. You’re much more approachable alone, especially when you’re on a bike and wearing clothes that in most of these places looks like a space suit. I always take my helmet off when I stop.
B: With a background in off-road racing, what kit did you choose?
LP: Mostly I wear adventure styled kit. So I use Sidi Adventure boots, which are middle of the road in terms of support. You still wanna be able to walk around towns and things like that. You wanna be comfortable because you’re on the bike a lot. I think the clothing needs to be comfortable, light and able withstand almost every condition.
The gear that I wear, the KLIM Overland suit, it’s a bit hot at 48 degrees, but it’s also keeps fully dry when it rains, so I don’t have to carry loads of kit then. I also use the Shoei Hornet ADV.
B: What tools do you carry?
LP: I carry a toolkit that weighs less than 2kg’s with everything in. I carry a load of electrical parts, wheel bearings, all kinds of bits and pieces such stators and so on. It takes up most of one of my panniers, with tubes and all the other bits.
B: What clothes do you keep?
LP: Four pairs of socks, four boxer shorts, three tee-shirts, a pair of shorts and a pair of jeans.
B: Any cooking/camping things?
LP: My other pannier is full of that stuff, my tent, air mattress and cooking stove. I use a Big Agnus Copper Spur UL2 tent because it’s super light and fits my gear in.
B: What are the best and worst bits of travelling the world on your bike?
LP: The best part is being out of that daily grind. You cantake every day as it comes, I try not to make too much of a solid plan. The worst part is when it gets difficult and you’re stuck. Maybe your bike is broken and your visa is running out so then you have to sort extensions and find parts. That can be frustrating and a little difficult to deal with.
B: Finally, if you were going to give people who aren’t travelling some advice, what would it be?
LP: Get out there and do it. You’ve got to use caution, there are a lot of different levels of difficulty to expose yourself to. Like, I did Dakar so I’ve done a lot of serious travelling, so make sure you’re prepared for what you’re planning. Don’t listen too much to other people either. They’ll tell you it’s dangerous and you shouldn’t do this or do that but I can’t tell you how few dangerous situations I’ve been in. It’s awesome, the people are great and want to help you. If you’re nice to everyone else, they’ll be nice to you.
There are some amazing places to go and look at. I’ve met a lot of people who think they’ve got everything but the one thing they don’t have is culture. It’s so narrow minded to stay at home and not get out to see the world because it’s full of fantastic people.
To follow Lyndon’s trip click here.
To learn more about his incredible bike click here.