Biking tips

Epic RTW journey sees couple set Guinness world record


An Anglo German couple have entered the Guinness book of records after travelling through 39 countries on five continents in 589 days. Vloggers Ollie Gamblin and Lavi Scholl racked up 46,705 miles on their Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT and enter the famed book as the youngest pairing to circumnavigate the world on a motorcycle two-up. Their average age at the time of completion was 33 years and 247 days, establishing a new record.

Ollie, from Northampton, did the riding with Lavi, from Hanover in Germany, riding pillion. They set off from London’s famous Ace Café in April 2022, heading into France before moving south through Spain. The pair then headed into Morocco, riding down the west coast of Africa through Mauritania and on to Senegal, where the bike was shipped over to Brazil for the South American leg.

Arriving in Brazil, the intrepid duo headed south to the tip of Argentina and Ushuaia, the world’s most southern city. Going back up the west coast, the trip (which was all documented on their YouTube channel) went through Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Columbia. The bike was then airfreighted to Panama and ridden into the USA. While in America, Lavi and Ollie tied the knot in Las Vegas before riding all the way to Canada, from where another flight to South Korea saw the journey take in Asia.

A boat trip to Vladivostok in Russia saw the homeward leg head overland back to Europe, taking in Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, crossing the Caspian Sea into Azerbaijan and ticking off Georgia and Turkey, where they crossed the Bosphorus river back into Europe. Nine European countries were chalked off, with Belgium being 39th and final unique nation crossed. A second ride through France preceded the return to the UK, 20 months after they set off.

Lavi explained how the trip came about. She said: The idea for a Guinness World Record came after a friend of ours attempted to become the Youngest Male to Circumnavigate the Globe by Motorcycle, an already established record. We sent an email asking if we could create a team record under the same criteria. They accepted it under the title Youngest Pair to Circumnavigate the Globe by Motorcycle (Riding Pillion).




“We had the freedom to plan our own route, as long as Guinness’ circumnavigation boxes were ticked. So the route was mostly planned using non-carnet countries and countries with easier visas.

“But, honestly, we didn’t really think we would make it all the way around the world when we started. The aim was just to get as far as possible but we always imagined there would be something to stop us, a visa or shipping issue, something like that. Our mindset was just, as long as we can continue we will, and that just so happened to be all the way until the end.”

Ollie added: We saw a lot of places, a lot of people, and had a lot of experiences. If I had to pick one country that stood out, Mongolia really surprised us. The landscapes are vast and incredible and there are herds of animals just running around everywhere. It was absolutely beautiful. Another highlight was seeing wild orca hunt for penguins on the remote Argentinian coast. It was like a scene out of a documentary right in front of our eyes.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though, with some logistical issues and a few small crashes along the way, as Ollie explained: “We had to wait in Rio de Janeiro for eight weeks because the bike was lost for a while after being shipped from Senegal. And we certainly toppled off many times! I didn’t have a great deal of riding experience before we set off, especially on big bikes, so it was a real learning curve and a pretty steep one, especially two-up with all of our luggage. We also had a few hairy weather situations in places like the high altitude mountains of the Andes where the passes took us up to nearly 5000 metres. 

“But, throughout all of it, the V-Strom was absolutely solid. Its reliability was its main virtue. Considering the terrain it tackled, how long it went between services, it was pretty much unbreakable. Over nearly 47,000 miles we only had minor issues with some bearings finally giving up in hostile conditions and the rear shock took a bit of abuse and needed replacing. But I think that’s absolutely incredible given everything it went through.”

You can find out more about Lavi and Ollie’s trip through their YouTube channel. They’ll also be at the Adventure Bike Rider Festival at Ragley Hall on 28-30 June, where you’ll be able to hear about their journey first hand.

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