Mondo Enduro was there from the beginning, for want of alternative creations.
“So we came up with the name. Mondo Enduro – Mondo, the world, Enduro because it ended in ‘o’, it was onomatopoeic. I know for a fact none of us knew what an enduro was but it sounded dirt bikey, so it sounded sensible.
“At home, I have all the other names we brainstormed. The only other real contender we had was Global Getaway... I don’t know who’s idea it was that the project would have a name – I think it was mine – but we figured if it had a name we could trick people into thinking it wasn’t a holiday and it was something bigger than that, a project or a phenomenon. Huge irony being it turned into just that, simply a case of lads enjoying themselves.”
So the name was there from the start, but the Mondo way as we recognise today wasn’t so readily planned. Rather arrived at, after a time. And for those of us rather intimidated by the notion of RTW travel, Vince’s recollections of the start will bring us some cheer.
“I’ll ever forget the first three days, going across France. We were going to a wedding of my mate in Nice. He arranged his wedding to coincide with our ride, and I was his best man. So we set off and I had no idea just how big France was. We’d previously crossed it on the motorways, on a sportsbike – we’d ridden from Munich to England in one day, 650 miles at 120mph! On these 350s, with seven us... Well actually we couldn’t get the two miles across London from Mill Hill to Brent Cross as a group, the guys were unbelievably timid in the traffic. Truth was we’d not done a single preparatory ride and we couldn’t ride as a bunch. As well, everything was falling off, luggage burning, no one knew where anything was, we had group equipment but no one knew who had what – it was a total farce. It took us an hour just to get to Hammersmith, it was unbearable.
“Getting through France took forever. The guys left their money belts on the cross-channel ferry (we were late for the ferry), it was chaos. I assumed we’d be rough camping – I’d done it in the Army and was doing lots of it with the school trips – but everyone wanted to stay in campsites. We were supposed to be self-catering but the saucepans we had could barely cook enough for two people. We didn’t have enough food – it went on and on and on. Totally rubbish! By the time we got to Northern Italy we were all totally exhausted.”
Travel changes us, and most certainly it changed the Mondo team. Certain things might have been in place in the beginning – and we can probably include the character of Austin Vince in that, he’s the Vince we know today from the very beginning – but other Mondo elements came with time.
“With Mondo Enduro, because it was long enough, everything changed; all the tents went, by the finish all had gone, there were just tarps, everyone was in full leathers, open face helmets, wearing army boots with jeans on the outside, and we ended up with a look. All the hard luggage had also gone. When we started only two of the seven bikes had soft luggage, everyone else had Givi panniers. So it evolved enormously. Like Chas Penty who started with a full face Shoei helmet – he ditched it in America and from a charity shop bought a 1970s gold glitter helmet, it looked so much better. We started with waterproof clothes, we finished with ponchos. With Terra Circa, five years later, we started, style wise, where Mondo Enduro left off – six of us, six ponchos, six tarps, everyone in full leathers.”