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Meet Rhys Lawrey – World Record Holder & Scenic Member

By 22.11.2023November 24th, 2023No Comments
Low-angle photograph taken of Rhys Lawrey jumping from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere

Rhys jumping from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere

Rhys made a name for himself in the industry by becoming the youngest-ever person to circumnavigate the world on a motorbike. Since then, he’s shared his passion for the open road with people as part of his business GlobeBusters.

Rhys is also a proud member of the Scenic community, and uses Scenic for all his long tours – either solo, or as part of his business. We recently caught up with Rhys to find out more about his journey.

Can you take us back to where it all began? What made you start riding motorcycles and do you remember your first bike?

“My first-ever bike was a little Honda CB 125 to learn and whizz around on – riding to and from the bars I used to work at night. But then I was keen to move up to something bigger, so I got a Honda CB900 Hornet with a restrictor kit until I got my full license.”

“My interest in riding motorcycles came from my Dad, Kevin Sanders, who had been a lifelong rider and a riding instructor before founding GlobeBusters. When I was around 8 years old, we used to head down to the local dirt track to race around on dirt bikes. It was great fun! Starting them young, that’s what I say.”

Old photo of a young Rhys Lawrey on the back of his dad's motorbike

A young Rhys on the back of his dad’s bike, on a trip around New Zealand

You were the youngest person to circumnavigate the world by motorcycle – tell us about your journey getting into long-distance touring.

“The inspiration came from my Dad, who also holds two Guinness World Records. At that time, I was living in New Zealand (I grew up in New Zealand with my Mum and Sister). During a Skype call with Dad, knocking ideas around, we came up with the idea to become the Youngest Person to Circumnavigate the World by Motorcycle.”

“Because I knew my Dad had two World Records, I decided to pursue the Most Capital Cities record as well. Once the ideas started flowing, the whiteboard was out, and the maps adorned the wall. Before I knew it, I was on a flight to England, ready to prepare for this epic journey at such a young age.”

A young Rhys on a dirt bike with his father

Dirt biking at 8 years old with dad

Can you tell us a little bit about your family’s business, GlobeBusters?

“GlobeBusters is one of the UK’s leading overland motorcycle expedition companies, specializing in taking people on life-changing journeys. GlobeBusters doesn’t do the typical ‘follow the leader’ type of tours. Instead, it gives you your own adventure, your own overland experience, but with the expertise of riders like myself who have been there. It’s like a safety net for if/when something goes wrong.”

“It also gives you the real bonding experience of having fellow riders with whom you can share stories and a beer at the end of the day. Our expeditions range from 3-month journeys from London to Beijing or Bangkok to 5-month Trans Americas adventures, from Alaska to Argentina. We also offer shorter tours, like 2-week adventures in Thailand, Iceland, and Morocco. It’s a real mix, and our repeat business of over 80% – which speaks for itself.”

Group of motorcyclists take a photo in front of Houses of Parliament in London after completing a lap of the world.

At the finish line of the Round-the-World GlobeBusters trip

What motivated you to pursue touring as a career, and what was that journey like?

“It wasn’t easy. I had to set a world record to build my ‘name’ and credibility. I had to then work with sponsors and deal with big businesses like Triumph, GoPro, and other big names.”

“Then, I had to mature in life itself and find my feet – figuring out where I wanted to be. At one point, I took a break from it all and moved back to New Zealand to work ‘normal’ 9-5 jobs, from behind a desk, to a cash register and sales. It was all to pay the bills. But that wasn’t for me. I knew I belonged out there, sharing the experience with others and taking people around the world on a motorcycle.”

 

Rhys sitting on the bike he took around the world for the world record, now on display at the Triumph Factory Museum

The world-record bike at the Triumph Factory Museum

Have you had a favorite adventure so far?

“I could very easily say my around-the-world journey, a world-record trip becoming the youngest person to circumnavigate the world. However, if I were to choose a shorter, more attainable adventure, it would probably be Iceland.”

“A month in Iceland was mind-blowing, with its landscapes and natural wonders. It’s incredible how such a small island features natural wonders you’d find all over the world. I’d love to go back.”

Drone shot of riders on long, winding road in Iceland

Shot from Rhys’ last trip to Iceland

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned on the road?

“That’s a tricky one; there’s so much you learn on the road, and some things you only reflect on when you’re back home. But one invaluable lesson is to slow down.” 

When you’re on the road, the days blur together, and weeks pass by in a flash. When overlanding, you’re not having a weekend ride with friends or on a track. You have to slow down and fully take in where you are and the places you’re travelling through. Because as soon as you embark on the journey, time flies, and before you know it, you’re on your way back home.”

Photo of Rhys taken at the most southerly tip of Tierra del Fuego

Made it to the end of the world – Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

Is there any advice you would give to someone who is thinking about adventure riding (or just getting into bikes in general) but isn’t sure where to start?

“For those considering adventure riding, my advice is to make sure you learn slow maneuvers. Many times, I’ve seen people riding big adventure bikes who can’t even do a full-lock U-turn. What if you’re in the middle of nowhere and there is a protest or roadblocks, and need to do a quick turnaround? You don’t need to be a Dakar rider; that’s rally riding. Overland adventure riding is an entirely different beast. For newbies, get as many miles under your belt as possible.”

Photo of Rhys riding through muddle puddle under a bridge in China

Rhys riding in China

It seems like you’ve gone EVERYWHERE – but is there somewhere in the world you haven’t travelled to yet but would love to?

“Well, I’m up to 76 countries now, and there are still plenty more to visit. One place I’ve always had my eye on is India and Nepal or the Tibet area. I haven’t explored the Himalayas yet, and it’s a very special part of the world.”

Rhys in Sukhothai, Thailand.

Rhys in Sukhothai, Thailand

Why is inspiring the riders of tomorrow so important to you?

“I started the whole Inspiring Riders of Tomorrow because I noticed the adventure market was ageing, and I wanted to bring younger faces into this type of travel – especially after being the youngest person to ride around the world.” 

“I feel that I’ve done my part achieving this with the other ‘Youngest Male Riders’ to and now I’m seeing ‘Youngest Female’ riding around the world, as well as many YouTube riders making their mark. It wasn’t much of a thing back in 2014/2015, so it’s good to see.”

Photograph of Rhys sharing an apple with a camel in Morocco

Sharing a bite with a camel in Morocco

Finally, do you have a message or motto that keeps you going on both the good and challenging days on the road?

“I always remind myself that things could be worse. Just dig deep and push through, expecting the unexpected. I make sure to use my time wisely because, before you know it, time disappears.”

Rhys taking a selfie on coastal road in Iceland

Selfie in Iceland

Follow Rhys’ adventures

A big thank you to Rhys for sharing his story with us, and for being part of the Scenic family! You can follow Rhys on Instagram, with his personal account 2mororider, as well as on the GlobeBusters account.

Guido

Guido

Independent Developer of ScenicApp

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