The “Mini Mondo” is a unique event spawned from Austen Vince’s passion for adventure motorcycling and his honeymoon. It takes place over a week, three times a year, and is a guided tour of mountain trails in the Catalonian Pyrenees. I went with Doris and Lars.
Mainly off road, we forded streams, bounced up rocky hills, descended steep muddy gullies and took sharp hairpins both up and down. There were more than a few “offs”, but nonetheless men and machines returned to base intact, more or less.
Unlike so many companies before us, we gathered for pleasure, not work or war; the pleasure of wrangling tough tracks, picking each other up from the dirt, the craic and wild camping in mountain pastures and abandoned farmsteads.
It was an immensely enjoyable window upon low-fi adventure motorcycling and rapid team building.
That the same trail wasn’t ridden twice and wild camping sites, petrol stations and cafes turned up at the right time, was down to the incredible local knowledge Austen’s built up over 17 years and countless miles. The Bacchanalian image of him bouncing down a rocky track in trademark overalls, bags bulging with baguettes, will endure.
Nowadays there are all too few opportunities to commune with Nature, and play with bikes, fire and kindred spirits.
And though it’s great to be home, Doris and I are already talking about the next trip.