From no motorcycle licence to the Sahara

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What do you do if you want to ride motorcycles to the Sahara desert but you’ve never ridden before? In the case of Tom Caulfield and James Whittle you book an intensive week of training, and set off for the ferry just days after passing your test.

The two adventurers, who have previously rowed across the Atlantic Ocean, had zero motorcycle experience when they started the adventure in January.

“Like most of our ideas it started in the pub,” says Tom. “We never had an interest in bikes but thought we’d give it a go. We thought about doing our CBTs over a few months, but then decide to plan a trip with a deadline to get us through it as quick as possible. We started in January and nine days later we passed both modules by the skin of our teeth and a few days later were on our way to the Sahara.”


The pair rode their new Triumph Tiger 800s through the night from London to Portsmouth, where they caught the ferry to northern Spain and the adventure really began. “The roads in northern Spain are incredible. They’re wide, windy and there’s no traffic so it was a really great introduction to biking and it gave us the confidence to go a bit faster,” said Tom.

The trip lasted just short of three weeks, with the duo experiencing some strong winds through Morocco, which they turned to Twitter for help to deal with. The aim of the trip, aside from reaching the Sahara, was to prove you don’t have to be an experienced rider to complete such a trip, and the pair certainly succeeded in that task.

Are the pair going to stay on two wheels after their Saharan adventure? “Absolutely. We’re speaking to Triumph about a potential project later this year and we’re both eyeing up a couple of Scramblers,” says Tom. “We took a Bonneville and Scrambler out for a test ride a few weeks ago and they’re amazing for getting around London. They’re like go karts compared to the Tigers.”

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Liam Marsden

By Liam Marsden

Former MCN Web Producer