40,000 miles and counting! Biker bids to complete global riding epic

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When Mark Waters set off on a round-the-world motorcycle trip in July 2018, the furthest he had ever toured was four days around Wales on a Kawasaki ZX-9R – 15 years previously.

Having never ridden off-road before and only ever owning sportsbikes, he snapped up a 2009 Yamaha XT660Z Ténéré and set off into the unknown just 48 hours after picking it up.

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“In 2014, I went on a round- the-world trip just backpacking and flying. Even halfway round, I knew I wanted to do it on a bike,” Mark told MCN. “I got back, worked for a year and went.

“I was clueless. I didn’t even know how the off-road tyres would handle. I’d never done green-laning and my first bit of off-roading was the Wakhan Valley in Tajikistan.”

Mark took on off-roading for the first time on the trip

Having left the UK with 16,500 miles on the dash, Mark’s Yamaha is now showing 57,000 after carrying him through much of Europe and Asia. He’s now back in the UK to earn some more money, before heading back out to Cambodia.

“People tell me I’m not going to be happy until I’ve done it all the way round,” Mark said. “I’m chomping at the bit to get back on the bike.”

Mark first headed through Europe, Russia and eventually reached Mongolia, before a gearbox failure left him stuck in the nation’s capital for two months. After shipping the bike back home that November, he set off again in May 2019.

Riding back to Mongolia in just 12 days, he then explored countries including China, Pakistan and India, before losing another month to more gearbox issues. Then it was on to Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, before the bike threw a conrod in February 2020.

Standing on the Yamaha in a rocky valley

With Covid-19 taking hold, Mark was then forced to stay in Cambodia until late December – returning to the UK just before Christmas to surprise his family.

Currently working two jobs to fill his coffers, Mark says anyone thinking about such an adventure should just go for it, adding: “If I can do it with no experience whatsoever and some common sense planning, then anyone can do it!” You can follow Mark’s adventures on Instagram at @me_motorcycle_world