THE YOUNGEST TO TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD? JACK GROVES
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)|March - April 2021
In the age of electronics, hyper-communications, and convenience, it’s untrue that the world’s youth have lost the taste for adventure. There will always be an element within the human spirit that demands and grows from new life experiences—an instinct as old as Mankind. And you don’t have to look far to find it.
Carl Parker

We had the pleasure of interviewing 23-year-old Jack Groves (aka BritOnaBike), whose attempt to set the record for the youngest person to ride around the world was brought to an abrupt pause due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

ADV You set out to break the world record for the youngest person to ride around the world by motorcycle. Tell us about the record. Who currently holds it?

JACK GROVES: When I was first scoping out the idea, I came across a Motorcycle Consumer News article in August 2017 about a British lad who had just broken the Guinness World Record. His name was Kane Avellano, and he completed the journey a day before his 24th birthday. I remember doing the math to work out whether his record was beatable and realized that if I left around my 22nd birthday in late June 2019, and returned before June 2020, I’d smash the record by over a year. That was the working plan until I heard of another Brit, Henry Crew, who set off in 2018 and returned in April 2019 to beat Kane by just under a month. This meant that I had to make it back a month before my 24th birthday in June 2021 to have a shot. Nearly eight months of enforced immobility in Peru have undoubtedly made things a lot more interesting.

ADV What’s your route, and how did you decide on it? How much of it have you done and what’s left?

JG: My route began and ends in Hertfordshire, just outside London. Due to my extreme inexperience and the many unknowns, I was keen to avoid any kind of organized send-off event. As such, I left on a rainy morning while the rest of my family were on holiday. Given that I then had the biggest crash of the trip that same day, my decision proved wise. After patching myself and the bike up, I ferried to France to finally kick things off. Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, and Greece followed as I made my way to Istanbul along the Bosporus. I crossed northern Turkey along the Black Sea coast to Georgia before dropping into Azerbaijan and catching a rusty Soviet freighter across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan. A month in the deserts and mountains of the “Stans” later, I found myself crossing China’s far western border into the infamous Xinjiang province. It took another month to traverse this vast country to Laos, across the high-altitude plains of Tibet and the Yunnan province’s forested gorges. From there, I dropped into Thailand, then Malaysia, before flying to Perth, Australia.

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