You might think you’ve had it hard after a long day in the saddle riding to a far-off rally. Or perhaps you’re feeling heroic after doing a Euro rally. Think again, because this couple have ridden their scooter from Italy to Australia and are currently riding it home again…
Italian, Paolo and his partner Lindsay live in Vancouver, Canada but it’s not often they’re around to see their milkman. For the past few years they’ve travelled by 125cc LML Star around the world and they’re still on the road. Currently they’re in Kazakhstan.
They first left Paolo’s home country and rode east through to Asia, then down to Australia. The scooter was then shipped back to Vancouver. After a few months they rode through Mexico and Central America to Panama and back.
It wasn’t long before they were off again though, they shipped their trusty LML over to Dubai and spent a couple of months in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. They’re currently planning their route to Central Asia before riding the scooter back to its home in Italy.
We’ll try to keep you up to date with their trip as and when they have a good enough connection to send us some photos but for now here’s some information about the couple and their travels…
Firstly can you introduce yourselves? We are Lindsay and Paolo, a Canadian-Italian couple intermittently travelling the world by scooter. Currently in Tajikistan, six months into our third journey, we are aiming to get back to Italy late in October.
What kind of scooter are you riding? We are driving an LML 125cc 4-stroke scooter, a surprisingly reliable vehicle that, up to now, brought us in some extremely interesting parts of the world without any problems.
Can you tell about the previous two journeys? In September 2012 we left Paolo’s hometown of Budoia in the north east of Italy. In 14 months we drove 40,500km taking us through Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor, and finishing the trip in Melbourne, Australia at the home of Betty, Lindsay’s grandmother.
Where did you go next? We then decided to ship the scooter to Vancouver where we live. We stayed and worked for a number of months, both rebalancing our bank account and resetting our travel emotions. We then aimed our sights on Mexico and Central America. We ended up doing 23,000 km in eight months, going down to Panama and back up again. When back in Vancouver we stayed for about one year and a half. During this time Paolo was able to transform part of this journey into a book published in Italian by Alpine Studio called Inseguendo lei ombre de colibri
And now this third journey? Yes we want to take the scooter back to its home in Italy. We haven’t been back since 2012 and thought we should return by road. We decided to ship the bike to Dubai. We went down to Oman and spent two months. It turned out to be a fantastic experience. The desert, mountain, and coastal scenery, interesting history, and never ending kindness and hospitality of Omanis was hugely memorable.
Any issues along the way? Then the idea was to take a ferry to Bandar Abbas in Iran and head up to Central Asia. But diplomatic relations with Iran and Canada has changed since our first trip and Lindsay was not able to get a visa for independant travel. We ended up deciding to fly the scooter to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan. It seemed to be the best choice for the climate at the time, and its visa free travel for convinence. It ended up being a great way for us to get up to Central Asia, besides the massive hole it put in our travel budget!
From Bishkek after obtaining the Uzbek visa and waiting for the improvement of the weather due to the delay of springtime weather, we jumped into the Central Asian part of this third journey.
Why did you choose an a LML 125? It all started with the idea of traveling with independence, setting your timetable, deciding your stops for a lunch or for a picture. The bicycle, in the past, looked like a perfect solution. But after Paolo’s miserable attempt, something more than the simple strength of the legs was necessary.
Powerful enough? The LML seemed a perfect improvement, not too fast to force you to plan the road carefully. The non powerful engine makes it so we have to stop frequently, and puts limitations on how many km’s can be covered in a day. We end up staying in places sometimes that you would otherwise skip, and often end up having interesting and memorable encounters, glimpses into the local culture that often end up being some of our most favorite memories. The old Vespa design also proves to be a magnet for people and an instrument to start conversation at all latitudes.
Any negative aspect? Sometimes on some steep mountains of Indonesia or Guatemala we would have loved to have a ‘real’ engine under our bums. Lindsay has had to walk a few hundred meters here or there, and on two occasions even Paolo had to walk the bike for 50 meters. So sometimes having more power could be beneficial. Another sore spot could be the off-road portions of certain roads we have come across. We don’t really go looking for them, but when we have been in certain areas, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica for example, and in those cases the small wheels and city orientated design did not help.
Any future projects? Well we need to finish this one first! We hope to be back in Italy in the late fall time. After that we will see. Ideas are already planted in our minds but we don’t want to jinx them. Still having the Pamir’s ahead of us in the coming weeks is daunting enough. We will be more than happy to let you know how it goes!