World Motorcycle Tour: Trip, Route, Ambitions and Participants

The World's First Seven-continental Global Circumnavigation by Motorcycle

A few years ago, David McGonigal and Lynn Woodworth left Australia for Chile and the start of a journey around the world that took three years and covered well over 100,000 km. It was intended to cover all continents and time zones and was sponsored by Air New Zealand, Australian Geographic, YHA Australia, CityCoast Motorcycles and BMW.

The trip and schedule: From Australia to South America via Easter Island. Riding down Chile and Argentina, Lynn and David and the bikes shipped from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego to Antarctica where they motorcycled at Argentina's Esperanza Station. After returning from Antarctica, they commenced the long ride north to the top of Alaska via Rio, Peru and the Galapagos in South America and along the Pan American Highway through Central America and Mexico to California.

From Alaska, Lynn returned to Australia while David rode across to New York and back to Vancouver via New Mexico. The next leg of the journey was shipping the bikes to Vladivostok on the eastern shore of Siberia and from there David and his new travelling companion, long time friend Geoff Sim, rode across Siberia and Mongolia to Moscow and onwards into Scandinavia. David reached the top of Norway then plunged southwards the whole length of Europe and across the Morocco and towards the Sahara. The day David arrived in Morocco he completed his long-held ambition to become the first person to ride a motorcycle on all seven continents.

Back in the UK, David shipped his BMW to New Zealand while he called back into his home in Sydney. He was reunited with the bike in Auckland and set off on the last leg of the journey - around the Pacific on a container ship to ride through the last few time zones. Fiji, Samoa, Tonga were all ridden before he took the bike off the ship in Lyttleton, NZ and headed south to Invercargill. Between the bottom of the South Island and Queenstown he completed the last formal task of the journey - he rode into the last of the world's 24 time zones. However, the Guinness Book of World Records requires world riders to visit contrapuntal points on the earths surface. David had nearly achieved that in South America and Siberia. But just north of Wellington, NZ he rode onto a farm track that was exactly on the other side of the world from David's hotel in Madrid a year before. A horse looked on with some considerable bemusement.

The participants:

Lynn Woodworth is a genetic scientist who is setting out immediately after completing a Ph.D in conservation genetics and the breeding of endangered species. She has a B.Sc with honours from Macquarie University. She will be meeting genetic researchers around the world as she goes. Lynn only obtained her motorcycle license in April, 1995 - she decided that she "didn't want to see the world over David's shoulder". She will be riding a Yamaha SRV250 which she finds both comfortable and best suited to her level of experience.

David McGonigal is perhaps Australia's most published travel writer. He is also a past President of the Australia Society of Travel Writers. After completing a B.A LL.B at Sydney University he left the legal profession in the mid 1970s to ride a Yamaha RD350 around the world for four years as a series for Revs Motorcycle News. "By the time I returned to Australia I was a travel writer/photographer, not a lawyer anymore," he recalls. The author of several books about Australia and the editor or contributor to many more, David was a travel columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald for 18 months until this trip became imminent. David will be reporting on the journey regularly for the Herald, the Age and Two Wheels magazine plus several other publications in Australia and overseas. He rides a BMW R1100RT, "a much nicer tourer than any bike I've ever ridden before." This journey will be high-tech: David and Lynn have bike-to-bike communication, they will be logging their progress by GPS satellite navigation, and will be reporting on their adventures regularly through their home page on the worldwide web ( by means of a digital video camera and Macintosh Powerbook computer.

David McGonigal

Lynn Woodworth