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Interview: Got2Go Lea Rieck

10 Questions to Adventure Motorcyclists

15 September 2020

Lea Rieck, also known as Got2Go, rode 90.000 kilometers around the world on a Triumph Tiger 800. She recently started her Round Africa journey on a gorgeous Yamaha T7. While she was in Germany, having a break from her travels, the COVID-19 outbreak began and she could not return to Benin. Now, just like me, she is traveling through Europe.

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Please tell us a little bit about yourself!

Thanks so much, it's an honor to be featured on your website! I am now a self-employed journalist, author, and consultant and I quit my job in 2016 to ride around the world for 18 months. I only had my motorcycle license for about a year before I started this huge journey!

By the end of 2017, I returned to Munich in Germany and since then I am living between Germany and Switzerland. I am trying to find a way to travel at least 4 months a year while working the other months from home to earn money for these travels and as well maintain a more or less „normal“ life where I can be close to my friends and family. I learned that I need both. I want to see the people I love more than only once a year and I also want to be on the road for more than just the average two weeks vacation.

It's not always easy to find a balance and juggle these two life concepts. But, in my experience, the most rewarding things are never the ones you reach on a smooth road. 

What is for you the biggest difference between riding the Tiger 800 and the Yamaha T7, when it comes to traveling the world on them?

They are both super reliable bikes as far as I can judge. The T7 only had 15.000 kilometers on its clock before Corona hit the area I was traveling in. So there is still a lot of distance left to prove itself.

The biggest difference is definitely the weight. 20-30 kilos doesn't sound like much but the Yamaha Tenere is just a much more agile bike, especially when it comes to riding off-road. The Tiger 800 though, being bigger, is slightly more comfortable especially the seat. The Yamaha seat is quite narrow.

In my opinion, when traveling the world, Tenere 700 is the best motorcycle to ride on. It is reliable, not too heavy, and it has limited electronics. There is just nothing on it that you don't really need. The only additional gear you should put on are crash bars and maybe heated grips.

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If you have to choose what do you prefer, riding in freezing cold and wet countries or in extremely hot and humid countries?

When I am riding in a hot and humid country, I am always dreaming of a nice cold shower. When riding in the cold, I wish I was somewhere warmer.

No matter if it's hot or cold, I would always vote for „no rain“. It's just not very comfortable if all your gear gets wet. In hot humid countries, they will never dry again once they are wet.

Extremely hot weather is a bigger challenge for me to ride in because I always have to remind myself to keep hydrated. With all the excitement of traveling, I often forget to drink. 

After circumnavigating the world on your own, you are now traveling with a riding partner. What are the biggest differences for you between riding solo and with a partner?

My general style of traveling has not changed a lot with a travel partner. If I had to, it would not have worked out for me anyway. I don't think I am willing to do a lot of compromises when it comes to traveling. 

The biggest difference though is that I take more risks or just don't think so much about the choices I make. When you travel alone you think twice before you take a remote road or do a detour into nowhere. Being with two people, it is like having a safety leash. It is easier to pick up a bike after a fall together than alone, and if something happens there is someone with you to help or get help. 

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Traveling through West African countries probably scares a lot of people. What would you say to them based on your experiences?

I only had good experiences in West Africa and for me, it was one of the most interesting parts of the world that I have ever traveled through. Like everywhere in the world, the locals are just incredibly welcoming and hospitable. Many of these countries can be traveled through very safely, even if they don't have the best reputation. Mauritania is a wonderful place if you like traveling in remote deserts.

The political situation in some other West African countries is unfortunately not very stable. That's why I would hesitate to recommend traveling West Africa to someone who has only traveled through Europe before. Also, people who travel for the first time or those who are used to finding hotels and restaurants everywhere, should not venture into West Africa.

Traveling in West Africa can be quite demanding due to some not so good roads, the humid heat, and the complete lack of tourist infrastructure. In addition to that, you need to keep track of politics and what is going on when traveling through this region. For example, when we traveled through Guinea everything was fine, it even became one of my favorite countries. But just one week later, several people were killed in political protests, and all the roads we had taken were now closed for foreign travelers.

In my opinion, you can travel West Africa pretty safely, but you should stay well informed and not get a nervous breakdown when your plans have to change due to some political issues, safety concerns, or crimes that might have happened near you. If that is not the case, then you will enjoy it.

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What is your most valued piece of equipment that you carry with you?

Besides my Tenere, who I named „the Fox“,  and all the gear that I am wearing to ride safely, it's definitely my camera equipment. I love to take pictures and videos from the places I travel to. For me, it's the best souvenir that I can bring home. If I see a picture of a place I have been to, I know exactly what it looked like in reality, how it smelt, and how it felt. And I remember everything else that happened that day, even though it's not in the picture.

Camping or staying in guesthouses - what is your routine on long motorcycle journeys?

A mixture of both works best for me. I am what they call a good weather camping person. When it rains, I always prefer a guesthouse or hostel over camping. When I camp, I basically never pitch my tent on a camping ground that has showers or other sanitary facilities. I prefer wild camping. But that's maybe why I as well don't like to camp two weeks in a row. The longest I have ever camped was 7 days straight in the USA. And I have to admit that I love a pretty hotel every now and then too!

Do you still have big motorcycle travel dreams?

I still have the dream to circumnavigate Africa with the motorcycle when the situation for general travel has improved. Furthermore, there are so many other places in the world that I have not seen yet and so many that I want to go back to, so I guess that there will always be something left to dream about.

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You've recently started a YouTube channel Got2Go. Has the way you travel changed as you are also filming now besides photographing?

My way of traveling didn't change as much as I thought it would be. Everything only takes a bit longer now. When I set up the tripod, I now take pictures AND videos. The most time consuming is flying the drone for some nice shots from the air. My troubles come once the filming is done. All the recordings I have made, takes up so much data, and it all has to be transferred to an external drive. I still haven't found a good solution or a convenient workflow for that.

Where can we find out more about your adventures and how can we follow your journeys? 

The best insight of my trips, as well as the most detailed information about the countries I traveled through, is via my new Youtube Channel Got2Go . I try to release a new video each Thursday at 19:30 CET. Currently, I am still posting content from my journey through Africa, but after that my current trip to North Cape will follow! 

When traveling, I update my Instagram page frequently. You can also follow me on Facebook: Lea Rieck / Got2Go . For those who prefer reading, over social media, I published a book about my journey around the world. It is written in German, but by the end of September or in October it will also be released in English. You can find my book on Amazon.

 

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Such a good interview and article 👍

Todd W.  | 
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