On wheels



Gobi 1Age:      47

Career:     Michael Matheson

Motorcycle journalist

Producer at Phantom 2 Media        www.phantom2.com.au

Experience level (for long distance driving)

I’ve lost count of the number of days in which I’ve covered 800km or more. Highlights of longer expeditions include Peking-Paris, The Nullarbor, the east coast of Australia from south to north, crossing from west to east through the centre, numerous other outback adventures and a two-week APC Rally. I’ve also covered many miles in Europe and the US. My experience has been in cars and on motorcycles.

Why do you enjoy long distance driving?

Long-distance driving is the only way you can go to distant places while experiencing true adventure along the way. Invariably, it’s the events that happen on the road that shape your memories, not the destination. I also get a lot of reward from the machinery I’m riding or driving — every one is different, with its own character and idiosyncrasies to get the best out of.

What was your most enjoyable trip and why? 

Riding the Contal three-wheeler on the 2005 Great Peking to Paris Expedition had everything you could want from a long-distanced drive. The machinery was unique and incredibly challenging. The route was simply amazing in its variety, from the remoteness of Mongolia to the chaos of Moscow. And for two months, all we had to focus on was achieving our goal of coaxing on cars to Paris.

Gobi 2


Auguste Pons and Contal 1907

In 1907, on the Peking to Paris race, Auguste Pons broke down and ran out of fuel, deserting his Contal in the Gobi desert. He and his companion crawled for days to find rescue with nomads in their tents.


For more info on the Peking to Paris race ,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peking_to_Paris


Riding the Contal through the Gobi Desert, where there’s no actual road.

Mick Matheson in Gobi Desert with Contal 2005


There’ve been challenges and hardships, but never a lowlight!

Best tips?

Pace yourself, ensure you’ll be as comfortable as possible, and opt for the back roads instead of the main routes every time.

1 comment on “On wheels

  1. Pingback: How to be alert and rested on a long road trip. | Long distance driving

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