IBAUK End 2 End Gold & SS2000 Ride 23 – 25 Aug 2014
by Mark Collins & Ken Sanderson.
Ken and myself had taken part in RBLR1000 on 2013, and this gave us the bug for long distance riding and after we had read a few more write ups, it then set us on with the task of next yr we must do more than just the RBLR1000.
And true to our word we undertook yet another RBLR1000 in 2014, along with turning out to a few RTE's and discussing with some of you good folks, some of the pro's and cons.
It was on the squires RTE that we asked about the possibility of combining the E2E with an SS, which seemed the right thing for us living in central England area.
Then quite by chance I noticed on the forum that in July an E2E and SS ride was on the cards, great stuff we thought and then things went a little wrong, Ken had a prior arrangement and I was Making some changes to medication, that made me decided that it would not be the right time to feel spaced out while on such a ride. The decision was made that we would have to do it on a later date, and as time was ticking and the day light disappearing that we would have to do it sooner rather than later.
The only dates that we seemed to have that coincided with each others shifts, was the August bank holiday weekend.
So the date was set at weekend 23-25 August, and off I went into planning mode “hahaha” Its not the planning I was laughing about, but the lack of brains when it came to programming the new sat nav, that I had purchased some months before and not really got my head around. I had used it on the last ride and found it rather frustrating to say the least, and that combined with base camp well enough said!!!
Ken and I then set about route planning separately, and then comparing the routes as and when we could and then decided on the final route to be taken, but in with this we made some detailed plans and wrote down all of our planned fuel stops, and their post codes along with extra ones as a contingency plan.
Once the route had been set out in its entirety, we noticed that the overall time meant that at a push we could actually if nothing goes a stray, do the whole ride as a gold ride.
Yes I thought LMAO, that’s if noting goes wrong which is mine and kens middle name.
Down to business, that week on the run up to the ride the check list was slowly being checked off. Bikes checked over tweaked and running well, spares for run got, gear cleaned n checked, supplies for trip checked, so as far as we knew all was good and ready to go, and before we could bat an eyelid the day was upon us.
After not such a good nights kip the alarm went off at 3am, and up I got along with the poor wife who signed my paperwork, thankfully I had packed the bike with my supplies the evening before, so all that was required was a coffee and bowl of porridge while slipping into my bike gear, then a quick kiss goodbye and off out through the door to meet up at the designated start point.
3.30 at the local 24hr garage that’s not far off the planned route, I met up with ken who had gone pretty much through the same routine as me, and from the little chat that we had whilst filling up the bikes with a bit of fuel to get our first receipt and start time, we both felt like we had finally woke up, and the jolly laughter and upbeat feel was upon us both.
3.50am start time and we are off, oh no not yet, lets switch on the sat nav!!! and initiate program route ss2000+e2e, ah yes bingo now were off and first stop.
Scotch Corner services 5.20am on approach to scotch corner services first of sat nav clanger gremlins, no no no I want the esso station over there!!! which is where I went, unbeknown to me until later I had in inadvertently put in 6pq rather than 6nt, but we had made good time and was back on the move just after 5.30am, having restarted the sat nav back up. We headed off up the A1m to pick up the A68, thinking to myself what else will go wrong? At this point I had then dropped yet another clanger, which I am perplexed to explain but we had taken the A66m.
Head banging the tank in disbelief we did a detour to get back on the desired route, being the A68 which is a scenic road but one you have to be a little steady on in places, as there is a few bits that could easily catch any good rider out.
Stopping briefly at the border to take a pic or two and send out update messages, knowing that taking this road would take us towards our next fuel stop at Dreghorn services, which we got to roughly on time taking into account the detour and quick stop at the border.
8.48am filled and setting off yet again, the plan was to hit sterling services some 33miles up the road and top up, knowing that Ken's tank range is somewhat smaller than mine, and when we landed his thought was that he may have enough fuel to hit Inverness without stopping, so without refuelling off we plodded M9 – A9 Inverness here we come.
To counter act the boredom we took turns to take lead, and on the run up to Aviemore I signalled to ken with regards to fuel, thumbs up from him 2 bars left should be enough to get us there, or so we thought and about 6 miles from Inverness the unthinkable happened, Ken's bike stopped and I rode into the distance thinking he had just slowed down to conserve fuel.
But I had that feeling somethings gone way wrong so I about turned, to thankfully find Ken with another biker and a gallon of fuel just a few mile back down the road. Luckily he was carrying a gallon, so ken topped up and off we went with ken's saviour in tow to the nearest garage being Tesco's Inverness just off the A9, and to pay thanks we topped him up with fuel had a bit of a chat and then made our way.
Knowing we had lost valuable time with this slight blunder, we got our heads down and as we had fuelled up a little before our planned stop at Tore services, we pushed on as hard as we could without breaking any laws!!! although I nearly broke the bike on the switch back on the A9 around the berriedale area if my memory serves me right, and selecting the right gear is an advantage to stop the bike chugging lol.
Time flew by and before we knew it we had arrived at wick, at this point Ken decided to peel off at wick and get fuel but I carried on to JOG, whereby the first point of call was the toilet by which time Ken had arrived, and we set about getting our paperwork sign n sorted.
15.33 is the start of our next bit the JOGLE.
A cupa and a bite to eat and a good leg stretch was in order, as we had covered about 560mile and lost a good bit of time, but knowing this was just the first leg of our trip we knew we had to push on so off we went, although I had to stop at wick for fuel.
Determined as we were we decided to leave our stops until absolutely necessary, so the next being at.
18.41 in Carbridge Just off the A9, yet again we fuelled not just the bike but us and hit the road again. Oops 1 glance Ken was there and the next he wasn’t, we had got split up by traffic and taken separate routes back towards the A9, which wasn’t a major problem as we had set our next check point as sterling services, and within mins of each other we were pulling in and fuelling up again.
21.06 as we left sterling services we had noticed that dusk was well upon us and the temp was starting to drop, and we knew that we had to keep a reasonable pace and hit our next stop which should have been Southwaite, but we decided to pull in at Gretna services instead as we noticed coming down the M74 how cold it had become.
22.51 Do we don’t we doubt popped in our heads, as we debated at Gretna services knowing we had come this far and the fact we had wrapped up warm the cold had somewhat crept in, and although we were not freezing to death we knew it was going to be a long cool ride down south, so as planned M74, M6, M1, M25 was the route.
We headed off with the intention of regular stops.
00.41 we pulled in to Charnock services M6 and time flew yet again, so in at 03.22 Shell services Corley and sticking with the M6 the stupid amount of £1.80 at the toll, and before we knew it.
04.45 South Mimms services thankfully, a good 24 hrs had passed and not feeling to bad for it either, but keeping in mind that we had maybe covered about half of what we need to do.
Time was of the essence as we still had the bridge to cross M25 Clacket Ln and Gordando to hit, and fingers crossed not much traffic we hoped, and all seemingly went well.
06.06 at Clacket Ln M4 here we come. Oops good job we both had our next stop logged as I peeled away for the M4, Ken kept going and had to do a detour, so knowing this I pulled in.
07.39 Reading Services with a desperate need of food, fuel and sleep in what ever order I didn’t care. I sat in the burger king having had one of those atrocious breakfast buns, I found myself nodding the eyes rolled n lights out, only for about 15 mins but that was enough.
I then pressed on to meet up with Ken at Gordando services as arranged.
09.25 and with luck on our side we met up yet again within minutes of each other.
By all accounts Ken had pulled into Chieveley services to do pretty much the same as me.
09.36 we decided that Exeter Services would be our next point of call, and off we went feeling relieved that we still had a reasonable chance of doing it on time, having said that by the time we hit Exeter services that feeling had well and truly worn off, and the doubt had set in along with a feeling of being yet again tired.
At this point we did actually debate just turning around and heading home, but suddenly after a drink and a nibble the sun shine that we had missed so much, had given us the boost along with the fact that for next next few hundred miles we had left the Motorways behind us.
10.50 One thing we did know was we had to push on hard as it was the bank holiday, and traffic was building up rapidly and it wouldn’t be long before we may come across standing traffic, which we did but that was only because of some poor driver had jackknifed his car and caravan.
But with careful and courteous filtering we made our way past what must have been a few miles of standing traffic to the scene of the crash.
After this it was plain sailing but as we got to the outskirts of Penzance the weather turned and a sudden down pour unfolded, and thankfully it didn’t last long but something seemed wrong, I thought for some reason that there was some bike either following us or it was in front whatever it was, it was rather loud. Arr that would be Kens bike then !!! also at this point Ken realised he required fuel and stopped but I decided that the few extra miles I would be ok.
Landing at Lands End.
13.42 I set about trying to get our paperwork signed off, while Ken attempted emergency repairs to his broken exhaust system, which turned into a rather long winded battle using both tool kits from our bikes.
But in the end a good old tried and tested method of removing both ends from a soft drinks can, and splitting the can down the middle and wrapping it around and holding it in place with a jubilee clip did the trick.
This took the best part of an hour and yet again our hearts sunk as we could feel the time ebbing away, and the chance of possibly completing the ss2000 in the time required disappearing in to the distance like the horizon, but we consoled ourselves with the fact we had at least made Lands End.
Knowing we had approx 500 miles to cover and 12 hrs to do it in, was still in our minds eye as we yet again set off in what was again drizzly dank weather, and on the approach to Penzance I knew I would need fuel and pulled into the sainsbury.
15.12 refuelled and off as Ken had made his way on wards to the next check point we had set as being Sedgemoor services, this stop for me was nothing more than a splash n dash and before long I had caught up with Ken, and by this time the weather had turned yet again and a bit of late afternoon / early evening sunshine warmed our weary bodies as we made our way back up the A30 to reach the M5, and by the time we hit Exeter I think that’s when we knew that just a good old steady plod should get us to the next services.
17.46 what a welcome break it was to as we jumped off the bikes, laughing at the fact we had spent time on the run up attempting to find a comfy position to be in whilst in the saddle, a discussion then about the legalities of riding the bike while stood on the foot rest cheered us up no end while we stretched our sore and aching muscles, whilst feeding our faces with food and drink before we got back on for yet what by then seemed like torture, as we headed for our next point of call.
19.38Reading east and more laughter at our antics and what other peoples perception of us and some of the riding styles we adopted whilst in torture mode.
Jesus Christ now we really knew why they call it saddle sore!!!
Yet again heads down as we headed for South Mimms services, and before we knew it 20.49 we had made it and both felt rather worn out, so at this point we decided to do plan B.
Plan A being taking a steady run up the A1 to Newark and cutting across on the A617, this would have given us slightly more miles from what I had calculated, but feeling the way we did which was almost flat as a pancake made it seem the right thing to do.
20.59 having said that as we set off yet again the right thing would have been to have got our heads down for a quick kip, as we had not been on the M1 for more than a few miles when both of us realised that the long blink was upon us, so from hear on in we new that despite we only had but a few hours of riding to do on a good day when your feeling alert.
This now became a major task of pulling in regular and Newport Pagnell and Leicester Forest East, became points to head for.
It had now been for us the biggest lesson to learn from as we didn’t wish to become the latest statistics, and what had seemed like a few hour journey up the M1 to our final sign off had in fact taken nearly 3.5 hrs, and we rolled in to the same service station as we had set off from and job done.
00.19hrs all signed off.
Maybe it hadn’t really sunk in until we explained to the guy in the services, whilst in conversation just where we had been that entire weekend. His reaction said it all as he looked not just shocked but bemused while those wonderful words rolled off his tongue “ No way” “you guys must be absolutely mental”, a chuckle from the pair of us while we bid him a good evening and then a sigh of relief as we geared up for that last little bit, the ride home as the bed was most definitely calling us both, so a thumbs up as we fired up the bikes for the last time and a wave as we departed in our different directions. We both sent text messages at the point of arrival home so we knew each other had got to our safe and final destination.
End to End Gold 1056 Miles in 22 hours and 9 minutes
SS2000 2043 Miles in 44 hours and 29 minutes
My mileage at start 28288 at finish 30329 making it 2041.
Next time take more clothing just in case.
Take more fluids and snacks, although the flapjack I took did the trick.
Definitely take the opportunity to inspect my eyelids correctly while stationary.
Possibly take more spares despite having good breakdown cover.
Don’t waste time in the services, we did take a little longer than we should have done.
Don’t Buy at services those crap breakfast bun deals.
Don’t take long blinks on the motorway, if your tired get your head down, Lesson learned.