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E2E2E Gold

RIDE REPORT 
 

Ride Statistics

Total Home to Home Miles (odo): 2899 (est actual): 2801

Total Fuel Used: 257.48 ltrs

Average Mpg: 51.18

 

E2E2E Gold miles (odo): 2186       (AutoRoute): 2112

Lands End to John O’Groats Miles (odo): 1090    (AutoRoute): 1053    Time: 21:29 hours

John O’Groats to Lands End Miles (odo): 1096    (AutoRoute): 1059    Time: 20:36 hours

 

Map displays actual tracking data taken from Instamapping

Saturday 29th August

It was all system go on Saturday morning. The bike was loaded, the route was planned, the tyres checked and the camel pack (water bag) full. The plan was to leave around 07:30 having filled the tank at the local Jet station. From here I would ride down to a friend in Milton Keynes to recover my SatNav, I’d lent it to him for a trip he had to France the week before. I got there at 08:30, had a couple of cups of tea and a chat before riding cross-country, with another friend, as far as Swindon before picking up the M5 south.

 

All this made for a nice leisurely start to what would be a long weekend of riding. The plan was to be at Land’s End for around 14:30 – 15:00. I was able to plan the ride in defined legs, I hoped this would make it more manageable mentally. I would be able to focus on the end of each leg and not the big picture. Each leg had a time target. It was made easier by living near Derby, roughly half way, which made a rest stop in the night a good option.

 

The Legs

Leg One: Home to Lands End – 375 miles

Leg Two: Lands End to Home – 514 miles – E2E Gold 1

Leg Three: Home to John O’Groats – 576 miles – E2E Gold 1

Leg Four: John O’Groats to Home – 582 miles – E2E Gold 2

Leg Five: Home to Lands End – 514 miles – E2E Gold 2

Leg Six: Lands End to Home – 338 miles

 

Sounds easy like this! Just 4 x 500ish mile rides with 2 x 300ish mile rides at either end.

(or to put it in terms a mate of mine will relate to it equates to Sutton, Surrey to Middlesbrough 10.5 times)

SIMPLE

 

I have to say now that it was most humbling at the Lands End Hotel, waiting to have my paperwork stamped, when a chap in his 60’s arrived having walked from John O’Groats. It made me feel that I was cheating in some way.

 

Anyway, after a drink and a photo with the bike at the signpost, it was time to leave.

 

Sat 29th 16:20           Lands End

A little later than planned, only 20 minutes, I leave LE for the first leg of the ride. This would take me to the Gordano Services on the M5 just south of Bristol.

 

The ride here was easier than anticipated as the traffic wasn’t too bad and the weather was great.

 

Sat 29th 19:25           Gordano Service Bristol

Next stage was the slightly soul destroying stretch east to the M25, then south before getting to Clacket Lane services. There is something challenging about heading the wrong way on such a long ride.

 

Sat 29th 21:27           Clacket Lane M25 East

Arrived here on the scheduled time but stopped to have a chat with a couple from Belgium who had taken a couple bikes for a trip to Eire.

 

It was now a simple ride around the M25, through the Dartford crossing and on to the M1 North back to Junc. 25 to home.

 

Sun 30th 00:06         Junc. 25 M1 North

Arrived home 30 minutes behind the initial plan but now had 514 miles under my belt.

 

I knew that this would be the most difficult part of the ride, in both directions, as I worried that my own bed and home comforts would sap the motivation.

 

I got things ready for the next step before heading to bed to get 3 hours sleep. As the alarm went off at 03:30, it was difficult to get out of bed. It was a good job I set a second alarm for 04:00. This did get me up and a quick shower woke me up.

 

There was nothing to do but put on the leathers and helmet and ride north.

 

Sun 30th 08:29         Cairn Lodge Services

The route took me up the M1, A1, across the A66 to the M6 then north to Glasgow. A full tank took me all the way to Cairn Lodge service just south of Glasgow. A full tank here then got me all the way Wick.

 

As far as riding goes, this was the best part of the ride. Good roads, good weather, great riding. The only irritation was the swarms of black things everywhere. No, not the midges, the Harley’s. There was a rally, Thunder in the Glen’s, and they just kept getting in the way. The event was happening in Avimore.

 

Anyway with some fun riding done I got to Wick at 13:09, this was just about on target which was 12:30.

 

Sun 30th 13:09         Wick Tesco  North

Half filled the tank here, to get a receipt on the way up,  just in case the shops are shut, and the way down in order to have a full tank to get me to Glasgow.

 

Then the short hop up to John O’Groats. This is the first time I’ve been there. In some ways nicer than Lands End but not much in it.

 

Sun 30th 13:49         Arrive John O’Groats                   Miles Ridden: 1090

Got a receipt from the café – yes the time was a little fast – and had the paperwork all stamped up, filled in the End to End book and time to rest.

 

Even though I was here early, 16:20 being the dead line, I was not planning on leaving until around 16:20, 24 hours after leaving Land’s End. This would mean, in effect, I’d get a couple of hours “free” in the overall ride as the second 24 hour time block, for the second ride, would begin either at 16:20 or what ever time I left if earlier. Therefore no advantage would be had in leaving early but it would mean loosing valuable rest time. Leaving early would also mess up the rest stop planned for the journey south.

 

In the café I got chatting to a couple of other bikers, a father and son. I asked them if they could be one of the witnesses. One did an end witness the other a start witness for the ride south. Thanks guys! I also had the girl in the café stamp and sign the forms. They do seem very used to this and it was no effort at all to them.

 

After a walk around the shops, a picture with the bike at the sign post and a cup of tea, it was time to leave and repeat the journey in reverse.

 

Sun 30th 15:56         Depart: First and Last, John O’Groats

 

Sun 30th 16:09         Wick Tesco South

Filled the tank to the brim, this will get me to south of Glasgow, and then back on the road.

 

The riding was again very nice on the A9, a little overcast but that was good. At around Avimore it began to rain. It then got heavy, then very heavy and dark.

 

Sun 30th 20:40         Cairn Lodge Services

It was torrential rain all the way to the Cairn Lodge services, south of Glasgow. Fortunately I had decided to change to my waterproof jacket at John O’Groats. I hadn’t put the waterproofs over my leather jeans but the fairing did a fantastic job and they stayed dry. This was a result of not having to stop moving during the ride.

 

Again the tank was filled for the next leg down and back to home for a few hours rest.

 

It rained all the way down to the Lake District. When the rain stopped, the fog came down. This wasn’t going to do much for the time. It was then non-stop rain all the way to home.

 

The rain did mean a slight change of route. The SatNav wanted to take me via the A66, as per the route north. I decided that given the conditions, the A66 would be affected by the weather even more than the M6. With this in mind I stayed on the M6 down to the A500 at Stoke and took the A50 across to the M1. This brought me out 1 junction south of home but it was still worth the extra few miles.

 

Mon 31st 00:29         Jet, Breaston

I arrived here a little ahead of schedule, about 30 minutes. Again another full tank before heading the mile to home. As on the ride north, I got everything ready to leave before heading to bed to get a few hours sleep.

 

Left home around 05:00 to head down the M1, around the M25 and back to Clacket Lane services. It was still a mix of rain, drizzle and fog, but at least it wasn’t too hot.

 

Mon 31st 07:39         Clacket Lane M25 West

For some strange reason it now felt like I was nearly there. Weird how long distances mess with the head.

 

Another full tank and then the penultimate leg of the trip, to Bristol. Apart from the weather, this was uneventful.

 

Mon 31st 09:20         Gordano Service Bristol

The final full tank before Land’s End but potentially the hardest part of the ride. I was expecting lots of traffic given it was a Bank Holiday Monday.

 

To my surprise the roads weren’t too bad and I made very good time. I got to Land’s End at 12:30, almost bang on time.

 

Mon 31st 12:32         Land’s End                                     Miles Ridden: 2186

 

I’D DONE IT – 2 END TO END GOLDS IN 44 HOURS AND OVER 2000 MILES

 

It was now a case of getting a receipt from the shop, then getting all the paperwork stamped.

 

With the above done, I could take time to rest, have a pasty and go through the paperwork several times. Then time for a final photo at the sign post.

 

I’d text the IBA guys, Roger and Pete, to let them know progress throughout the ride and the final text had gone. The reply from Pete asked “had I checked the paperwork?” Even though I’d done it several times a shiver went through me. Time for another coffee and a check one more time.

 

It all seemed in order, I had made every effort to track as I went along. I had different zip envelopes for the home to start legs of the ride, and for each of the End to End legs. Time will tell!

 

It was now just a case of riding the 300+ miles home. Simple. As I said before this distance riding does give you a weird perspective on distance.

 

Mon 31st 13:45         Left Lands End

 

Mon 31st 19:32         Breaston, Derbyshire

I got home at around 19:30, still feeling fine, with 2899 miles on the clock, door to door. Hmm, should I do another 120 miles or so, forget about the E2E2E Gold and go for the SS3000?? Still got 12 hours in the bag….

 

Well no. As Pete pointed out to me, the E2E2E Gold had not been done before. I’d be first on the list, subject to paperwork. That’s got to be worth something. No one else can be first – see I was listening to you Pete!!

 

So now it’s just a matter of finalising the paper work, taking copies and sending it off. Job Done.

 

So where next? Istanbul is supposed to be nice this time of year and only 2252 miles…

 

Constantinople and back. SS5000??? Hmmm…..

 

Finally, a big thanks goes to Roger and Pete (IBAUK) for their help in the preparation for the ride and text encouragement during it. Cheers chaps!!

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