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Offline Sneezy

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An average years riding, 5000 miles in 5 days
« on: September 15, 2014, 06:16:57 pm »


On July the 5Th 2014, I set off, attempting to become the first British
rider to complete a saddlesore 5000 in Europe.

This entailed riding 5000 miles in less than 5 days, or 120 hours.

The clock started at my first fill up, and would finish at the last! This
would hopefully be over 5000 verified miles, (shortest distance taken
between each documented stop) and within 120 hours.

So how did this all come about, as per normal alcohol was involved,
and it seemed like a great idea.

Id previously ridden the rblr 1000 in 2013, which was 1000 miles in less
than 24 hours, which I found fairly easy, for which I raised over £1000
for the Royal British legion (riders branch)

So I thought how to better that? Whilst raising funds for the Royal
British Legion.

2000 miles in 48hours maybe, found out this had been done, so to
make it a challenge, I chose the ss5000.

According to the stats, the average motorcyclist does between 4 and
5000 miles a year, i was going to attempt to do it in under 5 days.

So I got on Google maps to sketch a rough route, I wanted to include
john ogroats to lands end, but then where?

Hmmmmmm sunshine was calling, and as I’ve been there before, and
loved it, how about Portugal, more to the point, cape st Vincent westerly
point of Europe, so that gave me about 3000 miles, so avoiding Paris I
chose to go down past Dijon Reims Lyon, to Marseille, then along past
Montpellier into Spain, Barcelona Seville, past faro in Portugal, to cape
s Vincent, then Lisbon, Salamanca Bordeaux lemans, back to channel
tunnel, then back to Rutland, to visit my friend.

According to Google maps this was approx 5086 miles.

As for planning and preparation, erm............had bike serviced week
before with new tyres, booked channel tunnel, erm and that was
basically it.

The ibauk (iron butt association uk) had what’s called a ride to eat at
john ogroats, 12oclock on the 5th July, then another ride to eat at lands
end 1300 on the 6th, the idea being, you make your way, at your pace,
hopefully under 24 hours, thus gaining an end to end ride, for the more
adventurous, you could go via claket lane services on m25 and
Gordano services on m5, thus proving you had done over 1000 miles,
this would earn you the end to end gold ride.

So that was the ride I chose, e2egold. My mate malc also decided to do
this ride, so we would ride that part together, however he was starting
at j.o.g, I was starting a few hours earlier in Carlisle.

So 0300 on the morning of the 5th, I got up, saw it was raining, no
surprise, and started getting ready, huge bowl of porridge, big mug of
tea got into waterproofs and set off at 0345, my first fill up at Tesco
Carlisle, which was my official start time, however the time on the ticket
was an hour fast, no one around to sign to say it was 0415 not 0515, oh
well, id hopefully be back in plenty of time, and that’s it, I was off.

Fairly straightforward ride up too Glasgow, where the rain stopped. But
I kept the waterproofs on, as I didn’t want to stop.

My first fuel stop was made in Dalwhinnie, where I became a tasty meal
for the lovely midges, quick peestop, and back onwards.

It was nice seeing the snow in glen coe still, and it was such a nice day,
I love the highlands especially when the weather is good.

Without too much drama I made it to john ogroats by about 1030,
feeling good and fresh.

Said hello to all the iron butts who had made it. Got some water down
my neck, and some nut mix.

At 12 o’clock, we had a group photo taken under j.o.g sign then went
for sandwiches and soup, and tea, before about 1315 me and malc
said our farewells and set off, first stop wick for fuel, (and for me
receipts) then back down the a9 to Inverness, then Edinburgh, Berwick
upon tweed (fuel stop for receipt) then down a1, before about 0100 in
the morning, we pulled into clacket lane services, for an hour or 2 in the
iron butt motel, as it was raining we got under some trees and got some

About 2 hours later I woke malc up, packed bikes, filled up, (bloody
receipts) and off in the early hours to Gordano services, on the m5,
when we got there we had another hour or 2 in the iron butt motel, but
was not raining now, so laying by bike, (later got likened too slugs by a
fellow iron butt who had seen us)

About 0730 we set off for l.e, nice ride, not much traffic, not too warm,
perfect. And when we got on the road from Penzance to lands end,
again not much traffic, so was a good time to enjoy the bike a bit.

Arrived at lands end about 10 o’clock, meeting up with a few of the
riders already there, more nut mix and water, couple of photos, but I
was itching to get going, so, said my farewells, and malc and I left,
(malc was riding back to Manchester)

We parked bikes up for obligatory photo in front of lands end hotel,
shook hands, kitted up and got on ready to go.

Turned key.........NOTHING..........lights on, everything working, just not
turning over.....kill switch checked, nothing, gear switch checked,
nothing, side stand switch checked, nothing, battery off too reset
everything, nothing.......BUGGER.

That’s it I thought, 1500 odd miles in, and that’s it over.

So we pushed bike out of way, whilst I got ipad out, just too see if
anything on forum, and lo and behold, it’s quite common for
interference from motion sensors to cause immobiliser to prevent bike
working, put key in....YIPPEE it worked, looking around we saw a light
sensor near where my bike had been parked.

Back out of l.e to Penzance, along that lovely road, I really got too
enjoy my new tyres before they became too square, another fill up in
Penzance, said my farewells to malc, as i would be peeling off to go
down the a303.

Was a lovely day to be riding, but every now and then the enormity of
the ride ahead encroached into my helmet.

Id plotted the ride into my sat nav, but id done it in 3 stages, Carlisle to
tunnel, tunnel to cape st Vincent, and cape st Vincent to Rutland, as i
decided early on, i didn’t want the pressure of an arrival time on my sat

I had wasted quite a lot of time in England, standing around chatting
ect, i knew i wanted to have a moving average of 60 mph, (needed a
minimum of 42mph overall average), my sat nav was saying moving
avg of 70mph so very happy with that, but i was still starting to be
concerned about time already, only a day and half in.

Again a fairly uneventful ride to the tunnel, got there a little early, was
offered an earlier train, for a fee, i chose to wait the 2 hours for my train
(would i regret this idea???)

So got my stove out, had a cuppa and some hot food, (took some
military rations) made some phone calls, and before long, i was on the
chunnel, luckily in front of me was a guy on a bike, as i hadn’t crossed
this way before, and didn’t know the loading protocol.

Once loaded i got chatting with him, (bikers like to chat) he commutes
every weekend to Belgium on his bike, to do some work for military.

Told him my plans, and got the response “thats mental”!!!

After a bit more idle chat, i pulled my wooly hat over my eyes and
grabbed 20 mins by my bike (a position i would be doing a lot over the
next few days) (the iron butt hotel, the cheapest around)

Upon unloading, i bid the guy farewell,(sorry useless with names) and
onward i rode, towards Dijon.

The sun was setting, gorgeous pink sky, and the miles were being
eaten up, so approx 1am French time i found a service station, filled up,
more tea and nuts, and got into my dossbag, for 3 hours sleep.

Blerghi, 4am, im up, making hot food, and more tea, (i do enjoy a good
cuppa)(even took a proper mug, coz it tastes better)

By 5am, i was back on road, it was raining now, a steady downpour,
which slowly made its way into my clothing. My music started to play
up, so that got turned off, and i then realised i was behind schedule,
quite badly. I had only done 1800 odd mile in the last 48 hours, so of
course, i started to panic a bit more,

Coming into Dijon, the rain increased, as did the bad driving and
accidents, but i trudged steadily onwards, tolls,fuel and tea and nut
mix, all passing in a blur.

On leaving Dijon, the road split, sat nav was playing up, had choice of
right or left, as left signposted Marseille, that was the route i

I immediately knew i had gone wrong, so came off at next junction,
crossed over bridge, entered the road, came off at the next junction,toll
(3 euro) crossed back over bridge, toll (2 euro) and headed the correct
way, towards lyon.

I don’t like driving in lyon, never have, and today was no exception.

Lots of roadworks, lots of traffic, lots of spray. But head down and i got
through it phew, next stop Montpellier.

Just by Montpellier, out came the sun....bliss, the clear blue sky was
lovely, and as i watched my thermometer rise upwards, (top temp seen
was 42 degs) at my next stop, i removed my waterproofs, hoping i
wouldn’t need them again.

I carried on, feeling tired, my rest stops were becoming longer, i knew i
would need to stop soon for a sleep, and just by Barcelona, i knew i
had to sleep, it was about 1600.

So, sleeping bag out, quick brew, and then got my head down, in the
vehicle shelters, most Spanish services had.

I awoke about 1 ½ hours later, to a horrendous downpour, which was
running under my sleeping bag, and around my boots, i did have a
laugh at that, albeit a slightly manic laugh.

Anyway, no point laying in water, so packed sleeping bag, had another
brew and food, and felt pretty good, so decided to continue.

The rain had made it cooler, but the roads had become quite slippery.

I carried on, until again, i thought id better get some sleep near to

The next day, the Tuesday i was due to meet wolfgang at his bratwurst
stall at cape st Vincent, i was hoping to be there by 12 oclock.

So head down (the good old iron butt hotel again) and up about 4 am
again, brew food fuel and off.

Entering Portugal, i entered the tourist lane, and paid the tourist toll, (no
sign as too amount they charged) and onwards, heading towards the

I eventually got there, i believe about 1130, had a lovely bratwurst, had
a chat with wolfgang, obligatory photo, with sergei and wilf, (the
mascots i was carrying) and that was it, off again.

Loading my last route into my satnav, i saw i had 1700 odd miles left,
and about 40 hours to do it in, but i wanted to be at the tunnel by 6pm
the following evening, so i had to get from the bottom tip of Portugal, all
the way to the channel tunnel, in about 27 hours, luckily the screen on
my sat nav is quite small, thus not showing the enormity of the ride left
to do.

The ride to Lisbon was very quiet, no one on the toll roads at all, so,
cruise control set, music blaring from bike, i enjoyed the ride.

My life had become a repetitive circle, toll, petrol, tea, pee, ride, toll,
petrol, tea,pee ride........

Was feeling good, riding well, had an interesting chat with a Spanish
policeman, who had a great sense of humour!!!

Somewhere near burgos, i got my head down, for what i hoped was the
last time in the iron butt hotel, set my alarm for 3 hours time, (about 2

2 am, alarm went, sleeping bag packed, again for hopefully last time, i
now had about 1000 miles left, and about 26 hours to do it.

Quick cup of tea and some food, it was drizzling and very windy, so i
thought id better put waterproofs on.

Off i rode, feeling great, the road was quite busy at this time of morning,
the trucks throwing up a lot of spray, but i despatched the first 100 miles
in no time at all, well thats how it seemed to me, however, crossing
back into france, i suddenly felt tired, really tired, so had to stop again,
for another sleep in the i.b.a hotel.

About 2 hours later, i awoke, in rain, sleeping bag wet, packed it away,
had some nuts, got on the bike, my deadline to the tunnel of 1800 was
seeming an impossibility now.

I motored on, but starting to panic.

My next stop, i made a few phone calls too friends, feeling low, they all
cheered me up, they were all watching my progress via my spot
tracker, so they actually had a better idea of what i had done than me.

So off i set again, feeling happier.

Mid afternoon, i entered Rouen, to join the road for Calais, the signs
said to follow yellow signs for Calais, so following them, i realised
Rouen was having major roadwork’s, however, in central rouen, the
yellow signs vanished... ok ill follow sat nav, which then proceeded to
try to take me on the road that was being dug up, so eventually i got a
bit annoyed, moved into motorbike courier mode, got through the traffic,
and used my common sense, eventually joining the correct road.

I arrived at the channel tunnel, just gone 1815; too hear that all trains
cancelled.OMG, now what.

I was already planning a route to do the remaining 300 odd miles
required, when they announced that trains now running, so i joined a
long queue as i had a reservation number, got chatting to some fellow
bikers, who had ridden through some horrendous rain (their words not
mine) in mid france.

When they enquired where i had ridden, i got the customary “thats

Finally got to the ticket booth, only had an hour’s wait, upon riding
towards the parking area in cite d Europe, i got stopped by customs,
when the customs officer asked me where i had come from, i explained
i was on the last few hundred miles of a 5000 mile 5 day trip, he looked
at me gone out and waved me through.

Waited for boarding in cite d Europe, and did some calculations, hmmm
my sat nav was telling me i was going to be short of miles, so i decided
i would ride the long way around the m25, head up to oakham, and see
how the mileage looked then.

Loaded on train, got chatting to a couple who had a bmw 600 scooter
thing, and they had rode 700 plus miles on it, and they were drenched,
so we exchanged stories, before i closed my eyes for 5 minutes.

Entering Britain, my mate malc phoned me, asking how it was going,
was nice to hear a friendly voice.

I phoned my friend Marion who i was going to see in oakham, just to
warn her that i may go past oakham, before turning round to go back.

Got into England about 730pm, so knew now i had plenty of time, and
set off,

Traffic was sparse, so good time was made, i stopped at Cobham
services, to fill up to prove i had rode round the m25, met up again with
the couple on the b.m, who were heading for Wales, or Bristol, or
somewhere like that.

Off again, started getting dark, but it was the last hundred odd miles, so
i was cruising, quick stop at south mimms, to prove i was going up a1,
then off again.

But now, my mind was playing tricks, had the bike always made that
noise? Did it always vibrate that way, is my oil ok, my tyres ok, what

I became super conscious, coz most accidents occur in last part of a
journey, when you relax.

Fortunately the bike behaved, and before long i was nearing the turning
for oakham, sat nav said 5060 miles, dare i risk it, so i filled up, as no
station in oakham would be open, and headed too marions.

Just before marions house, i stopped at a coop to get cash out, just for
the receipt, (later turned out was no store location on receipt so
useless) and turned into marions road.

Whilst on this ride, i had been deciding which tune to play on the bikes
stereo as i pulled up, i had so many choices, radar love, silver machine,
bat out of hell, superman theme, but as i turned onto marions road, i
chose the only song it could be.....i want to ride my bicycle, i want to
ride my bike...i want to ride my bicycle, want to ride it where i like.

As i approached her house i could see marion was waiting with huge
smiles which put a lump in my throat, that woman has done so much
for me towards this ride, and the look of pride, happiness and relief on
her face choked me up a little. (gonna get some flack for that!)

Pulled up, that was it. Finished. Turned the bike off, got off, patted her
tank and said “thatll do pig” which is now my bikes name.

Lots of hugs followed, from marion and the kids, but the enormity of it
didn’t sink in, id just ridden, according to my sat nav, 5086 miles, in 115
hours, at a moving average of 71 mph.

First thing in marions house, yep a big mug of tea, followed by a bottle
of beer that she had bought for me, lush.

Next thing i wanted, was a bath, i hadn’t changed clothes for last 5086
miles, so needed to get out of them sharpish.

Whilst in the bath, i had another beer, this is the life. followed by, Marion
had asked what i would like as a finishing meal, steak, kebab anything,
i chose the only food there is... cheese on toast. YUMMY.

Eventually about 2am i said i needed bed, so Marion gave me her bed
(the woman is unbelievable) and very quickly i was off to sleep.

Woke about 7 gagging for a cuppa, so crept downstairs and made one.
then went on internet to inform my friends i had done it.

But now i started worrying, most people who do 1000 miles normally do
about 30 miles more, just in case, as ive said, the verification team,
take the shortest possible route between each stop, id only allowed for
86 miles over 5000 miles.

I knew i had done the miles, my sat nav told me id done the miles, but
the verification team could say no.

Id face that possibility when it arose.

Later that day, after a deep tissue massage, arranged by super marion,
i rode back to Carlisle, it seemed strange only riding pig 200 odd miles,
i felt like i wanted to ride more.

A few days later, i started the arduous task of compiling all the
paperwork, thank god for my spot tracker, id marked each stop, so just
had to correspond each ticket to the number on screen, easier said
than done on some of the toll receipts.

But whilst doing this paperwork, i actually got to look at the route id
done, and how huge it was.

After emailing that all off to the verification team it was a horrible wait.

had i done it? had i become the first Briton to do an ss5000 in Europe?
or had i failed, due to not doing a few extra miles, coz i had been

Eventually, the email came back from mike of the ibauk verification

Id done it!

The official stats, 5044 miles in 115 hours and 9 minutes. Which i
worked out as an overall average of 43.86 mph

The relief was unbelievable.

So thats my story, i hope you enjoyed it.

Id like to say a few thank yous

Huge thank you for triumph, for making pig, oh and paying for the
service ;-)

To urban glow, for the reflective vest they made

To wolfgang, for the bratwurst and the welcome

But the biggest thank you has to go to my rock, marion, without whom,
this wouldn’t have happened, she tirelessly helped fund raising, writing
to and phoning companies for sponsorship, and giving me loads of
moral support. Love hugs and cuddles marion, words cant say thank
you enough.

And the last thank you has to go to the iron butt association, who
dangle these stupid rides in front of me. Damn you.

Now to plan the next ride.

10000 in 10 maybe...

As the late, great Freddie Mercury sang.
"Get on your bike and ride"

Offline Coconut

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Re: An average years riding, 5000 miles in 5 days
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2014, 06:38:53 pm »
Nice one Mark  :047:

It was worth the donation just to read your story  :821:

« Last Edit: September 15, 2014, 07:17:27 pm by Coconut »

Offline w8d4it

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Re: An average years riding, 5000 miles in 5 days
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2014, 07:05:50 pm »
Darn nice write up! :028:
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Offline cropbiker

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Re: An average years riding, 5000 miles in 5 days
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2014, 10:27:28 pm »
Congratulations Mark on a great achievement and a great write up!

Triumph Trophy! Not for every Tomaz, Dieter or Herman!🇬🇧

Offline seadog

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Re: An average years riding, 5000 miles in 5 days
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2014, 12:46:25 am »
Congratulations sneezy. We'll done. Great write up.

 :047: :047: :821: :821:


Offline atrophy

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Re: An average years riding, 5000 miles in 5 days
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2014, 02:40:39 am »
Congratulations!!  I would think that should get you an invitation to the Iron Butt 2015 in the USA.  That would be 11000 miles (or more) in 11 days.
Job well done!
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Offline Stoney

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Re: An average years riding, 5000 miles in 5 days
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2014, 04:46:15 am »
Wow!  Thats some serious riding. I'm tired just reading about it!  Glad you made it ok, and congratulations!

 :821:   :028:

Offline nervouswreck

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Re: An average years riding, 5000 miles in 5 days
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2014, 10:14:33 pm »