The Achievable Dream 5-part series - the definitive guide on DVD for planning your motorcycle adventure. Get Ready! covers planning, paperwork, medical and many other topics! "Inspirational and Awesome!" See the trailer here!
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So you've done it - got inspired, planned your trip, packed your stuff and you're on the road! This section is about staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure. And crossing borders, war zones or oceans!
On the Road! is 5.5 hours of the tips and advice you need to cross borders, break down language barriers, overcome culture shock, ship the bike and deal with breakdowns and emergencies."Just makes me want to pack up and go!" See the trailer here!
Tire Changing!Grant demystifies the black art of Tire Changing and Repair to help you STAY on the road! "Very informative and practical." See the trailer here!
Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
"It has me all fired up to go out on my own adventure!" See the trailer here!
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I did it solo last April in aid of Riders for Health. Left Land's End at 3pm and got to John O'Groats 19 hrs and 45 mins later.
Would definitely recommend making the most of the thru-the-night hours to beat the middle section from Lancashire to Perth.
Suggested service area stops: Exeter, Frankley, Tebay, Hamilton, Perth, Inverness. Bear in the mind that the further north you go, the less service area facilities you'll find open during the night. Hamilton was closed when I got there and Perth was limited. Apart from Wick town centre, there's nothing north of Inverness.
The motorway runs out at Inverness and you'll find the last 120 miles to JOG much slower going.
Also be aware that July is a peak month for the mighty Scottish midge, which will do its best to eat you alive whenever you take your lid off - especially at night.
Avoiding the motorways will certainly make it a much less boring ride, but realistically I doubt you'll be able to do the distance "in one hit" as you said in your first post. Your average speed could easily be half (or even less) what you'd be able to maintain on the motorways.
I did barcelona - calais in one ride, once. it took, I think 13 hours; above the speed limit and on peage most of the way. I think barcelona - calais is about 900 miles, so a little less than LeJoG. Check the cyclist websites for LeJoG, as they all do it non-motorway. the cyclists reckon for about 950 miles on the main A roads.
on a ride like that the worst thing you can do is waste time at fuel stops. get fuel, pay and go. don't stop for drinks, as it takes time and the forces a toilet stop later. you can eat when you're finished. the main thing is to keep moving.
your biggest problem will likely be tiredness. this sounds like an epic that you are not used to. motorbikes are unforgiving if you drift off to sleep, or your brain slows and makes the wrong decision. so get some practice in...
Now I couldn't possibly condone this, but I had been ill in Morocco, and dosed up on immodium. Soon as I was able I headed north, and rode 469, 440 and 828 miles on three consecutive days.
On the long day, I stopped only for fuel. I threw back an espresso and a snickers every other stop which I ate as I walked back from the kiosk. Didn't need the loo all day. Took me 13 hours to get from Madrid to the channel, but of course that was on good foreign toll roads.
If you haven't already, then get yourself an ipod or better still a radio, which you can attach to the handlebars. I have a wee digital one from Asda which will run for 8 hours on two AAA batteries, and being digital will hold a good signal just about anywhere these days.
Everyone I've spoken to who has done this kind of ride has one thing in common. They all wanted to do it, and wouldn't condon it afterwards!
I rode Portugal to Amsterdam in one go, through the night - and never ever again.
You are going to meet lots of issues along the way, here are a few from what I can remember;
1) Comfort - think about everything under your but, wear seamles undies, as much as possible seamless pants, think about an AirHawk/Gel/Sheepskin seat cover. Move around on the seat as much as you can, ride in different possitions and change these before you get tired.
2)Dehydration, it's a big problem and you won't know you've got it until it's too late. Get a camlebak/hydropack and take smal sips of liquid as often as you need to. if you get the balance right you'll avoid the toilet but you will keep hydrated. Think about an electrolyte or energy mixture for the water, or alternate between the two.
3) Tiredness, the real killer. It will slow down your reaction times and yo won't even know it. You will start to make silly mistakes, and you may get a little irrational. Hunger is great at ofsetting the effects of tiredness, eat little and often and never fill your stomach. Using some energy suplement in your drin is a good way forward. Avoid heavy eating, and be aware that sugary drinks like Coke will be great for a short while but then you'll need to pee, and will get a come down from the sugar rush and the caffine hit.
4) Practise. get out there and do some long mileage. It will help.
Don't expect anything from JOG, the sign says "First & Last in Scotland", roughly translated it means "this is the first and last time you'll come here". You will need to ride home at the end, so I'd suggest you take a few days and ride the Northen coastline around to Skye, then down through the highlands - you might as well while you are up there. It will make the ride worthwhile, it's a bl00dy long way to go so enjoy it.
It's a good cause you ride for, all the best and stay safe.
I always find that being properly protected against the cold is the best defence against the tiredness coming on early. That and 'Relentless Juiced' - I drink way too much of this stuff delivering pizza but it's a miracle cure. Save it until you're tired/flagging, bang a can back and you will be not only awake but feel v. alert. As it's got some fruit juice in I can also kid myself that it's good for my health (one of my 5 a day surely?). I guess any energy drink would do but I can't stand red bull.
I used to smoke a pipe when I was feeling cold/tired but this only really works on a 50cc moped.
I used to smoke a pipe when I was feeling cold/tired but this only really works on a 50cc moped.
A fellow pipe smoker! Does wonders for cold hands and a head that's really had enough.
You need to keep your mind alert. This is easy at sunrise on some borders lane, not so easy during the dark hours (2-4 AM) on some bypass outside Preston. Various mental tricks work such as calculating fuel usage, distance per hour etc. Keep that radio tuned to a talk station, you want politics and sport to raise the blood pressure, not some DJ whispering sweet nothings and playing lullabys.
No one has mentioned short term preparation. You can't sleep in advance but you can move your working day an hour at a time by staying up late and getting up late. This makes the starting point seem like morning even if it's 3 pm. You also need to eat carbs and other slow energy release foods in hours before you set off.
I also like to allow myself the odd little treat even at the expense of time/distance. A bacon butty or scrambled eggs at sunrise seems to tell your body it's another day and it's time to go do some work.
Since the Morocco ride, I've also done Switzerland to the channel in one hit - 550 miles, so I obviously have the bug! Have to say though, my F800GS is what has made all the difference. Biggest I ever clocked before was 485, which nearly killed me! And that includes bike's you'd expect to be good at big milages: FJ1100, Blackbird, K1200RS.
I find the riding position on the F8 much better, as my knees aren't so cramped. You sit more upright, so your wrists don't ache. There's enough windblast to keep you awake. You can't maintain stupid speeds, so you don't get stopped, and return 60mpg. Have to say, it's the best long distance bike I ever rode...
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