Friday, 26 April 2013

The Iron Butt Association "We ride alone to be together"

The Iron Butt Association


Some of you will have seen a number of tell-tale patches stuck to the screens of bikes with “My local Riding Area” or a black & white back-plate running underneath the number plate which reads “Iron Butt UK  “World’s Toughest Riders!”  

So who are these riders and what is the IBA all about.

Well a quick search on “Google” will answer quite a few questions.

For starters the IBA was the brain child of one Mr Mike Kneebone over in the USA. His vision of promoting the Sport of Safe, Long-Distance Motorcycle Riding, brought the whole thing to life. The IBA is now a World Wide association with in excess of 50,000 members.(I’m sure quite a few of which will be reading this Blog with a keen eye).

Mike set the ball rolling way back in the mid-1980’s and since then it has developed into an amazing group of like minded long-distance riders from across the globe. Take a look at the USA based IBA Website for the full story.

Up until 2009 I had no idea what the IBA was all about but after a brief call from a close friend, that was to change forever!

Ron called me to see if I would be interested in raising £50+ for the Royal British Legion in sponsorship money by riding my bike. To be honest that was as much as I really took on board at the time. My reply was an instant “Yes, count me in”. 

I should have listened a little more closely to what the ride entailed.

The RBLR1000 (Royal British Legion Riders) paperwork arrived on my doorstep a couple of weeks later. It was then that the enormity of what I’d volunteered to do hit me.

We were required to ride 1000 miles in less than 24 hours. There were 2 routes which could be ridden clockwise or counter clockwise giving a choice of 4 routes. We chose to go North Counter clockwise, to say it was one of the toughest rides I have ever undertaken is an understatement. However we both completed the ride in the region of 22 to 23 hours and in doing so automatically became fully fledged members of the IBA UK . The feeling of pride was immense. Knowing we’d both raised in excess of £300 each for the RBL was the finishing touch.

SS1000 - Welcome to Insanity!

Getting to know the IBA UK Members was easy because they hold monthly RTE’s (Ride to Eats’) which is exactly what it says. Someone will “Call” a RTE on the forum and we all “We ride alone to be together” another of the IBA popular descriptive tag lines (my favorite if the truth be known).

Gaining membership to the IBA is quite a simple affair you just need to complete the Saddle Sore 1000 – SS1000 – in other words ride 1000 miles in under 24 hours. Obviously in order to verify (prove) the ride has been completed within the set  time period, 24 hours being the absolute cut off time you are required to fill in a little paperwork, obtain 2 witnesses signatures, one at the start and one at the end & yes it can be the same person. Collect fuel/stop receipts, the first of which is used as your start time, the last being you finish time.

Submit copies of your paperwork and receipts to the “Official IBA Ride Verifier” and then wait! The verifier will the plot your route using the receipts and joining up the route using the shortest route possible (within reason) and as long as your ride exceeds 1000 miles and you time is less than 24 hours you will receive a letter of congratulations and a certificate. Back-plates, sew on patches, pin badges and various other IBA merchandise are then available for you to purchase as you see fit. You will also be given your IBA Membership number at that time, in other words “You’re In!”

My membership started 20th June 2009 and to be honest I've loved every minute of it. I had a failed SS2000 (Saddle Sore 2000 – 2000 miles in less than 48 hours) attempt in November the same year but managed to log another consolation SS1000 by getting an end witness signature in mid Wales.

There are so many rides that can be verified including SS1000, SS2000, SS3000 etc. riding 1000 miles in less than 24 hours all on consecutive days.

SS2000 - 
Rochdale to John O'Grotes
to Lands' End to Rochdale
Not a bad weekend!

Then you move onto Bun Burner ride BB1500 which is 1500 in under 36 hours. Do 1500 miles in under 24 hours and your into Bun Burner Gold territory BBG1500.

Documenting your rides in Europe opens up a whole new set of certificates SS1600KM, SS2000KM, and on and on.

Add to this more UK specific, 4 Corners – Lands’ End, St David’s in Wales, Lowestoft to John O’Groats , 4 Corners Gold,  End 2 End - Lands’ End to John O’Groats in less than 24 hours direct 838 miles or even End to End Gold – Lands’ End to John O’Groats via London taking the mileage over 1000 miles in less than 24 hours. You start to get the idea and yes there are European End 2 End – NordKapp in Norway to Gibraltar Point and various European 4 Corners too. Don’t get me started on the USA rides available to do.

End 2 End Gold

For those of you who fancy a more Rally focused there are a number of “Photographic Rallies” including one of the toughest 36 hour rallies around the IBA UK Britt Butt Rally or for a more beginner friendly challenge there’s the 12 hour Britt Butt  Light. Next year sees the running of the very first Multi-Day Rally the European Tour 2014 a 5 Day Challenge.

The USA still hosts the “Daddy” of all rallies though The Iron Butt Rally, 11,000 miles in 11 Days. Yes you did read that right Eleven Thousand Miles in Eleven Days!

One final mention must go to the European Ride to Eats’ which are arranged annually and take place Bi-monthly. There a fantastic way to visit places you would not normally venture to, meet up with like-minded people from around the world, literally, eat drink and be merry. Then head out the following day, if you stay over, or after the obligatory “Group Photo”.

  Germany RTE 2010

I for one have made some very good friends within the IBA Long-Distance riding Community and I’m hoping you will do the same.

                                         Lithuania 2012                                              

The product of a miss-spent 2010

If you would like to know more about the IBA UK please visit the IBA UK Website where you will find details of all the rides available to partake in along with the relevant downloadable paperwork. Also take time to check out the IBA UK Forum for a wealth of Long Distance Riding information and banter!

As I started by saying “We ride alone to be together!”. So as you can see “The World really is Our Playground”

Nuph Said!

Happy Riding Folk’s.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

“Making Progress” Iron Butt Style

BBG1500 in 24 hours

Bun Burner Gold 1500

This is a ride report I wrote back in May 2010. Until now it has remained up-published, as at the time it caused quite a stir on the IBA UK forum. There were a couple of reasons for this, first of all I posted a picture of my Garmin on the forum with my thumb over the speed indicator and secondly my moving average was 63 mph.

As it happens the ride was verified by the IBA UK President and this report was just filled away.

Having just updated the format of my Blog I wanted a BBG1500 ride report in the new drop down list & so here is my 2010 BBG1500 in 24 hours.

Well that’s  the chores are done, The Beast has been “de-bugged” I’ve got my  Lucozade open & I think that’s about everything so I’ll begin

“Making Progress” Iron Butt Style or more commonly known as a Bun Burner Gold 1500.

For those who I bore to death with my Ride Reports here are the facts

Date                Monday 24th May 1800 hrs
Duration          24 hours cut off time
Bike                 Yamaha FJR 1300A
Rider               Well you get the idea
Start Mileage   15080
End Mileage    16666
Odometer        1586
Garmin Miles   1526
Time               Start 1752 – Finish 1702 Total of 23 hours & 10 Minutes according to Garmin

Paper work complete and sat at the side of me ready for posting at 1700 when J collects Ben from after school club.

The BBG1500 is one of those rides that had been bugging me for a while simply because my mate  had done it & I hadn't.  Well that’s one of the reasons the other was I was totally hacked off, first of all not getting a start in the Britt Butt Rally 2010 & then to make me feel 100 times worse (sorry Boss) being given a start....... just after booking a hotel room in Woodhall Spa so we could attend a family 18th Birthday on the Saturday night. Gutted was not the word!!!

So as you can imagine I needed cheering up, Big Time.

So after planning what I thought were two half decent routes & then having my mate pull them apart via MSN. We set about fine tuning them to include as much motorway as possible.

·         The route was Rochdale, M62 to Leeds, M1, M25, A2 Dover back up M20 to M25 Clackets

·         15 minute break at Clackets as this was the first quarter mark

·         M25 Clackets, M4, M5 Gordano’s then down to Penzance back up to Gordano’s

·         15 Minute break at Gordano’s (which turned into Sedgmoor Services due to fuel consumption)

·         M5, M6 all the way up to Glasgow

·         15 Minute break at Glasgow

·         Then across past Edinburgh to Berwick upon Tweed then down A1(M) to Leeds

·         M62 home

Route Done!

I was expecting loads of road works so opted to do the ride with just my Givi Topbox fitted. This turned out to be a stroke of genius as I hit both the start of the Birmingham ride to work mayhem plus the Manchester ride to work rush hour traffic. Being unrestricted by panniers I rode through both without issue. Give or take a few dirty looks which is normal when filtering, mind this was more than made up for by big smiles and waves from all the kids on coach trips.

First off all I needed to get myself organised and so set about checking the oil, tyres, fitting the Givi top-box, making the Tuna Mayo Butties x4, rolling the bike out onto the drive and doing one last “Farkle”. I could not be bothered to carry my Camel-Pack on my back so I fixed it to the lid of my Givi top-box, it was to work a treat, allowing me to have a trouble free drink at every stop.

Finally I set up GPS Tracker and posted on IBA Site that I wa about to attempt a BBG2500.

Then I went to bed for 2 hours.

I was awoken by Jeannie in hysterics under the bedroom window outside...............

For reasons known only to herself, she had decided to lay the lounger flat, fasten the clips to hold it there. Then lay on it with her head where her feet should be to catch that beautiful sun, only for the lounger to tip forward in very slow motion until her nose was touching the floor. At which point she went into fits of laughter as she couldn’t move due to the arms being in the way..............

Un-real.................. should have got a picture. Still at least she wasn't worrying about “yours truly”.

Up, shower, clobber on, iPod on and plugged in, Mobile’s GPS tracker switched on and plugged into charger, good-bye’s all round and off to fill up. Only to realise that setting off at my usual time but going to my local station as opposed to the Shell garage on the other end of town (as its 24 hour opening & I usually start my rides around midnight) meant I was 10 minutes early. I hate that so “faffed” around zeroing the sat nav of all details, till 1800 on the dot before I set off. I know 10 minutes wasted but I need to do things just so.. sad Jeannie calls it!!!

One problem with a mobile phone tracker app is people can call you on the mobile, not good!

Heading down the M1 the mobile rings.

“Hello, can I speak to Mr Walton please?”

“You are”

“Can I speak to Mr Walton?”

“This is Mr Walton”

“This is Sanita from A**a, is it convenient to speak about your car insurance”

“Not really I’m riding my bike”

“Oh sorry, shall I call tomorrow?”

“Yes but make it after 6”

“OK, sorry to have bothered you”

The ride down to Dover was a breeze as I’ve done it so often. I break down my routes and number them all before uploading to the Sat Nav. This time each section was between 40 and 220 miles in length. So 1 Wooley Edge Services, 2  Leicester Services,  3 Shell Dover, 4 Sh**, 4, 4, OH here we go. Straight line to Clackets, how strange. It told me how far and arrival time but gave me no directions. Anyway no time to hang around so off I set. The Garmin had decided not to show me directions at all, which was bizarre & very un nerving I’d just have to do it from memory. Just before Clacket Services Eastbound on the M25 the route came back on. I was 25 minutes ahead of my time plan, Great.  After a 15 minute break I hit 5 & got the same thing again a straight line to Gordano’s, not happy.

Riding along the M4 I remembered I had uploaded the entire route “Start to Start” so I pumped it in, do you want to navigate to start of route, “the F*** I do” I shouted at it at the same time pressing the screen. Re-routing, great it’s going to work. Then the kick in the gut’s 989 miles to go but what was even worse arrival time 1755 hours FIVE MINUTES TOO LATE”

From being nearly 25 minutes ahead of schedule I was not even going to finish on time, I was GUTTED!!!

The change in my frame of mind was just unreal; I had taken time to factor in 3 Forced Breaks, because I had messed up a ride before feeling like I could ride forever. Know the feeling? To just feeling like I did when I couldn’t finish the National Parks SS2000.

I switched the Sat Nav off!

A quick pit stop at Gordano’s, fuel, loo, drink, snack bar and I was away heading down to Penzance I switched the Sat Nav back on and it took me straight to the Tesco’s, which was closed. Pay by card great and unlike Kendal it worked when the station was closed, strange that anyone reading from Kendal Morrison’s Service Station.

Heading back up from Penzance I followed a guy in a white Mini Cooper S, needless to say we had a little fun and games. He knew every camera all the way back to M5. As he peeled off to the M4 we gave each other a big Thumbs Up. 

“Hello, can I speak to Mr Walton Please?”

“You are”

“Hello Mr Walton, it’s very noisy”

“That’s because I’m STILL riding my bike”

“Is that Mr Walton?”

“Yes, call back later!”

“Sorry I can’t hear you I’ll call back later”

Birmingham was getting really busy with the morning commute which I just filtered through. I did realise one thing just past Birmingham, I had just completed an SS1000 in a little under 15 hours. 

Manchester was full on Commute Mode, it was at this moment I was so chuffed I had opted to leave the panniers off. Bumper to bumper from Kiel Services to just past the M65 junction

“It’s Pete from Astor Ba****man”


“Can I book to come and repair your daughters changing table”

“Sorry I haven’t got my diary with me”

“This is a really bad line”

“I’m on my bike”

“I’ll call back later”

“Make it tomorrow please”

“OK, bye”

Pulling into the services at Glasgow felt good, I was ready for a break as my eyes were stinging. I’d been following a tanker and ever since he had braked or something and a cloud of whatever it was had appeared my eyes had started watering up. The woman who served me asked if I was OK and said I look like I could do with a nap.............. Oh how Little did she know!

Checking the mobile I had to switch the Tracker back on yet again 
as every time someone rings you it switches the damn thing off. (Note to self – BUY A SPOT TRAKER ASAP)

Mooching through Berwick after filling up I realised what a nice town it was and promised myself I will go back there one day if just to have a walk around.

I even stopped off and took a couple of pictures on the way down the coast.

Spilling petrol all over in the rush to fill up and get the End Receipt didn't help. Then asking the Assistant in the garage if she would “Sign my end ride form” made her look as if I’d just said something rude” I’m sure I said “ride form”????? But “all’s well that ends well”. It’s just a matter of waiting now to see if I've done enough!!!

All in all I felt it was a well planned and executed ride with very few problems. The Camel worked a dream, no need for water bottles in the future. The Mobiles Tracker is OK when it stays on that is.

Top tip don’t answer your mobile whilst travelling along the motorway, especially when you don’t have you diary with you.  I can’t help it I worked on the phone for 12 years, 3 rings & it’s driving me mad. I’ve even answered the phones in other peoples businesses to stop the damn thing ringing. You can always take a message!

So that’s a BB1500 to Soest – Done, SS2000 incorporating E2E Gold – Done, BBG1500 – Done!

“So what’s next?”

Middle Earth Mud Bath Next weekend
BIKE Safe Course in Kendal – 13th June
E2E Gold with Dan – 15th  /16th June
RBLR 1000 – 19th  / 20th  June             
RTE Gibraltar  BBG2500 there & BB2500 Back- 25th  / 26th  / 27th June 

Then it’s the BIG ONE

The European End to End – 12th to 19th

2 days ride to NordKapp

3 Days for the EE2E

Then round to Faro for a couple of nights

Back home having covered in the region of  8000 miles in 9 days

Finally October RTE Lithuania for my belated Birthday Ride Out

That’s me DONE! I hope you've enjoyed the read.

As I sit here now in 2013 reading through this report somethings screaming out at me, so much so that I just have to add this footnote.

Riding over 1500 miles within 24 hours is a massive feat of dedication and commitment and should not be taken on lightly, something I now realise this report makes it sound.

Back in 2010 I was on a roll. Nothing was going to get in my way! I was determined to “make my mark” on the Long Distance Riding community. This is blatantly clear to me by my “So what’s next” list at the end of the report.

Amazingly, I did go on to complete all but one of those rides. The European End to End was just one ride too far and has remained uncompleted to this day.

The ride to Gibraltar proved to be more of a test of our friendship than of our ability to ride long distances. Sadly Ron & I only managed a BB2500KM in the 24 hours from Calais to Gibraltar & back up to Alicante rather than the BBGold 2500KM which we had planned. The strain caused us to have a slight disagreement just before our arrival in Gibraltar. Happily it was resolved before our overnight stay near Alicante and the return trip passed without incident.

2010 was an amazing year of riding for Ron & I. We both  racked up no less than 10 Iron Butt Verifiable Rides each earning us both a 2010 Mile Eater Award something we’re both very proud off. Not every ride was completed together, like I’ve written recently “We ride alone to be together” but I personally think we can be proud of our achievements!

IBA UK Mile Eater Award

Add to the above, passing my Institute of Advanced Riders Test in the same year and you will really understand how truly driven I was.

It really does make me realise now what an understanding & supportive wife I have in Jeannie my very own personal “Biker Widow”. 

Thank you so very much “Jeanesous’s” I do truly appreciate your support.

………………Love you too, you are my hero x

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

First Quarter Round Up

Looking in the mirror this morning as I shaved my head, (something I do every two weeks) I could see my Granddad Lunn looking straight back at me.

No surprise really as Jeannie & I had about 30 minutes sleep each last night due to Lilie Rose being a little unwell. Question is, how come Lilie Rose is bright as a button and can’t wait to go to school but we will spend the rest of the day worrying about her? Strange!

I’d just like to get the start of 2013 all squared away in my mind so I can move on as it’s been very eventful yet a little disappointing. Sadly our main carer returned from the Christmas break with the news she would be leaving us at the end of January. It came as quite a shock but after the initial surprise had worn off Jeannie & I decided not to replace her. Life was about to change, dramatically!


The year began much the same as 2012, I visited Derbyshire very early in the month followed by a return trip to lay flowers on my Mum’s grave a week later. This was followed by the IBA RTE & Manc Riders RTE on consecutive weekends. I even got to see the Foggy & Whit “Giving It Gas Tour” in Blackburn with a couple of the Manc Riders which was very entertaining.

The second ride to Derbyshire drove me to set Mr T up for what was about to come, snow! Lots of snow! I published “Sub Zero Set-up” on Keep Britain Biking (KBB) my first KBB Blog of the year. The blog was well received and made a welcome change from the 5 Gold Post Box Blogs which I’d posted last year.

Continental TKC80's Fitted N Working
Thank's to the Lad's at


February started well with another ride around Derbyshire but this time in preparation for a “Guided Tour” of my beloved home county. As Mr T was all geared up for the weather complete with  knobbly tiers I had a fantastic ride. Even if I did end up coming off in the mud!

Sadly the weather turned somewhat nasty for a couple of days before the  planned “Guided Tour” and after an exchange of call’s, texts & emails I cancelled the ride. As fate would have it, on the morning of the ride the snow which was forecast never materialised and the sun came out. I was absolutely gutted! I’d put loads of work into planning a great route, visiting the points of interest I was going to show the lads, test riding the route and posting some interesting photo’s. I even produced route cards for those without sat navs!

Getting an invite from a couple of the lads, who were coming on the ride to Derbyshire, inviting me to join them on a ride out (the very same day as my ride was planned) just tipped me over the top. I chose to call it a day!

The rest of the month was spent writing, first of all it was a second KBB Blog all about Ben entitled “The Future of Biking is inSafe Hands” which I really enjoyed writing. As I’d just spent a little time planning a route to Spain I posted my third KBB Blog, “Route Planning with Raymondo” I was on a role.

To keep busy I made a “Tent Pole Storage Tube” for Mr T out of a plastic tube and some sticky back plastic, proper “Blue Peter Style!"

So much snow, so little time!


The first weekend in March was our first respite weekend since our carer left, and I took the opportunity to ride to Spain for a business trip. To say it was a bit of an adventure does not come close. “I think France Hates Me” was posted on both KBB & my own Blog

As the 7th of March was World Book Day I posted up “Raymondo’s Bike Book List” on both blogs.

What can I say? I love Motorbike Travel Books

Now I come to think about it, I’d been reproducing Blog’s on both sites for sometime. Unbeknownst to me this was causing unforeseen confusion with Google search engine and saw my own Blog take a drop in visitor traffic (hit’s). Luckily ‘A’ was on hand to point out the error of my ways, explaining that if information is reproduced word perfect on two sites Google is unsure which site to point to and so chooses the most prolific. Lesson learned Raymondo!

Ben arrived all the way from Australia on Wednesday the 13th  to collect his bike. Had a coffee, bestowed us with some wonderful presents, loaded his bike and was away to the shipping agent. It was a fond farewell to the KLR 650 and one hell of a round trip for Ben flying in from Australia for 3 days and then back again. He openly admitted the return flight and shipping came to more than his trusty Kawasaki was worth but to him she is priceless. We all wish you well Ben and all the very best for your onward journey.

"Here today, gone tomorrow"
Take it steady Ben

Friday 15th was “Red Nose Day” & I thought I would bury the hatchet and returned to the Manc Riders Site and posted a spoof of the film “Love Actually” “If you were in my position what would you do?” Unfortunately for me, none of the lads had seen the film as many times as I have  and what was meant to be an “Ice breaker” turned into a bit of a disaster. Needless to say I think I have well & truly burned my bridges, which is a shame really but that’s life I guess.

Monday 18th I had a nice ride back around Derbyshire with Oggy who took some fantastic photographs and posted up a great Blog  “Housework? Not today, lets ride!” It was a wonderful day out and about.

Mr T received his 30,000 mile Service and is all set for our next adventure.

We saw March out at the Manchester Bike Show where Ben & I displayed “Trinity” Ben’s 1993 Kawasaki ZXR750 L1. It was a brilliant day with both Jeannie & Lilie Rose getting involved by spending Saturday at the show all together. "It's Show Time!"

A ride Liverpool to sort out the children’s passports turned into a ride to Keswick. Writing  a review for KBB “The Filling Station CafĂ© –Keswick A Bikers Dream” was a brilliant way to see the first quarter out.

If your in the Lake's you just have to check this place out!

Jeannie & I are now caring for Lilie Rose and this has certainly had a massive impact on the amount of time I can spend away from home. However we are really enjoying just getting on with life and taking every day as it comes. So what if Mr T gets a long earned rest!

Life is good and after a nice Easter break down in L’Alfas Del Pi near Altea, we are all getting organised for what the future has in store.

Ben was "ecstatic" when we discovered
The Benidorm Palace

So what do The Wandering Walton’s have planned for the future?


Saturday 27th April – IBA UK European RTE– Avignon France

Sat/Sun 27/28th April – Staffordshire ClassicBike Show


17th/19th May – BMF Rally –Peterborough


7th June - Eddie Izzard – MEN Manchester

21st/23rd June – RBLR1000 –Selby  

Please sponsor Ben & I on our Just Giving Page “The Wandering Walton's RBLR1000 2013"

And that’s us for now. Happy Riding Folk’s!