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.

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