Master soaked roads

A thou­sand miles a day? That’s just a mini jaunt for this hard­core rid­ing brigade

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Char­lie Lester

How to ride safer and faster in wet con­di­tions

Mo­tor­cy­cle clubs are mag­nif­i­cent in both scope and spe­cial­i­sa­tion – there’s some­thing for ev­ery­one, be they into dis­cussing 1950s Du­catis in Dork­ing or rac­ing rat-bikes in Rut­land. But the mem­bers of the Iron Butt As­so­ci­a­tion all share one very sim­ple in­ter­est: rid­ing a ridicu­lous amount of miles.

A world­wide as­so­ci­a­tion started in the US, the UK branch of longdis­tance lu­natics has been go­ing strong for over 10 years. Ded­i­cated to do­ing in­tense routes of over 1000 miles with names like Sad­dle­sore and Bun­burner, life­time mem­ber­ship is free: but to earn it, can­di­dates must get an IBA Cer­ti­fied ride com­pleted and ver­i­fied, for ex­am­ple rid­ing Land’s End to John O’groats be­tween sun­rise and sun­set.

Mem­bers also at­tend reg­u­lar meets, gen­er­ally monthly, called Ride to Eat. IBA UK Pres­i­dent Phil We­ston, whose first IBA ride was Bris­tol to Bu­dapest in 24 hours, ex­plains the so­cial side of lone long-dis­tance rid­ing. “The club is fan­tas­tic, with friend­ship and sup­port from like­minded bik­ers. But when you ride such dis­tances it’s dif­fi­cult to find a pace that suits ev­ery­body and their need to stop or re­fuel, so we ride alone to be to­gether. Some­one picks a place to eat and when we’ll meet, and peo­ple come from all over to be there.

“You don’t have to be a mem­ber to come along – any­one can or­gan­ise one on the IBA fo­rum. But once peo­ple come a few times they see how we pre­pare and ride, learn a bit from us, then want to join up and do it safely rather than badly. One of our slo­gans is ‘all the gear, all the time’ – we never go any­where with­out proper kit. If you ride long dis­tance reg­u­larly, you’re vul­ner­a­ble.”

As well as the UK Rides to Eat, there are Euro­pean jaunts ev­ery other month. This Fe­bru­ary, for ex­am­ple, as­so­ci­a­tion mem­bers are lunch­ing in Lux­em­bourg, then scoff­ing in San Marino in April.

The rough plan is al­ways the same – meet at the des­ti­na­tion at 4pm on Satur­day, take a pic­ture, stay the night and ride back on Sun­day. Th­ese aren’t two-week trips or leisurely hol­i­days – they go for a week­end and are back at work on Mon­day morn­ing.

‘Once peo­ple see how we ride they want to join up’

Th­ese guys are all about big, big mileages (and hav­ing a great lunch when you ar­rive)

They’ve just popped out to visit Moet & Chan­don

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