Sunday, 20 April 2014

VIP at Croft NEMCRC meet

Hi everyone,

As batman would say... HOLY SMOKES.... (would he?) its only 5 weeks until I set off! Wowza.... hasn't that come around fast.

Arctic Ride has now turned into an obsession, full time job, and mistress (as Kirsty calls it) all rolled into one. I've been sending out press releases, conducting interviews of experts for my film, prepping the bike, buying equipment, meeting with sponsors, and being interviewed myself for radio stations and newspapers. Very busy indeed. I knew this was coming though and all the hard work of the past 12 months is really paying of and I'm getting very excited to set off.

I'll be departing for the Arctic on 24th of May from St Mary's lighthouse in my hometown of Whitley Bay in the North East of England. If you are local and want to come and see me off then please find the details on facebook here.

St Mary's Lighthouse - Where I will start my journey
As well as the preparations stated above, I've been very busy with my sponsors raising awareness for my trip. At the start of the month I was invited to the NEMCRC race meet at the Croft circuit as special guest. NEMCRC (North East MotorCycle Racing Club) are sponsors of Arctic Ride 2014 and have been a great support in raising awareness for my ride and Cerebra. To find out more visit the NEMCRC website.

Being a special guest meant that I had exclusive access at the race meet where usually only officials would be allowed. I was invited into the race office to sit with the Clark of the course to get a great view of the circuits and starting line. I was also given access to the time recording team, and I was interviewed by the course commentator and given an unrivaled view of the circuit from the commentary box. However the best part of the day was being given the honour of presenting the race winners with their trophies at the end of the day.

Race meet at Croft

Big thanks to Newcastle photographer, Allinson's Photography for the pictures from the event.

Thanks for reading the blog! Its all getting very real that I'm departing now but I still need your help.

You can share my story by getting people to like my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/arcticride

And if you have donated but would like to visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/arcticride2014 or click the button below.



Ride safe!

Gordon



Sunday, 6 April 2014

BBC and PicklePoo

Hi everyone,

Well... the clocks have changed, its April, and I've had my hair cut... and suddenly its NEXT MONTH that I'm setting off on my 6,000 mile solo endurance motorbike challenge to the Arctic Circle in aid of brain injury charity Cerebra.

******48 days to go ******


It feels really weird that after over 12 months of planning my trip is just around the corner... and I've still got a shed load to prepare and do before the trip.



This week I've been a busy bee and I was invited into BBC Radio Newcastle to get interviewed about my trip for the drive time show with local journalism royalty (no not Colin Briggs) Jon  Harle.

Being interviewed by Jon from BBC Newcastle
You can here the interview here from 38:15 which will be available until Tuesday 8th April 2014.

Big thanks to Jon, BBC Newcastle, and MPH studios for coming to film the interview for my documentary.


Secondly this week I've had some amazing support on social media from my twitter biker buddy PicklePoo. A keen support of my ride, she has taken into her own hands to help raise more funds for Cerebra by raffling off her motorbike helmet. All you have to do to enter is watch the video below and buy on of my arctic ride wristbands.



Big thanks to PicklePoo for her help. Competition closes 23.59 on 30th April.

Thanks for reading and supporting my trip. If you would like to join me at my start to see me off on the 24th May in Whitley Bay - click on this facebook event link.

If you would like to donate to Cerebra for my trip please visit the link below.

www.virginmoneygiving.com/arcticride2014

Ride safe.

Gordon


In my next blog.... VIP guest at NEMCRC race meet at Croft...






Monday, 17 March 2014

Nomad Biker - Adventure travel survival training

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the latest Arctic Ride 2014 blog. In May and June of this year I'm riding 6000 miles from Newcastle in the UK to Nordkapp in Norway, the most Northerly point in Europe.

***** 68 days to go *****


So a few weeks ago (sorry for the slow updates) I took part in an Adventure travel survival training weekend curiosity of the chaps at Nomad-Biker Ltd.

Nomad-Biker is an adventure travel consultancy set up by Stuart, a former British commando who has served in front line units and seen active service all over the world. The team is made up of paramedics, close protection operators, mechanics, and survival experts. With Stuart's passion for bikes and the team's military background Nomad-Biker give the best arduous environment training for adventure travel trips like mine to the Arctic.

Gordon, Cameraman Ant, Steph, Stu (Nomad Biker)
Stu from Nomad-Biker contacted me back in 2013 and offered me a free place on one of their courses to help me be prepared for everything the Arctic has to throw at me. Also on the course I attended was Steph who is about to undertake a round the world bike trip on a Honda CRF 250L, and my cameraman and  bike buddy Ant.

Map work with Stu
Day 1 of the course started with some map work which took me back to my days with the URNU in the navy reserve. I won't be using any GPS on my phone and when I get further North I'll be coming off the main roads so being able to navigate using a map an compass is key. I also learned to use my watch and the sun to navigate (THIS ONLY WORKS WITH A ANALOG WATCH, not with a digital one or an iphone).


As I'll be doing as much 'wild camping' as possible on my trip, the second half of the day was all about shelter and fire building. Even though I'll be taking my little tent with me on my trip when I'm in the Norwegian woodland I want to make the most of the opportunity to camp Ray Mear's style and build my own shelter. I guess I'll see how sore my backside is and how tired I am as to whether this comes off in the Arctic but I really hope it does!

Also in this part of the course I learned how to use the bike as a survival tool such as building a fire using the airfilter as kindling. I REALLY hope I don't get into this position as I really like my bike.


Day 2 was all around the medical side of my trip and what I can do if I get myself into trouble or I come across anyone else who needs assistance. I was given a crash course on everything from broken bones and  severe bleeds to getting a bad stomach and dehydration. 


I feel confident that this part of the course has really sunk in as the other night I had a dream that some Russian militants took control of my office and injured one of my colleagues. However I stressed "do not fear! I've been on my Nomad-Biker course and that chap needs a tourniquet to stop him bleeding" if that's not proof it has been worth it then I'm not sure what will.

All in all it was a great and very informative weekend and that has given a great grounding in adventure trave; survival from the best in the business.

If you are interested in taking a course please visit www.nomad-biker.com 


Merchandise 

Also in the  past few weeks my Arctic Ride merchandise has been flying off the shelves! Big thanks to everyone who has bought items so far. All the profits made from these items go to Cerebra and this week alone we're closing in on £50 for the charity. If you haven't bought already please take a look at the items on my merchandise page.


Thanks for reading and supporting my trip! If you can please donate to Cerebra using the link below.

Click on the Virgin Money image below to donate.


Ride safe!

Gordon


Sunday, 23 February 2014

The house of the rising total

Hey everyone,

Welcome to the latest Arctic Ride 2014 blog!

*****90 days to go*****

This week has been VERY exciting in the world of Arctic Ride 2014 and some big news indeed.

Bikewise

Firstly, I found out on Friday evening that the Bikewise team have pledged £500 towards my fund for Cerebra for the trip which is amazing and will go a long way to helping me hit my £2,500 target for the trip.


Big thanks and shout-out to Gary Emerson and Bob Brown who fought my corner and argued my case to the Bikewsie team to help my trip. This is a massive boost and I'll remember this moment when I'm freezing my but off in the Arctic in May.

Check out what Bikewise is about on their website and follow them on twitter.

Also, check out my blog and video from when I attended the BikeWise event in 2013.

Hewlett Packard


I also got the great news that my employer, Hewlett Packard, will be supporting me through their employee money match scheme. So the next £175 that I raise they will match, thus doubling whatever you donate. And on that note it would be great if you could support my trip by donating will 100% of proceeds going straight to Cerebra. 

Click on the Virgin Money image below to donate.


 With the additions above and some recent donations my total is now looking very positive. 


But I still need donations from my followers and readers to help me reach my target. Please give what you can to help brain injured children like my little brother Robbie.


Ride safe!

Gordon


Thursday, 13 February 2014

100 Days to go

*****100 Days Until Lift Off*****

Wow... OK ladies and gents... It's only 100 days until I leave for the Arctic. It seems like yesterday that I started planning my second attempt on the Arctic and now its coming up very very soon. It almost feels as thought I could be doing this as a full time job but I already have one of those.

In the next 100 days I need to:
  • Get the bike serviced, new tyres, new brake pads.
  • Get a tent and any new camping equipment that I need.
  • Get another sponsor on board to help with the trip funding.
  • Get my helmet resprayed Arctic Ride style.
  • List what I'm going to take with me.
  • Half that list so it will fit on the bike.
  • Get Andrew Pain (author of Going Small: A guide to Lightweight Motorcycling) to cut my half list in half.
  • Download some songs and audio-books for the iPod.
  • Interview with BBC Radio Newcastle.
  • Complete my Arctic Survival training with Nomad-Biker.
  • Get Kirsty (my wife) to complete Home Survival training (fuse box, change light-bulbs, work Sky-Go)
  • Book ferry's
  • Buy maps
  • Finalize route
  • Interview friends, family, and experts for the Arctic Ride film.  
Well after writing that list it seems there is even more to do than I remember... and that's if everything goes to plan. I know from my last trip, when my engine stopped working 2 days prior to departure, that I will be very lucky if nothing crops up before the trip.

Alongside all this planing I've got some very fun, Arctic Ride related events to attend.

3rd - 4th March - Nomad-Biker training

At the start of March I'll be heading to the wilds of Lancashire to prepare for the Arctic environment with Nomad-Biker, a team of ex Commando, Paramedic, Close Protection Operations, Mechanics, and Survival experts, who will teach me how to deal with all the bad parts of adventure travel should they arise.

Artist's impression of me in a homemade shelter

While the countries I am visiting aren't quite war-torn, because of the remoteness of the roads I'll be riding and the regions I'll be travelling in there is every chance I could get in to a potential situation where I would need some survival skills. When you take into account the random nature of the weather in the Arctic (even in late spring / early summer when I travel) means I'll need all the help I can get.

30th March - NEMCRC @ Croft

After attending the NEMCRC Annual Dinner the club have continually been looking for ways to support my trip. Chairman Mick kindly offered me to show off the bike at the Croft motor circuit on the first NEMCRC race meet of the year at the end of March. This is going to be a great way to get my trip out to the wider biking public. Not only will I be showing off the bike and collecting donations but I've also been given the chance to do a lap of the track on my GSX650F which I'm not going to turn down.



16-18th May - Monkey Meet

Since planning my trip I've met some awesome people on social media (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook) who have been great support. No more so than the motovloggers/monkeymeeters. I've been wanting to meet up with these guys and gals for a while and when they announced their annual biker meet up in Nottingham I knew I needed to go and luckily it wasn't when I was away on my trip (that would be been difficult) but it is the weekend before I go. I know that sounds pretty mad but I figure I need to get the bike warmed up for the coldness for the Arctic and the 200 mile journey to Nottingham will certainly be a good introduction to endurance riding that my backside will need.



So in conclusion I got a ton of sh*t to do before I depart. But I know it will all be worth it when I'm away riding in the Arctic.

I want to finish by saying a special thank you to all the people who have supported me so far in my last trip and the planning of the 2014 chapter to Arctic Ride.No more so than my wife Kirsty who has put up with me and my bike-love for the past few years. From me crashing my bike in the Arctic ion 2011, to loosing weekends at bike rallies when she could be shopping or hanging out with friends, she has been the biggest support and was the one who told me to go out there and chase my dreams when it would have been far easier for her to have sat back. Although a part of me thinks that she'd be happy not to have to watch Match of the Day for 3 weeks in a row (although what she doesn't know is that the football season is finished by then and the world cup starts the weekend I get back :D - haha).

If you think what I'm doing is a big challenge then please donate to my trip fund with 100% of the money going to Cerebra. £1, £5, £10, £100. Whatever you can afford all will be gratefully reciveved by Cerebra and will encourage me and keep my spirits up on the trip. My target is £2,500. Click here or on the button below to donate.


Thank you and ride safe.

Gordon



Sunday, 9 February 2014

NEMCRC Annual dinner

Hi everyone,

Thanks for tuning in to my blog for my charity motorbike trip to the Arctic. On May 24th I'll be setting off on the 6000 mile journey to Arctic Norway and back armed with my motorbike, a tent, a camera, and not much else. And why am I doing this? Well I've asked myself the same question many times but I am doing it to raise funds and awareness for brain injury charity Cerebra.

Since my last blog I've been a busy lad. The highlight of the past few weeks has certainly been attending the NEMCRC annual dinner as a special guest.
Showing off the bike at the NEMCRC dinner
You can check out the full photo album on my facebook page. If you haven't already please like my page to keep up to date with all the on-goings and preparation for the trip.

As I was attending the dinner and it wasn't subzero I got the camera out and recorded a quick vlog. Annoyingly it missed off some footage but its still a good one. Check it out below or click here.



It was great to be invited along to the dinner and show off the bike to all the racing club members. The reception I received was amazing and there were plenty of generous donations going straight to Cerebra.

Well it's only 104 days until I set off so I'm preparing an extra special blog for the '100 days to go' mark so please stop by then to check it out.

Please keep sharing my story and if you would like to donate please click on the Running Total below:


Remember
100% of the money goes to charity Cerebra.

Ride safe.

Gordon


Sunday, 19 January 2014

125 days to go

Hi,

It only feels like yesterday that is was a year until I was due to depart for the Arctic. That means it must have been this morning that it felt like it was 200 days to go, and now its only 125 days to go... I'm not looking forward to how many days it will be tomorrow (although judging by the way time passes it will be 124 days).

I still have so much work to plan my trip but its feels like its really starting to come together. This week I've been working on the priority scenes for the filming of my trip. While I can't predict what will happen when I am away, having done solo bike trip before, most notably my last attempt on the Arctic, I have a good idea about the kind of things I'll be getting up to. By splitting this down I've put together a rather large 'to-do' list to keep the ball rolling on my preparations.

Hopefully you were able to read my blog last week from Iceland (if not click here to read). I did a vlog while I was away also but I had a few technical issues. I'll have to iron these out before I set off for the Arctic but I've still got time to practice. I finally have the Iceland vlog up on YouTube so please give it a watch, even if its just to see my super warm hat :)

Check the video below (2mins) or if viewing on a mobile click here.




Another part of the planning I've been looking into this week is how I'm going to use my mobile phone abroad to keep you all updated on my progress. I was lucky in Iceland in that every cafe, bar, shop, restaurant, and my hotel had free WiFi but then again I was in the capital city and the Icelanders are kind like that. I know from past experience that being on the road is a lot more tricky and that the only places that seem to have WiFi are McDonald's and some campsite.

I've got a few options to try and counter this and save me a few bob. The first is to buy a Pay as you Go sim for the countries I'm visiting and use the credit to update social media and my blog. Second option is to use boosters on my current phone. While the second option would be a lot more convenient, at nearly £3 a MB (that's about 20 emails send without attachments) I'll end up handing over my pension fund to T-Mobile at the end of trip to pay for it. So option 1 one is more realistic but I'll need to choose wisely which of the 9 countries I get a sim for so I don't waste money.

Where I'll be heading in Europe
I'd love to hear from anyone who has used a foreign sim while abroad for any advice. Please comment below or tweet me @arcticride2014

Shout out to Chris, Paula, and Gary who have donated in the past few weeks. And MASSIVE THANK YOU to all who have donated so far. This has taken my total to over £700 for Cerebra which is over 28% of my target! Woohoo!

Please keep sharing my story and if you would like to donate please click on the Running Total below:


Remember
100% of the money goes to charity Cerebra.

That's all for this week.

Ride safe.

Gordon