Thursday, 8 February 2018

The Arctic Rider Motorbike Raffle

Hello and welcome to The Arctic Rider blog,

I'm very pleased to announce the launch of The Arctic Rider Motorbike Raffle, supporting Tiny Lives Trust and my Arctic Ride Alaska fundraising.

We have 13 great motorbike related prizes worth over £800!! Check out the prizes below and buy a ticket. All money raised goes to Tiny Lives Trust and is part of my Arctic Ride Alaska fundraising.


  • Shark Spartan helmet (in choice of black or white) - RRP £299.99
  • Frank Thomas Stealth Textile Jacket (XL-46) - RRP £139.99
  • RST Tour Master II Jacket (XL-46) - RRP £119.99
  • DFDS Seaways UK-France return crosssing for Car/Bike up-to 9 people
  • VisorCat Wash/wipe system - RRP £34.99
  • Book - Into Africa: Africa by Motorcycle - Every Day an Adventure - RRP £13.99 - 4 available
  • Arctic Ride 2014 DVD - RRP £10 - 4 available

Each ticket costs £2.50

To buy a ticket for this raffle please make a donation at least £2.50 to The Just Giving Page (click here to enter). All donations must be made in denominations of £2.50. 

Once your donation has gone through, tick the box alongside “I'm happy to be contacted by ". Justgiving can then share your contact details with me and I can send you your ticket number. Please keep this in a safe place!

The raffle will be drawn on the 19th May 2018. For more details please see T&Cs below and visit.

A huge thank you to Devitt InsuranceJ&S AccessoriesCustom LidsDFDS SeawaysVisorcat, and Sam Manicom for donating prizes to the raffle.

For more details please see the T&Cs at 

Good luck and ride safe.

The Arctic Rider

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Raffle, route(s), & recapitulation

Greetings and Happy New Year to you all!

How is it 2018 already? The years seems to be flying by... Its mad to think its coming up 4 years since I did my Arctic Ride to Nordkapp! The world needs to slow down a bit.

2018 means it's finally time for me to say "This year I'd heading to Alaska to take on The Dalton Highway"... How easy it rolls off the tongue... anxiety levels are starting to raise and the realization of what I have committed to do is starting to sink in. Its one of the things I live for but doing these rides, solo, takes a lot of fortitude and self belief. I must say the thought of leaving my wife and 2 young kids for a few weeks isn't the easiest either. Huge thanks to my wife Kirsty for supporting my dreams, this charity project, and for the weeks of stress she'll go through looking after the little nippers while I'm away.

I'm very pleased to say that plans for Alaska are starting to progress although with only 148 days until my departure date I really needed to start making some progress. As per my last blog, I thought the below was a quick and easy way to summarize where I am at with the planning,

THE BIKE - Hiring a bike is now out of the question for this year and my eggs are firmly in the  'major motorcycle manufacturer' basket to get a bike for the ride. I got an updated quote from the hire company in Alaska and the bike I was planning to rent is now out of service in 2018. Alongside this exchange rates changes haven't helped and as I'm self funded, I can no longer afford the hire prices for a bigger bike style (and even if I could the ratio between the cost of the trip and the fundraising target starts to become very unbalanced). The good news is that the motorcycle manufacturer has confirmed that support for me is in their budget for this year and we're now working through logistics of getting a bike. This will either be supplied in the US or shipped over from the UK... watch this space!

THE DATE- I still don't know exactly the dates I will be heading to Alaska due to the bike situation. I've set a tentative date of 1st June for my departure.. 148 days to go... This way it I should miss the road repair season the Dalton but (hopefully) the weather will have started to turn and it won't be sub-zero for the whole journey.

THE ROUTE - As per my 'The Bike' update it looks like I'll either collect a bike in the USA or have one flown over from the UK. If I collect the bike in the USA the plan would be to fly into Anchorage and pick it up there. If the bike is shipped from the UK then I could end up linking up with the bike in Anchorage, Vancouver, or Calgary.

If its one of the Canadian cities my route, daily and total mileage will significantly change.

As you can see, if I have to join the bike in Canada, I'll end up doubling my total mileage and my daily mileage too. Unfortunately I don't have an unlimited time slot to do the ride, so a Canada start would mean only a few extra days on the road but a significant uplift in the challenge.


So that is the update on my planning progress. As I mentioned in my last blog, I will soon be launching the first Arctic Rider Biker Raffle. You will be able to buy raffle tickets online through my VirginMoneyGiving page. Full entry details and T&Cs to follow. All tickets sales will go directly to charity. I'm still waiting on final confirmation of prizes but so far we have...

Current donatees and prizes

  • Devitt Insurance - Brand new helmet (make to be confirmed)
  • Visorcat - Visorcat helmet wash/wipe system - RRP £34.99
  • Custom Lids - prize to be confirmed
  • J & S Accessories - Frank Thomas Stealth Textile Jacket - RRP £139.99
  • Sam Manicom - x8 Adventure Travel Book 'Into Africa' signed by its acclaimed author Sam Manicom - RRP £13.99


Keep and eye out for the big launch.

That is it for this time. Thanks, as always, for all the love and support. And for the recent donations for 2 very worthy causes.

If you'd like to donate to the charities, securely and safely, please visit my Virgin Money Giving page or click on the image below.

Ride safe,


Thursday, 9 November 2017

All good things come to those who wait...

Ahoy there!

Welcome to The Arctic Rider blog!

Last month I launched my Great Arctic Motorbike Challenge. If I'm going to achieve this mammoth challenge I need to get back to focusing on my next challenge, Arctic Ride Alaska: Riding the Dalton.

So where are we at with the ride planning for Alaska, which is now only 8 months away. Well I still don't have a lot confirmed but I'm holding out to see what options become available. Lets break it down.

  • THE BIKE - This holds the key to the whole ride at the moment. I'm still in discussions with a major motorcycle manufacturer to provide me a bike for the ride. If it all comes together it would be a dream come true. As you can imagine though, this is a very complicated process and there is still a lot to sort out. If this doesn't come together, I'll arrange to hire a bike from Anchorage.
  • THE DATE- I still don't know exactly the dates I will be heading to Alaska due to the bike situation. The plan is still to complete the ride in early June 2018. This way it I should miss the road repair season the Dalton but (hopefully) the weather will have started to turn and it won't be sub-zero for the whole.
  • THE ROUTE - get to the Dalton. This depends mainly on the bike. If the bike come through from the bike manufacturer, there are a number of places I may have to pick up the bike. Plan A would be from Anchorage itself, but this could be any of the big cities in the North West of the USA or Canada. 
Even though there is still a lot to confirm, I do have some things nailed on for the preparations for the ride which is really positive.

  1. In mid-November I'll be heading to Motorcycle Live at the NEC in Birmingham to meet up with other bikers and promote my trip. If you are going to be there on the Wednesday and want to say hello, please get in touch via my Facebook or Twitter pages
  2. In February I'll be heading to Argyll and to the MotoScotland Adventure Bike school to do 2-days off road training to prepare me for Alaska. This is going to give me a big indication how hard the ride is going to be. And hopefully the Scottish weather will play ball and simulate some of the conditions I'm likely to face in Northern Alaska (That's cold, wet, and windy for those who don't know).
  3. Arctic Rider Alaska Raffle - In the new year I'l be launching the a raffle to support my fundraising. Big shout out to Devitt Insurance who have already agreed to donate a brand new helmet to the raffle. Look out for me announcing some of the other great prizes on offer and how to enter (all funds will go to the charities).
So there is a lot going on and as soon as the bike, date, or route are confirmed I'll let you all know.

If you'd like to donate to the charities, securely and safely, please visit my Virgin Money Giving page or click on the image below.

Thanks for reading, ride safe, and I'll maybe see some of you in Birmingham later in the month.


Friday, 13 October 2017

The Great Arctic Motorbike Challenge


Thanks for checking out The Arctic Rider blog.

Whilst I'm planning for my Alaska challenge next year (June 2018) I've also been letting my mind wonder into the future of The Arctic Rider post-Alaska... and, well, I think I've managed the build a monster that is going to keep me busy (and penniless) for a long time..



The Great Arctic Motorbike Challenge is a personal ambition to cross The Arctic Circle in every country possible by motorbike.

I've set no time limit for this challenge.

The land within the Arctic Circle is divided among eight countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, the United States (Alaska), Canada (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) Denmark (Greenland), and Iceland (where it passes through the small offshore island of Grímsey).

I'm currently sitting at 1 of 8. Lots of work to do...

This is how I plan to complete it and become the undisputed Arctic Rider.

Norway - Completed 2014

As part of my Arctic Ride 2014 I crossed the Arctic Circle in Norway on Saturday 31st of May 2014. You can read about it in my blog post here. 

Arctic Circle Norway, 2014
USA (Alaska) - Due 2018

In 2018 I plan to take on The Dalton Highway in Alaska which will see me cross the Arctic Circle during the ride. Read more about 'Arctic Ride Alaska'.

Sweden - date tbc

I plan to take on Sweden, Finland, and Russia in one go. I'm frustrated with myself that in 2014 I was so relatively close to crossing the Arctic Circle in these countries when in Norway. I was due to come home from Nordkapp via Sweden and Finland but a large storm and some tasty mountain roads took me back West into Finnmark (read all about that decision from during the trip here)

So the plan is to tie the Arctic crossings of Sweden, Finland, and Russia with a future Iron Butt challenge (to read about my first Iron Butt challenge click here). That future Iron Butt challenge is to complete the European End to End challenge which to to ride from Gibraltar to Nordkapp in under 72 hours... madness I'm sure you will agree. As part of this ride I'll come up through Eastern Sweden and pass the Arctic Circle on route to Nordkapp, one ticketed off.

Even if I don't make it within the 72 hours (I'm REALLY hoping to), I'll still finish at Nordkapp which will allow me to head South East to Murmansk in Russia where I can head South to cross the Arctic Circle. One Russia is ticked I'll head West in Finland where I'll turn North to cross the Arctic Circle for probably the 3rd time in 3 days, completing all the Baltic countries on the list.

Finland - date tbc

**See Sweden above**

Russia - date tbc

**See Sweden above**

Canada (The Dempster Highway) - date tbc

To cross the Arctic Circle in Canada isn't too far from my plans for riding The Dalton Highway in Alaska, only 1,000kms East. To reach the Arctic Circle in Canada I'd have to take on another notorious Ice Road in The Dempster Highway, 457 miles of dirt and ice.

The Arctic Circle on The Dempster Highway
To get there I could fly my bike to Vancouver and ride the 4,000kms North to The Dempster, Arctic circle, and ultimately Inuvik in far Northern Canada. Or I could fly to Vancouver or Anchorage, rent an off road bike, and head up to The Dempster. Either way its going to be expensive... but what an Adventure.

Iceland - date tbc

Iceland is another tricky one. Whilst Iceland gets very cold (hence the name) it only has a tiny piece of land above the Arctic Circle on the Northern Isle of Island of Grímsey (total area of only 2sq mi).

To get there I'll have to get myself and my bike to Iceland (currently a 3 day ferry from Denmark via the Faroe Islands as the best option) and then ride around almost the whole of Iceland to the northern village of Dalvik to catch a 3 hour ferry to Grímsey. Then when I get there I'm literally going to ride less than a mile to pass the Arctic Circle, grab some lunch, and turn around back to the ferry again. I'd imagine if I go to all of this effort to get to Iceland I'd also be going a full tour of Iceland (it would be rude not to, right?).

The other option is to fly to Reykjavik and hire a bike... either way its going to be an expensive trip to tick this one off the list.

Denmark (Greenland) - date tbc

And then there was Greenland. The transportation system in Greenland is very unusual in that Greenland has no railways, no inland waterways, and virtually no roads between towns. Historically the major means of transportation has been by boat around the coast in summer and by dog sled in winter. Hmmm.

Sisimiut, Greenland
 I'm not going to be able to actually cross the Arctic Circle in Greenland due to the extreme remote location but I will be able to take on 'The Arctic Circle Trail' in Western Greenland. I'm also not going to be able to do it by motorbike (I don't think) but I will be able to do it by snowmobile!! So I'll be flying into Kangerlussuaq where I'll pick up a snowmobile and ride east 150km along The Arctic Circle Trail to Sisimiut. I'll probably combine the trip with some other activities while I'm there before heading back to Kangerlussuaq and flying home.

Snowmobile in Greenland
Greenland is definitely the craziest of all the attempts but as I write this I'm thinking if would be an amazing way to complete the Arctic Octo-Challenge :)

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Great North Run 2017

Greetings from the Arctic Rider,

On this blog, for once, I'll be steering away from my motorbike exploits and talking about some other fundraising I have been doing. Don't worry, I'll soon be updating you all on where I am at with planning for my Arctic Ride Alaska next year :)

Last week I completed my second Great North Run. For those of you that don't know, The Great North Run is an annual half-marathon held in the North East of England. The 13.1 mile course starts in Newcastle upon Tyne and finishes on the East Coast at South Shields. The run is known worldwide and this year had over 57,000 participants, including yours truly.

The Great North Run course
Now I'm not really a big runner but in recent years I've started running a lot more because:

a) Its cheaper than the gym (more money for motorbike parts)
b) You need less time to pop out for a run (having two young children this really makes a difference + more time to ride my motorbike)
c) Its just about the only time during a week I'm not buzzing around either at work, or looking after the kids, or planning my next motorbike adventure.
d) It has stopped me becoming a 'fat-dad' (a big fear of mine).
e) I find it very relaxing and stress-busting.
f) Its keeping me in shape for my upcoming motorbike adventures.

Putting in a brave face after an 8mile training run

This year I ran to raise money for Tiny Lives Trust (see 'The Charities' page for more information) who for those who have read the blog before will know is very close to my heart.

Rather than have a separate donation page open, I rolled this up into my Arctic Ride Alaska donation page for those those who think taking on one of the worlds most dangerous roads warrants donation, but me slugging myself 13.1miles along the tarmac of the North East does. Thank you to all those who donated during and after the run this year!! You can still donate by clicking here!

Hanging out at the Radio Tyneside studio

I was lucky enough to spend the afternoon of my birthday at the end of August in the award winning Radio Tyneside studio chatting to Dave Nicholson MBE about my training for the run and my preparations for Alaska 2018.

The run itself took place on the 10th of September. The weather was cool with a light westerly wind (perfect for running) but at the start line I felt very anxious about the race ahead. My training this year wasn't where I wanted it to be. I had a string of successive annoying little injuries; A shoulder strain, painful hip flexor (a previous football injury), and a still unresolved recurring chest muscle pull (which is aggravated by running, playing football, and riding motorbikes... typical). Even though I have ran 2 previous half-marathons, this season the most I had managed was 8 miles which, coupled with my injury, caused my anxious thoughts of "Am I actually going to be able to do this".

I decided the best policy was to take a slow and consistent pace from the off and then when I got to 8 miles see how I felt and when it was time to move on. I also had my secret weapon (a whisper chocolate bar) which I would also unleash at mile 8.

I made it to mile 8 at my set pace, ate my whisper, and carried on. It wasn't until around mile 11, once the sugary goodness from my chocolate had hit my blood stream, I decided to up my pace and go for it. The run was so busy however, with me weaving between other runners and getting cut up by an ambulance (annoying, right? :P), that I soon realised I'd left it too late and that I wasn't going to make up much time.

I ended up setting a great pace for my last few miles, setting a personal best half marathon time of 2hr 27m 52s but looking back I know I could have upped my pace earlier to get an even better time.

At the Tiny Lives runners tent with my medal

It was a fantastic experience to do the run! I had amazing support at home from my wife Kirsty, and little Islay and Hugo who I was running for. If anyone is thinking of doing a run for charity, fitness, or any other reason, my advice would be... Just do it!

As the famous saying goes "The hardest step of any journey is the first".

Peace out. We'll be back to motorbikes in the next blog.

Ride/run safe.


Monday, 31 July 2017

Why is the Dalton so dangerous?

Welcome to The Arctic Rider blog,

Its now less than a year until I start my quest to conquer The Dalton Highway in Alaska, one of the worlds' most dangerous roads.

The new 'Arctic Ride Alaska' poster
I've still got a lot of planing to do and I've been working away in the background to get a lot of things firmed up, but I probably won't know the key parts of the trip, such as the exact dates I'll be going and the bike I'll be riding, until the Autumn. Anything I know before then I'll be staring with all you loyal readers of my blog.

In this blog, I'll be covering why The Dalton Highway is so dangerous, and why I'm hoping you will share some of your very hard earned Pounds (and other currencies for non-UK readers) in exchange for the danger and suffering I'll be putting myself in next year.

Firstly though, I must say a huge thanks to an unnamed Devitt Insurance employee who very kindly donated their employee-of-the month prize to The Arctic Ride fund for Tiny Lives and Cerebra. Great stuff!

If you would like to donate please click here. Any donation, no matter how small (or big for that matter) is appreciated.

So, the reason you are reading... whats so dangerous about this Dalton Highway then? Hopefully from my previous blogs you will have had some info as to why this ride and the road in particular are going to be so challenging.

Well firstly this isn't just a normal road built to get from A to B. It was started in the mid-1970s to support the recently built Trans-Alaska oil pipeline. The road was private for 3 decades, used by oil company trucks and personnel, until 1994 when it was graveled and opened to the public. Since then a long term project has been underway to 'pave' the road which is only half completed. The 'paving' is a significantly lower standard than most modern roads and is still a significant challenge.


Due to Alaska and The Dalton being in the extreme North and within the Arctic Circle, the weather is cold and volatile. The climate range from subarctic to polar. During the summer months (Jun-Aug), the temperatures range from 21°C to 2°C, showing that most weather conditions aren't off limits.

Wiki Travel quote: "Weather is an important factor to add into Dalton Highway Trip calculations. Remember, this is the Arctic! During the summer it is very possible to encounter heavy snow while driving through the Brooks Range via Atigun Pass. Drive with extreme caution on the windy mountain roads. The gravel can be very slippery, especially in rain or snow."

In Deadhorse, at the summit of The Dalton, the Mean Minimum temperature in June (when I'll be travelling) is -3.4°C with the record low being -8°C. I best pack my thermals!

North of the Arctic Circle (Mile 115), there are 24 hours of daylight in the summer a. In Deadhorse the longest "day" is 63 days, 23 hours, 40 minutes (12:09AM on 20 May to 11:18PM 22 Jul);

Snow on the Dalton Highway, Alaska

The wildlife in Alaska is diverse and captivating. Bald Eagles, Moose, Walrus... oh and Bears! There are more than 50,000 black bears and 35,000 brown bears living in Alaska’s untamed wilderness  The Dalton Highway passes through territory of the Grizzly bear (largest species of brown bear). Grizzly bear attacks are almost always defensive, whereas black bear attacks are predatory. I've been advised by several locals to travel with a gun for protection... WOW!

Polar bears also live in Alaska and can roam the North Slope near coastal areas, although they generally stay close to the ocean. Polar bears are massive, stealthy (and in darkness, not very discernible from the snow), and dangerous, although far more shy than grizzly bears.

The Grizzly Bear
Wiki Travel quote: "You cannot learn enough about bear safety in this region."


Phil Freeman, Veteran of 10+ rides up the Dalton Highway "Every year motorcyclists are killed on the Dalton Highway. Almost half of the highway is paved or chip sealed. The other half can be smooth or baseballs. There are relatively no places to stop along the way: no gas, no convenient stores, no McDonalds. There are stretches of up to 245 miles without gas. You are literally riding through pristine wilderness.  Welcome to the food chain."  

A wide variety of different road surfaces will be encountered on the Dalton. The beginning 100 miles are said to be the worst (pothole wise), but that may just be the time it takes to get acclimated to road conditions. This surface is gravel/dirt and is littered with a landscape of craters and potholes that will often slow your pace down to the 10mph mark, or destroy your suspension.

There are 2 mountain passes, including The Brooks Range which is frequented by blizzards, windy, and prone to snow even in July!
Atigun Pass, The Brooks Range, Alaska

I think this says it all really about how dangerous this road will be. The road is primitive, wild, and potentially very cold... Its not like anything else most people will have ridden on. I've spoken to some who've done this ride and its been good, I've read stories of others who not made it home. Based on those odds I know I'll have to be on top of my riding game to take on this challenge.

Thanks for reading, and make sure if you haven't already please follow me on Facebook and Twitter to see my preparation for my latest adventure.


Monday, 19 June 2017

Detail of the Dalton Highway

Hi there,

Thanks for checking in to my latest Arctic Ride Alaska blog update.

I'm still very much in the research and planning stage of my ride but the current plan is to complete the ride in Summer 2018. I still haven't confirmed what bike I'll use or the exact dates but I'm working very hard to get the bike and dates nailed down.

I'm also working hard to secure some more corporate sponsors of the ride to raise as much money as possible for Tiny Lives and Cerebra. If you are interested in discussing cooperate sponsorship, please get in touch via this blog or my social media.

While the 2,000 mile Arctic Ride Alaska isn't as long as my 6,000 mile trip to Arctic Norway in 2014, its certainly more dangerous for several factors, including; the even more unpredictable weather, the wildlife, and the road itself... The Dalton Highway has the distinction of (among other things) having the longest stretch of serviceless road in North America ....more to come on those topics in another blog.

Glenn Highway, Alaska (copyright

Detail of the Dalton

To get to Alaska I'll make the 20 hour flight from the UK to Anchorage where I will pick up my motorcycle.

The plan is to pick up any supplies I haven't been able to bring from the UK (food, some camping equipment, medical supplies, road flares, bear spray) and then head North ~400miles through the Denali National Park on to the former Gold-Rush town of Fairbanks.

Fairbanks is the last point of civilisation as I know it before I head up the Dalton. Here I'll do a final supply check before heading into the 5 day, 828 mile round trip into wilderness of the Dalton and the biggest challenge of my life.

After doing a lot of research and talking to several veterans of the Dalton, I can't stress enough how much of a challenge this ride is going to be. To quote WikiTravel:

"Small cars and motorcycles are highly discouraged. The road is extremely primitive in places, and small car and motorcycle wrecks are extremely common. Most motorcycle wrecks result in injuries, and the nearest EMS and medical services are in Coldfoot and Deadhorse. There is no cell phone coverage on the road, and some satellite phones do not work within the Brooks range. Motorcycles are EXTREMELY discouraged from making the journey." 

...... SH*T

Welcome to Fairbanks

From Fairbanks, I will continue North along the Elliot Highway before starting the  Dalton Highway. After 115 miles North I'll cross the Arctic Circle. From then road continues North over the Sukapak Mountain and the Atigun Pass and I continue to Galbraith Lake camp at mile 275. Its then another 139 miles to Deadhorse, the end of the Dalton Highway and the top of Alaska.

Galbraith Lake Camp 'intersection', Arctic Alaska
I will then return taking the same, and only route, back to Fairbanks and on to Anchorage.

While some of the pictures look stunning, I'm only starting to comprehend the danger of taking on this road and how careful I'm going to have to be to ensure I complete this challenge and come home in one piece.

Some other advice I have been given for the road:

  • Travelers are advised to have basic survival supplies, repair equipment, and equipment for camping.
  • There are only 3 petrol stations... Mile 56 at the Yukon River crossing, Mile 175 at Coldfoot and Mile 414 at Deadhorse. The stretch between Coldfoot and Deadhorse (240 miles) is the longest such stretch in the United States WITHOUT FOOD OR GAS STOPS.

Thats all for this weeks blog. Keep up to date with my progress on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

If you would like to donate to two worthy causes please visit

Until next time, ride safe.