Sunday, 1 December 2013

Arctic Ride 2014 in numbers (and some words)...

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my blog. For those new readers, my name is Gordon Stuart and in May and June of 2014 I'll be riding my motorbike 6,000 miles in 3 weeks to the Arctic Circle to raise money and awareness for brain injury charity Cerebra. Please use the navigation bar above to learn more about my trip.

Well with winter being well and truly here there hasn't been much biking happening and not too much to update for the trip. This being the case I've been spending my time being creative. This weekend I spent an hour or so making the below info-graphic.... it started out as being 'Arctic Ride 2014 in numbers' but kind of evolved into numbers and words.


In other news this week, I've had another win from twitter (I'm truly amazed at how much twitter has helped me for this trip). I've linked up with Auritech who are specialists in hearing defence (ear plugs to you and me) and make specialist hearing protectors for Biker, Water Sports, Shooting and more.


Auritech have kindly offered me a free pair of their Biker Hearing Protectors!!! The hearing protectors offer noise filtrations which reduces wind and road noise, allows communication and intercom use, which in turn enhances situational awareness. Any bikers reading this will no doubt understand the issues related with noise on the bike especially when riding long distance. I'm really grateful to Auritech and I can't wait to start using them on the bike. Please check out their products at http://www.auritech.info

That's all for this week folks. Hope you enjoying reading the blog. Please comment and ask any questions you have about the trip.

Ride safe everyone.

Gordon







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Sunday, 24 November 2013

6 months to go....

Hi everyone,

So exactly 6 months today I'll have started my journey to the Arctic and, all going well, I'll be sitting by my tent in Dover chomping down on some food having ridden the 360 miles from my hometown Whitley Bay.

St Mary's Lighthouse, Whitley Bay

It is all starting to get very real that I'm going to Nordkapp and the Arctic Circle. I know in no time at all I'll be on my bike, all packed, zooming down the motorway towards the continent. I've still got a lot of details to plan and work to do before I set off. I'm trying to remind myself that even though my trip has some very serious aims, I have to make sure I enjoy the ride.

I've already written a blog about my details of first day (click here to view) but there are still even more details to plan. The first is how I'm going to link up with all my biker buddies along the route from Newcastle to Dover. If you are interested for joining me for any part of the ride please drop a comment at the bottom of this post and let me know where you are located. The second challenge of my first day is figuring out the best way to film it. To be honest this is one of the biggest challenges I'm going to have a full stop on the trip. I'm certainly no film maker but I realize that helmet cam shots and 'selfies' are going to get pretty boring and that I need a variety of shots to keep the documentary film interesting.

On all my days I'm going to be looking for willing volunteer cameramen to help do some filming. If you are located in along my route and want to help out (or know someone else who would) please get in touch!

Places I'm still looking for filming help in:


  • Dover, England
  • Calais, France
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Ottersberg (Bremen), Germany
  • Nyborg (Odense), Denmark
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Landskrona (Malmo), Sweden
  • Lillehammer, Norway
  • Trondhiem, Norway
  • Mo i Rana, Norway
  • Alta, Norway


Another item I need to plan is the packing of my bike. Even though I have my touring side boxes and top box I'm still very limited on space compared to a usual camping trip you would go on in the car. I've been taking advice from my buddy Andrew Pain who is the author of motorbiking books such as Going Small - A Guide to Lightweight Motorcycle Touring, and Going Small 2.0: Lightweight Motorcycling all over again.



One thing I need to get right is my tent. I need it to be big enough to house me and my gear while I'm camping but small enough to fit in my top box and light enough not to have to much impact on the handling of my bike.

Vango Soul  200
So I've decided I'm going to go with the Vango Soul 200. Its small enough to not take to much room up when packed on the bike, big enough to fit me and my stuff in when camping, and its comes in Arctic Ride blue :) win win win. Lets just hope blue doesn't attract reindeer who will come and eat my food, haha.


That is all for this weeks folk. Thanks to everyone for all their support of my trip. Whether its reading my blog, liking my updates on facebook, sharing my links on twitter, or donating money to Cerebra via my giving page. I thank you all.

Special thanks this week go out to my motovlog buddy Andi from Switzerland who donated an amazing £250 to Cerebra. That means I'm 25% towards my total already! What a guy. Thanks very much Andi!

Ride safe everyone.

Gordon






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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Custom my Lid

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the latest edition of my blog for Arctic Ride 2014 - A 6,000 mile solo motorbike adventure to the Arctic Circle to raise money for brain-injury charity Cerebra and to raise awareness for disability rights.

To help multiply the impact of my trip to the Arctic I've been looking for companies to partner with me on Arctic Ride. To date I'm being supported by Newcastle Rider Training, North East MotorCycle Racing Club (NEMCRC), Nomad Biker, Allinson's Photography, A-Plus Racing, and NEfit. All of these companies have been helping me by using their expertise and experience, or by providing funds for the 6,000 mile trip.


With it being November, and winter pretty much here, the season for biking is almost much over. Due to this, and the expense of Christmas fast approaching, my hopes of getting any more sponsors on board before the new year are pretty low. Over the past weeks I've been sending out letters, emails, and tweets to local companies to try and inform then about my trip and enquire as to whether they would be interested in helping me out. Now I can tell you, it gets you down when you keep sending bits out and hear nothing back. My wife Kirsty keeps my spirits up and reminds me of how much has happened since I started planning back in March of this year, but its still hard when you go months without progress.

It was back in September when I traveled the 60 miles up to Kielder forest in Northumberland to shoot my promo video (CLICK HERE to view). At the start of November it had over 600 views on YouTube which is awesome and I'd forwarded it to some local businesses to try and get some interest. One of those businesses was Custom Lids, a motorbike helmet and clothing shop in Newcastle. The response from their twitter account was positive and they seemed interested. I followed this up a few weeks later and I was invited into the shop to chat with the owner on 16th November 2013. Check out my vlog below about my ride to see them and what happened (mobile users click here to watch).



www.customlids.co.uk/
So the great news is that Custom Lids have agreed to come on board as a sponsor! Big thanks to the owner Neil for his generosity and to Mark who runs their social media accounts. As I said in the vlog, its great to have another local bike business on board.

That's all for this week folks. Keep spreading the word about my trip wherever you can!

Big thanks to this week's anonymous donor who donated £10. That mean my total now stands at £397!

You can donate safely and securely via my Virgin Money Giving site with all money going to Cerebra.


'You must be the change you wish to see in the world' - Gandi

Ride safe!

Gordon

Follow me on Twitter @ArcticRide2014
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Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Monday, 11 November 2013

New contingencies

Greetings to another Arctic Ride 2014 blog,

In this post I'll be talking about contingencies plans for my trip.

For those of you that didn't follow my 2011 attempt to the Arctic, I had a crash just over a week into my trip near a town called Ornskoldsvik in northern Sweden. I hit a piece of metal that was lying in the road. Somehow I didn't come off the bike but my Kawasaki took the full force blowing my tyre and denting my wheel rim in the process.

After my crash in Sweden June 2011
I got recovered back to Ornskoldsvik only to find it was Swedish bank holiday weekend meaning I couldn't get a new tyre and wheel for 5 days. This wait was nearly a quarter of my whole trip which made making it to Nordkapp and home in the time remaining impossible.

The crash in 2011 is an example of thing that go wrong which can't be avoided but I'm going into this trip more well prepared for if something happens again.

First of all, I've noted down when all the public holidays are in the countries I am travelling through and this time there should be no issues. Second of all if I do loose days due to an accident, weather, or delay i have some continences to allow for this.

The first contingency is the ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle. I'm determined to ride the whole way to Nordkapp and the whole way back but I also have to take into consideration the time constraints of my journey. I only have 21 days to complete the ride due to work commitments so if I'm running a few days behind, and I can't make up the miles on the road I can use the ferry from Amsterdam to win 2 days back.

The ferry can save me 600 miles and 2 days riding
The second contingency is also a ferry route but has yet to be confirmed. Norwegian Seaways are looking to resurrect the historical route between Newcastle and Norway (Stavanger / Bergen) which after over 100 years of service ended in 2007. Rumours swirling around the Norwegian Press are that Norwegian Seaways will re introduce this service in April next year... just in time for my trip. Now this is certainly a LAST RESORT option and one that I would only use if I lost 5-6 days on my trip which would be a serious incident.


New ferry route

There are several other small contingencies in terms of changing route, and riding faster that I wont go into but I'm hoping that nothing goes wrong to the point where I have to use these plans.

That's all for this weeks folks. Remember to keep sharing my story and helping out on my social networks.

Follow Arctic Ride on Twitter
Like Arctic Ride on Facebook
Subscribe to Arctic Ride on YouTube.

Donate to Cerebra 

Ride safe everyone.

Gordon Stuart

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

October Vlog and the trip budget

Hi everyone,

Thanks for tuning in to my Arctic Ride blog.

Just a quick update this week. I've really been pushing the boat out to local companies to try and get some more sponsors on board as getting to the Arctic by bike isn't cheap. Its like an investment and the old mantra of 'You've got to spend money to make money' and that principle applies to my trip. I'm able to offer companies brand exposure by having there logo on the bike, on this website, and through my documentary. 

So far this bait has caught quite a few companies, see my sponsors page, and the support I've had from them has been great but so far only two have been able to offer me funds towards the budget of my trip.

As a Project Manager by trade, you can imagine that I have managed the hell out of my Arctic project so far so I thought I'd share some of 'management' including the breakdown of the budget for my trip.




So you can see I only have 5 different expenses for my trip. The biggest of which is my fuel and nearly half of all the costs. Due to the global fuel market and the price of petrol in Europe in general this is unlikely to go down and I'm even concerned it might go up. Another item that won't change is my road tolls, unless the kind people at Øresund bridge decide to change their policy. 

As I'm sure you are aware my trip is constrained by the fact I live on a giant island and I have no other option that 
to cross the sea at some point before I get to the Arctic. The most viable option is getting the ferry and itsnot as cheap
 as you would think. I've contacted the big players in the UK ferry industry but to no avail. Alas,my ferry costs are not going to change.

That leaves me with two items I can play with. The first I'll talk over is food. Now those who know me willunderstand that
 I am a BIG eater and on my last trip I actually lost a stone in 4 weeks (Yes even will all theburgers I ate) and even though I will be
 getting a meal and calorie intake plan from NEfit I think trying to skimpon food could end up being dangerous. If I don't have enough
 energy I'm not going to be able to concentrate as well and the riding of the bike for up to 350 miles a day will take it toll. So that leaves
 me with campsites. Luckily this is something that is variable and I'm hoping that as soon as I'm north of Oslo I'll be able to do some wild 
camping which will cost me nothing. But that depends on how easily I find good camping stops and how often I need to take a shower.

Hopefully that has given you a good insight into the financial task that I am taking on doing this trip and just howmuch 
support from commercial sponsors will help. If you know anyone who might be interested please put them in contact with me!


Also this week I made a video blog about riding round on my bike. If you are reading this online you can check
out my video below, or if you are viewing on mobile device please click THIS LINK.






That's all for this weeks folk. Keep sharing, liking, and commenting.

You can donate to my trip at THIS LINK

Ride safe.

Gordon

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

One Young World - My visit to Johannesburg

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the Arctic Ride 2014 blog. In May/June of 2014 I'll be riding my motorbike 6,000 miles in 3 weeks to the Arctic Circle and back to raise money for brain-injury charity Cerebra, and to raise awareness for brain-injuries and disability rights in general.

The Suzuki I will take to the Arctic in 2014
People with a disability are in a very unique situation when it comes to prejudice and discrimination which a lot of people often forget and something I am very keen to raise awareness for. So why is having a disability unique when it comes to prejudice and discrimination I hear you ask... well let me explain. I'm a white male. Chances are I'll always be a white male therefore, in the future, no one is going to treat me differently for being black, for being Asian, or for being a woman. I don't consider myself disabled... but there is a chance that I could become disabled in the future and thus suffer prejudice and discrimination. That's how its different and I feel most people don't think about this but I want people to START thinking about this. I am against all prejudice and discrimination and I try to treat everyone equally. However, disability rights hold a special place in my heart as my little brother Robbie is disabled and he isn't able to stand up for himself. And that's why I'm here to stand up for Robbie and all other disabled people who can't stand up for themselves.

The man himself, Robbie
Ok... that is quite a heavy opening but this is what was going through my mind the whole 5 days I was in South Africa at the One Young World Summit. I remember sitting in the audience listening to one of the speakers and I started questioning why I'm doing my trip. Yes - Its to raise money for Cerebra who can do amazing things for children with brain injuries and enhance their quality of life.... but its more than that. Its more than just money. Money is a great thing and for my trip to be a success I need my followers and readers to donate so I can hit my target and change those lives. But often people forget that money is just a tool. A very useful and valuable tool. But its just a tool. And there are plenty of other very useful tools out there than can be put to good use. Kindness is a tool. Understanding is a tool. And speaking out against what is wrong is a tool. and the great thing about these tools is that we don't need money to use them, we were given them when we first landed on this giant spaceship flying around the universe we call earth.



Right... you want to know about what One Young World is right? One Young World is a not-for-profit organization which provides opportunities for young adults to join in a global network of socially committed individuals with leadership potential. Its primary activity is an annual One Young World Summit which is what I attended in Johannesburg at the start of this month. The idea of the summit is to bring together over 1300 young leaders from varying companies, organisations, and governments  from 190 countries to discuss world issue and start taking tangible action. I was lucky enough to be nominated by my company HP who paid my way and flew me out to the South Africa. I was also very proud to be selected to be the flag bearer for the United Kingdom the opening ceremony (check out the video of that here).
The Summit 2013 Opening Ceremony
Me handing the Union Jack to Richard Branson at the opening ceremony,
In attendance were also some world and business leaders including Kofi Annan,Bob Geldof, Richard Branson, and Arianna Huffington to name a few. But the most amazing people I met where the other attendees. I met a chap Roberto from Mexico who is trying to solve his countries blood shortage problem. Pradiip from Venezuela who was telling the world of the horrible situation in his country. I met Bert from Belgium... well Bert works for HP like me and was just a general legend. 

Hanging out with Roberto
Doing an interview with Gabon's national TV station
Check out this video below of the highlights from the summit. You'll see a rather dapper chap on 14
seconds :)




That's it for this week folks. Please connect with me for any questions or comments you have about my trip or the One Young World event!

Keep sharing, re-tweeting and liking!

Also you can donate to my ride at my Virgin Giving site. I've had no donations since August so even a small one this week will keep my head up!

Ride safe!

Gordon

Thursday, 10 October 2013

A blog from the Sky!

Hi everyone,

Welcome to another edition of the Arctic Ride 2014 blog.

Thanks for tuning in. Regular readers will notice that this blog is being posted later than usual. This is because my work has whisked me off to Johannesburg in South Africa to attend the One Young World Summit. 

Usually I post my blog on a Sunday evening ready for all to read on their Monday lunch break but as I’ve been packing and preparing for my trip this blog is being written from 30,000 feet and will be posted when I land and get some Wi-Fi.

So this week has been another busy week. All the kit for my GoPro finally arrived so I am now able to vlog on the bike to keep you all up to date about what I have been doing! My first ‘proper’ vlog is below so give it a watch and let me know what you think!


I’m using the vlog and filming around Newcastle as a practice for my trip. As I’ve said in previously blogs I’m planning to film my entire adventure to the Arctic next summer so that I can share the high, lows, fabulous scenery, and amazing people I meet. The one disappointment about my attempt to the Arctic in 2011 was that I didn’t get enough photos and no video of all the great places I saw… also if I had got my crash and subsequent 5 day stay in Ornskoldsvik  on film it would have made for some good viewing! Hopefully on my trip next summer nothing as serious as that will happen but I have no doubt it will be a fabulous experience to share. My main hope it that it shows just how difficult it’s going to be on my body and mind to ride 6,000 miles in 3 weeks through the Arctic environment.

Also this week I got an amazing gift through the post from Cerebra. I contacted the charity earlier in the week to see if they had a spare donations money box that I could use at events where I am promoting my trip (for those who watched the above blog this is what was waiting for me at the post office and that Mrs Arctic Ride hadn’t been ordering more shoes). Luckily Cerebra had one spare which got shipped up to me but also in the post were a few nice surprises. As thanks for my effort on fundraising through my trip Cerebra provided me with an embossed organiser folder, a Cerebra pen and notepad, a Cerebra t-shirt, and finally, my favourite item of all, a Cerebra Ambassador pin badge J Happy days!

So I guess you’re wondering more about why HP has shipped me off to South Africa for the week? The long and the short of it is that as part of the company’s Corporate and Social Responsibility every year they send some of their up and coming young employees to attend the One Young World Summit, which is held in a different location around the world (next year’s in Dublin so I dodged a bullet there). The summit is a global gathering of the world ‘future leaders’, from companies and countries around the world where they get together and discuss world issues and try and make actionable changes. I’ll certainly have more to add once I return so watch this space for a dedicated One Young World blog.

That’s all for this week folks.

Ride safe!

Gordon

Sunday, 22 September 2013

What's LoGoing On?

Hallo. God Dag. Hvordan går det?

I've just practicing my Norwegian! Although at the moment saying 'hello' and 'how are you?' is as far as I have got. Luckily English is very widely spoken in Norway so I should be alright, although I do want to try and learn some key phrases before I go out of politeness. The kind of things I am thinking of are:

  • Hello.
  • Do you Speak English?
  • Can I camp for one night?
  • Two beers please! (One for me and one for Brian)
These phrases tend to be the limit to my vocabulary in most languages that I dabble in  which is mainly French, Belgian, Swiss, Luxembourgian.. OK just French! and a small bit of German, and Spanish.

Anyway moving away from my cultural naivety its been another action packed week in the build up to my Arctic adventure. I've been working away on several aspects of the project, none of which have come to fruition yet, but in the middle of the work I came across something rather surprising. Basically, someone had copied my logo for a motorbike trip they were doing to the Arctic! Now that I have my GoPro camera  I was able to capture this event on video.. please check out the short video below for all the info and to see the copied logo for yourself. Video link


As you can see from the video I wasn't a happy biker but knew that I needed to keep my cool and an open mind as sometimes these things are a genuine mistake. Luckily for me it only took a day or so from discovering this logo and contacting the website owner for him to get in touch with me. He told me that this was a genuine mistake on his part and that someone else had made the logo for him and he didn't realize. Its certainly not for me to cast judgement as to whether or not this is the truth but the outcome of the logo being removed is certainty the best outcome for me and Arctic Ride 2014. I'll leave you to make up your own mind on that one.

Big thanks to everyone who got behind me on the logo issue, especially to Bernie, Kirsty, Christine, Hans, Paul Mc, and Lord Vulcan. It was a wonderful feeling to know I had a following behind me willing to fight my corner! I'm truly honored and I can't wait to represent you all on my journey to the Arctic in May next year.

So apart from the 'Logo fraud' its been a quiet week with nothing of note to write home about.. Hopefully this time next week that will have changed!

That's all for this week this folks! Please keep sharing my story and what I am doing.

Facebook - 'Like' Arctic Ride
Twitter - 'Follow' @arcticride2014
YouTube - 'Subscribe' to Arctic Ride 2014

Ride safe!

Gordon




Monday, 16 September 2013

6 months on... 8 months to go

Hello!

Welcome to the latest Arctic Ride blog!

Thanks again for tuning in to the latest update on the preparation for my 6,000 mile solo endurance charity motorbike ride to the Arctic Circle.

For those of you who are new to the blog and what I am doing I have a short promo video (just over 2 minutes) which tells you all about what I am doing. See below or click on this LINK



So what have I been up to this week? Well its been a pretty quiet one to be honest.

I've spend most of the time taking stock of what has happened over the last 6 months since I announced that I was heading to the Arctic to raise money for Cerebra. I'm pleased to say that I think I've come a long way in 6 months. I've managed to get a new motorbike, several companies on-board, raise £375 for Cerebra already, and I've acquired a base of followers and companies who are keeping me motivated and on track to make it to the Arctic Circle in May & June of next year.

For all of this I am very thankful and motivated but I have a feeling this is also a kind of cross-roads. To use a football analogy, I feel like my beloved Newcastle United who, at the end of the 1995/96 season when they finished 2nd in the Premier League, were oh so close to winning the Premier League title. At this point they could have said "Well lads we've done ok, best but settle for what have and not push Manchester United for another season" but they didn't! They went and spent a world record fee on the best striker on the planet and really went for it!

Now I'm not saying I'm going to spend £15 million on my trip or have Alan Shearer come with me (always worth an email though) but I feel like I have a massive opportunity to build on what I have and really make a big push on to the next level... raise my profile, and untimely raise even more money for Cerebra.

The first step of this big push was getting my promo video, show above, of the line (I'm sounding like Alan Pardew on transfer deadline day) and I did this with the help of MPH studios. Now I have it I know something that can grab the attention of companies and individuals more than any press release or photo pack could. Over the next few weeks I'm really going to spend the time and target some more companies and media outlets to try and get them to buy into my Arctic Ride.

I want to say a massive thanks to everyone who is reading this blog, watching my YouTube videos, reading my tweets, and liking me on Facebook. All I can ask is that you keep doing this and to tell you friends, colleagues, and anyone you can what I am doing and why I am doing it!

Many thanks for reading.

Ride safe.

Gordon

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Filming week

Hi everyone.

Summer is nearly over so I've been trying to cram in as much biking and Arctic Ride stuff before the weather turns.

As you can see from this week's blog title its all been about filming!

The first exciting news it that I have ordered my GoPro helmet camera, some memory cards, and a helmet mic, all of which I will need for my trip if I am going to document it and turn it into a film. They should all arrive this week so I can't wait to test them out!

My first lot of filming happened on Tuesday when I went to see Neil at Newcastle Rider Training. The idea of visiting was to get some tips on biking from a professional instructor and share those tips with all my readers and viewers on YouTube. As a biker there is always room for improvement.

Filming at Newcastle Rider Training
The topics we covered included; Braking, Riding Abroad, Overtaking, and positioning. We managed to get a lot of footage on the day which is all still to be processed, edited, and uploaded on to YouTube... so watch out for those popping up on YouTube. To get the latest videos from my YouTube channel you can subscribe at the following link: http://www.youtube.com/user/gordonstuart88

The second lot of filming happened on Wednesday when I hit the road and traveled up to Kielder Water in Northumberland near the Scottish boarder. This time I was meeting up with MPH Studios who are a production company from the North East of England. MPH got in contact after seeing my story on twitter and wanted to help out and boy I'm glad they did.

Filming with Phil and Jon from MPH studios
The idea of the promo was built after a meeting with MPH a few months ago to see what they could provide and we agreed to head up to Kielder to get some footage and do an interview about my Arctic Ride.

Phil and Jon from MPH were brilliant on the day and directed and shot some great videos coming up with great ideas that I would have never even thought. Also in the studio Phil created a very awesome animation to help express my route. So after 178 miles of riding and hours of production effort from MPH the promo video for my Arctic Ride was born. You can see the video below (2.36 minutes). Enjoy!




Thats all for this week folks. Thanks again for reading and please keep spreading the word. Also, I know its Great North Run time, but if you would like to donate (with all monies going to Cerebra) please visiting my Donations page

Like Arctic Ride 2014 on Facebook
Follow Arctic Ride 2014 on Twitter
Subscribe to Arctic Ride 2014 on YouTube

Ride safe!

Gordon

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Photo shoot and a new helmet

Hello!

Welcome to the latest Arctic Ride 2014 blog! For the regular readers of the blog you will notice that its been a few weeks since I have posted and this is because I moved house and I've been without the internet (which makes blogging somewhat difficult). The good news is I am back online and even though it was my birthday on Friday and my wedding anniversary today I've managed to squeeze in a blog to give everyone an update of what I've been up to.

Even though I've been busy moving house I haven't let it get in the way of my preparation for my 6,000 mile solo charity motorbike ride to the Arctic Circle. As ever I've been rather busy and I have two major updates to tell you about.

The first was my photo shoot with Allinson's Photography. The aim of this session was to produce some professional photos that I could use as publicity shots for both press releases/media articles and for my social media network.

At Whitley Bay Lighthouse where I will start my ride in May 2014

Those of you who have seen recent photos of the Arctic Ride bike will have noticed the Allinson's Photography logo on the side boxes and I'm very please to be associated and supported by such a great local company.

As with most things in the North East of England the photo shoot was dependent on the weather being nice. Luckily the morning we picked in August was a nice one so we were able to get some nice shots. We tried to pick some iconic places in the North East of England and in the end we decided on 3. The first location was St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay. Whitley Bay is the town I grew up in and the its lighthouse, St Mary's, is where I will be starting from next May.

St Mary's Lighthouse, the icon of my hometown of Whitley Bay
After the shots were taken in Whitley Bay we moved to Newcastle upon Tyne to its famous quayside to get some shots.

The Tyne Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne

The Millennium Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne 
The final location for the shoot was at the Angel of the North. For those readers who aren't from the North of England, and contrary to popular belief, the Angel of the North isn't actually in Newcastle but is located in Gateshead.

The Angel of the North
So that was a small selection of my photo shoot. I'm sure you will see at lot of these photos in the coming weeks and months. To check out the full gallery please visit www.allinsonsphotography.com/event/Arctic-Ride-2014

Big thanks to Bruce Allinson from Allinson's Photography for his work on the shoot.

Now... the second big thing which has happen in the past few weeks involves helmet manufacturer Reevu. I spoke in detail about Reevu back in one of my blogs in June (link here). Reevu are based in the North East of England like myself and back in June kindly offered to help me out with my trip by providing me with a state of the art helmet. As all bikers know, a motorbike helmet serves one purpose - To Protect. Reevu's helmet take this concept one step further by producing the world's first motorbike helmets with integrated rear vision system.

I popped down to meet the team at Reevu last week where they presented me with a helmet to use on my Arctic Ride. Reevu are based about 30 miles from me so I took the morning off work to have a nice ride down and make time to talk to them about the product and how it can benefit me on my trip. When I got down there I ended up chatting about bikes and helmets for a good hour. I also received a good education in to how helmets are built, how they are designed to protect, and how the Reevu rear vision system works.

Sporting the Reevu helmet
I only managed to use the helmet for the 30 mile ride home but the initial signs were great from a helmet build point of view and the rear vision system. Before the summer is out I will write a full blog reviewing the helmet. So watch out for that one.

That's all for this week readers. Please continue to support my Arctic Ride using the following media links and tools.

Twitter - Follow @arcticride2014
Facebook - Like Arctic Ride 2014
YouTube - Subscribe to Arctic Ride
Virgin Money Giving - Donate with all money going to charity Cerebra 

Ride safe!

Gordon

Sunday, 18 August 2013

And his name is...

Hello there,

Welcome to the Arctic Ride 2014 blog. In May and June of 2014 I will ride my motorbike solo, 6,000 miles from my home town of Whitley Bay in the North of England to Nordkapp, Norway the most Northerly point in Europe and 500 miles North of the Arctic Circle. Its going to be an epic journey which I very excited yet very nervous about.

Now I know in the tagline I say that it's a solo motorbike ride but that's not strictly true. I will have an accomplice..


Gordon and Cerebra Bear (A.K.A. ???)
As you can see from the photo I will be taking my Cerebra Bear with me on my Arctic Ride as my mascot. I was presented with him as a thank you after my trip in 2011. However when I decided he was going to come to the Arctic with me I knew he needed to have a real name.

Big thanks to those who suggested names and voted (as I couldn't decide by myself with all the great suggestions). So here are the results....

In 5th place with 6% of the vote was... Pads.

In 4th place with 9% of the vote was... Sebastian

In 3rd place with 18% of the vote was...Whitley

In 2nd place with 21% of the vote was... Robbie

Meaning in 1st place with a whopping 45% of the vote and the OFFICIAL NAME of Cerebra Bear is....

BRIAN

Brian and Gordon
Brian proved the most popular name and I can see why with it being an anagram of brain which is apt with me raising money for brain-injury charity Cerebra. Big thanks Hayley Goleniowska (A.K.A DownSideUp) for the suggestion. Coincidentally Brian is the name of my dad which certainly made a few of my family chuckle when they saw the suggestions coming in. I just hope my Dad didn't keep voting just so it would have his name!

I'm really glad that I've managed to get Brian on-board as planning my trip is almost like having another full time job.. it never stops! I know some of you might say "Just take a step back" but I can't. I'm so passionate about raising as much money as possible I know that I need to keep going to keep the momentum up to raise awareness and ultimately raise much needed funds for Cerebra. To keep this going I really need your help to spread the word about what I am doing and to support my social media channels and watch my videos on YouTube. These kinds of things really help my cause commercially when trying to get companies on-board to sponsor me to assist with things like fuel and ferries.

My busyness has been further escalated by my imminent house move and the fact that my wife Kirsty has unfortunately broken her little toe meaning she can't really walk so we are super busy trying pack ready for the move.

That is all for this week folks. Look out for next week's blog where I will be talking about my photo shoot with my supporter Allinson's Photography and I will be showcasing/reviewing my new Reevu helmet.

Thanks also to all those who donated this week. The total is already at £375! Which is super! Big thanks to you all.

Ride safe y'all.

Gordon

www.virginmoneygiving.com/arcticride2014


Monday, 12 August 2013

Bikewise 2013

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to another edition of the Arctic Ride 2014 blog!

This week's blog is all about my trip to the BikeWise show in Durham on the 27th July. BikeWise is an annual motorbike show held at the Durham Constabulary Police Headquarters. The event sees thousands of bikers flock to Durham to see stalls from local bike clubs, clothing and helmet stalls, dealers, and anything BIKE related. I was lucky enough to be asked by the NEMCRC to attend with them and be on their stand.

NEMCRC  have recently become a sponsor of Arctic Ride 2014 (click for blog on this) and it was a pleasure to attend with them and represent them at the show. Being at the show allowed me to get out there what I am I doing and why to a large biker community audience. To help promote the Arcic Ride 2014 brand I got the bike logo'd up with my sponsors and the charity's logo. I also got some literature printed off and my wife Kirsty baked some motorbike related cakes and we popped them on the stand to help raise some funds.

Cakes on the Arctic Ride 2014 stall
Now the day didn't get off to the of best starts. After a stressful Saturday prepping for the event, I awoke early (about 5am I recall) and looked out the window to see grey skies and endless rain hitting the ground. "Any day but today" were my first words to Kirsty as we were packing the panniers in the living room. Although after checking out the forecast I was reassured that by about 10am all the rain would be gone and I just had to get through the 30 mile ride to Durham in the rain and that was it. Now I know a lot of bikers will be reading this but for those of you who aren't bikers I think I speak for the majority of the biking community that riding in the rain isn't fun, especially when 2 up with 3 boxes loaded with gear. Throw into the mix an almost unbelievable amount of rain and spray on the motorway and it certainly wasn't fun.

Anyway, we made it down to Durham without incident and got ourselves set up for the day. Punters started arriving from 10am onwards and from then on it was go-go-go. Between Kirsty and I we were almost always chatting to someone about my trip and it was great to get such positive feedback from the biking community. We also sold plenty of cakes and got the word out about Cerebra and the wonderful work they do for brain-injured children.

Another reason for attending the event was so that NEMCRC could officially present me with a sponsorship cheque. I was lucky enough to get this presented to me twice. First by Michael Anderson, NEMCRC club President.

NEMCRC President Michael Anderson and Gordon at Durham BikeWise
Then, expectantly, the club brought 2003 World SuperBike Champion Neil Hodgson to the stand to come and have a chat with me and present the cheque to me on the Club's behalf as a special thank you.

Gordon and Neil Hodgson
It was an absolute dream of a day and I can't thank NEMCRC enough for inviting me along.

Here are a few of the comments from some of the folk I chatted to on the day:

"Its sound great what you are doing! I'll follow your progress closely"

"Can I come with you?"

"Norway eh? I've been there... what do you mean your riding the whole way? Why aren't you getting the ferry?!"

"You must be mental!" - Neil Hodgson - 2003 World SuperBike Champion.

After the show, the sun had finally decided to show its face so I was able to enjoy the ride home after a very successful day.

Please check out my video from the day at BikeWise below:



Please comment, like and subscribe on YouTube. Its does a great deal for the commercial side of my trip and helping to get more sponsors on board.

Thanks is all for this week folks.

A reminder, if you haven't already, please VOTE for the name of my mascot. CLICK HERE for details. Voting closes this week.

Unitil next time... Ride Safe.

Gordon


Please support my trip by:

Twitter - 'Follow' @arcticrdie2014
Facebook - 'Like' Arctic Ride
YouTube - 'Subscribe' to my channel

Donate Virgin Money Giving

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Cerebra Bear name vote

Good day!

Welcome to the Arctic Ride 2014 blog! In May and June of 2014 I will be riding my motorbike solo 6,000 miles in only 3 weeks to the top of Europe and through one of nature's most barren and un-populated landscapes... the Arctic Circle. This challenge is all in aid of raising funds and awareness for brain injury charity Cerebra.

In planning my Arctic trip over the past 6 months, and on my previous motorbike endeavors, I've come across plenty of bikers and travelers. One thing I have noticed is that both solo travelers and groups often have a mascot or good luck charm travelling with them along the way. I realised that when I set of for the Arctic next May I'm going to be on my own for a good few weeks and after the back luck of my 2011 trip (see my blog post the day after my accident) I thought I could do with a good luck charm to come along on the ride with me.

Cerebra Bear chilling on his Suzuki
My immediate thought came to my Cerebra Bear which was given to me as a thank you from Cerebra after my bike and I limped home in 2011 not making it all the way to Nordkapp but raising a chunk of money in the process. Cerebra Bear will not only act as a companion but also he'll be able to get in some photos so that you don't have to see my ugly mug for 6,000 miles straight! Also, he will be able to represent the charity when I'm not around :)

Cerebra Bear and Gordon at an Arctic Ride photo shoot!
Now after discussions with Kirsty we realised we couldn't be calling him Cerebra Bear for the next 18 months as outside of our house we'd probably sound a bit crazy so ran a YouTube video introducing the bear and asking for opinions on names.

Between Facebook, twitter, my blog, and YouTube the number of suggestions was fantastic and there were so many that I really couldn't decide so I've opened up a vote to all my viewers to decide what his name should be. Please use the survey below to submit your vote!


Thanks again for stopping by! Please keep supporting Arctic Ride 2014 by spreading the word about what I'm doing and by logging on to my social media links, YouTube and if you have a few spare pennies please chuck them into the jar on my donations page. All links below.

Ride Safe
Gordon

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Donations at Virgin Money Giving


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The late blog

Hi All,

Wow... what a 10 days or so its been since I last blogged. Sorry there was no blog on Sunday. I had a very busy day promoting Arctic Ride 2014 at the Bikewise show in Durham. More to come on that in a separate blog though.

The reason for the delay in blogging are aplenty. First of all I've been trying to move house and on Saturday morning I encountered a massive issue which caused Kirsty and I to spend the whole day looking for a new house. This then saw us prepping for the Bikewise show until 11.30 pm! Which is never fun when you have to be up at 6 am the next day. Then of course there was Bikewise all day Sunday. I thought on Sunday evening that I as I'd had a stressful day that I would do my blog on Monday evening... WRONG AGAIN Gordon... the luck gods had obviously decided I needed to be brought back down to earth after my fine day at Bikewise and decided the best way to do this would be to make the clutch on my car break on the way home from work... 4 hours later (9.30pm) I finally got recovered back home.

My poor C1 getting picked up
So as my car is out of action the only way to get to work was on my trusty Suzuki... now this isn't a bad thing at all but those luck gods tried to punish me again on Tuesday morning. Getting ready for work I packed up my pannier boxes and Kirsty came out to help me fit them to the bike. Stupidly I had put my bike on the side stand on a slight slope... so as I fitted the righthand side box (which was full) it pulled the bike upright off the stand and then the slope carried the bike forward! Luckily Kirsty shouted that the bike was moving and I managed to grab a hold of it by the topbox to stop it falling while Kirsty straightened up the the handlebars before I shimmied round and put it back on the stand.... then the same thing happened again! So I put the bike on flat surface and let me heart stop racing.

And to top it off... today (Wednesday) my iPhone died for no reason and wouldn't turn on so I couldn't ring around garages getting a quote for my clutch work (1st world problems I know but its still been a very frustrating week).

So back to what happened before the weekend. I spend most of the week organizing the stickers for my bike while Kirsty order some Arctic Ride baking supplies (you'll have to wait for the Bikewise blog to see those though). I ordered the stickers towards the start of last week to allow them to arrive on time and they finally arrived on Saturday.


As I write this blog my cat Cleo decided to jump on my shoulders as she wants come food. Haha! Arctic Cat.


Thats all for this week. Big thanks to Sandra who donated to the total this week!

What out for my blogs later in the week on Bikewise and Cerebra bear!

Ride safe.

Gordon

Please keep spreading the word about my trip.

Twitter - 'Follow' @arcticride2014


Facebook - 'Like' Arctic Ride 2014


YouTube - 'Subscribe' - Arctic Ride 2014


Donations - With 100% going to charity CerebraCLICK HERE TO DONATE



Sunday, 21 July 2013

NEMCRC

Greetings!

Welcome to another edition of the Arctic Ride 2014 blog. For those of you who are new to the blog basically in May and June of 2014 I will be riding my motorbike 6,000 in 3 weeks to the Arctic Circle and Nordkapp from my hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne all to raise money for brain-injury charity Cerebra.

I've had another very busy week (I know I need a holiday right?) and not only has it been busy but rather successful. On Thursday evening I set off from my house around 8pm on what was a warm summer's eve with my destination the North East MotorCycle Racing Club (NEMCRC). I was kindly invited by Bruce Allinson to present to the club about my adventure.

Parked up ready to chat to the NEMCRC committee
After chatting with the guys and gals of the committee for an hour or so the club kindly offered me a place on their stand at the BikeWise show in Durham on Sunday 28th July to help promote my trip and get my my story out to the wider biking community. not only that but the club also agreed to become a sponsor of my trip and you can see their lovely logo on the right hand side of my blog as well as on the panniers of my bike. Please check out their website and twitter to see what they are all about

www.nemcrc.co.uk

Next I'd like to say a big thank you to everyone who has viewed my video and suggested names for 'Cerebra Bear'. As there have been so many good suggestions I am going to run a vote as I can't decide. So watch out for that vote and check out the vid if you haven't already.

On Sunday of this week I went to visit a bike show not far from my house at North Shields Fish Quay. I managed to miss most of it not only because I got the times wrong but I managed to miss the entrance (there will be a vlog to follow this) but I get this video just as all the other bikes were leaving.



If you haven't seen already I have a new section  of my website (does not apply for mobile users) which is my 'This week's featured video' - This week's is my latest Vlog where I ride the Northumberland coastal route with my mate Ant. -------------------------------->

That's all for this week... Ride safe.

Gordon

Please keep spreading the word about my trip.

Twitter - 'Follow' @arcticride2014Facebook - 'Like' Arctic Ride 2014YouTube - 'Subscribe' - Arctic Ride 2014Donations - With 100% going to charity CerebraCLICK HERE TO DONATE
Do
nations - With 100% going to charity Cerebra