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


Saturday, 11 January 2014

Iceland

Hi everyone,

Welcome to my latest blog post for Arctic Ride 2014 - my solo 6000 mile motorbike ride to the Arctic for charity Cerebra.


This week's blog is coming all the way from Iceland!!! And no I haven't started my ride yet (that's not until May) but I am getting acclimatised to the cold and looking at what I might be experiencing when I ride through Norway, Finland, and Sweden. 

Contrary to popular belief Iceland's mainland isn't inside the Arctic Circle, only part of a tiny island of Grimsey north of the mainland has the Arctic Circle pass through it.


However Iceland really lives up to its name, it's covered in snow and ice almost everywhere you can see even if its not been snowing for a few days!

I've spent the last few days in the capital Reykjavik and its truly stunning. The country only has a population of 330,000 people and 110,000 of them live in Reykjavik so there it's plenty of space to look round and enjoy the scenery. 


This is the view to the mountains for the harbour in Reykjavik . I really wish I was here on the bike in summer to go and enjoy the roads. I've already been planning a trip with my mate Ant (SV650) to get the ferry from Denmark to Iceland and go touring for a week.

Whilst its still the dead of winter in Iceland the weather is the same as what I could potentially come across when I get into the mountains in Norway.

The challenge of my ride is starting to dawn on me more and more and the more experts I speak to the more they warn me off riding my bike through Norway in May because of the weather. But I'm determined to plough through and take every challenge as it comes and make it to Nordkapp!

Even though Ill be riding 6000 miles I want to explore the countries I go through away from the bike too.

I've already seen how harsh the weather can be too. Yesterday while walking up a hillside path to get to a museum I saw an American chap wipeout on the Ice landing on his head and shoulder. I could hear from his voice the pain he was in but luckily I was there with my wife and friends Christine and Ant to get him medical assistance and keep him comfy while it arrived.



Fingers crossed I come out unscathed from my trip to Scandinavia but I know better than anyone from  my last visit that the weather will hold the key to me making it to Nordkapp.

That's all for this week folks. Please keep supporting my trip and if you can the charity Cerebra by donating (with 100% going to the charity) at www.virginmoneygiving.com/arcticride2014

Ride safe everyone.

Gordon






Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Its 2014

Hi everyone.

Welcome to my Arctic Ride 2014 blog. In May and June of THIS YEAR I will be riding my motorbike solo, 6,000 miles from my hometown of Whitley Bay in the North of England to Nordkapp, Norway deep inside the Arctic Circle.

Wow its been a month since my last blog (that's not like me) but I've been a busy chappy alongside the usual festivities of December. I hope that all my readers/followers have had a great Christmas and New Year and got everything you were hoping for! Also hears to 2014... have a great year.

So whats been going on that you have been too busy to blog I hear you say? Well I had a non motorbike related holiday visited some new places around Europe with my wife Kirsty which has occupied most of my time. I did want to a blog while I was away but lack of WiFi mixed with fun things to do halted this. I know I must be more disciplined when I'm away on my trip to the Arctic.

Protecting the Empire at Budapest Castle, Hungary
I'm always keen to visiting new places and with having so many low cost airlines around these days there is no excuse to no visit all the amazing places Europe has to offer. And you can guess I'm not that fussed about it being cold (good job as I'm visiting the Arctic).

Waiting for the train at Bratislava Station, Slovakia
Over the past few years I've slowly been ticking off the bigger and closer places in Europe to I'm having to go further a field. This winter Kirsty and I decided we would do a multi-centre holiday and a sort of mini InterRail visiting 3 of the best cities in Europe Budapest, Bratislava, and Vienna in Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria respectively. All 3 were great cities and I would fully recommend a visit. However if you are on a budget I'd stay clear of Vienna as its very expensive compared to the other two.

Johann Strauss statue in Vienna, Austria
So I've come back from my holiday and the joys of Christmas and New Year to see that I have a lot of work and a very long 'to do' list waiting for me for Arctic Ride 2014. But its all good and I'm more that up to the challenge to really make this trip a success.

Filming with MPH Studios in September 2013
One of the key items I am focusing on in the next week or so is doing research into how I can make the documentary film aspect of my trip a success, or at least interesting for people to watch. Now I'm no camera man but I'm doing to be watching plenty of documentaries, reading up on tips, and leaning on my buddies from MPH Studios, who filmed, directed, and produced my promo video (click here to view), to give me some advice.

That's all for this week folks.

Ride safe and happy new year!

Gordon