THE ARCTIC RIDER STORY

"Gordon Stuart (AKA The Arctic Rider) is on a mission to ride his motorbike across the Arctic Circle in every country possible, while raising money and awareness for causes close to his heart."

“It started in 2011 as a charity ride to the Arctic Circle that didn’t really go to plan, and has become a near obsession with the Arctic, an obsession with riding a motorbike, and an obsession helping organisations who help others” - Traverse Magazine, November 2017.

To date, Gordon has raised over £13,000 for charities, ridden over 14,000 miles as part of the challenges.

Gordon is an Ambassador UK-brain injury charity Cerebra and global youth leader forum One Young World, and fundraiser for special care babies charity Tiny Lives. He is keen motorcyclist, writer, and film maker.

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Day 16 - To the ferry across The Netherlands

Hi,

Welcome to day 16’s blog. Not long until you no longer have to read my daily updates, haha. 


I awoke this morning to a first for the trip. It’s the first time that I’ve been woken up by being cooked inside my own tent. It happened a few times on my Nordkapp run but regardless it’s not a fun way to wake up. Needless to say, the sun was out and it was hot. 

I got the bike packed away and headed out of the campsite. I saw a superstore on my way in from the motorway last night so I headed there  to get some supplies. It was only when I arrived to an empty car park that I remembered it was Sunday, doh. Being on the road I’ve totally lost track of days and dates. Luckily I’d filled my tank last night so I jumped back into the autobahn and opened up the throttle. 

I had an odd feeling when I first hit the road. I knew I ‘only’ had 250 miles to ride but I also had until 9pm to reach the ferry port, so I was time rich for a change. I was going to take it easy but the power of the V-Strom’s 1000cc v-twin engine, combined with the open and quiet autobahn meant I ended up pushing on at a really good rate. 




I stopped at 75 miles and 160 miles to get stretch my legs and grab a few nibbles of food. I then had another 100ish miles to do and thought I’d have another stop in between. However as soon as I saw the signs for Hoek van Holland (just West of Rotterdam) where my ferry departs from, I could resist bombing on and making it there in one. 

Having these little challenges on the road I think is what keeps me from going mad for so long riding solo. Always with safety at the front of my mind, I see how many more miles I can do even when my arse is hurting, or if I need fuel and i see there are 2 fuel stops coming up, I try and make it to the 2nd. To keep my mind ticking over, I don’t change my speedo from miles to kilometres. This way I’m always working out distances into miles and my speed when the road signs change. Sad I know, but I need to do something to keep my mind active mile after mile (or 1.609 km to 1.609 km). 

I arrived in HvH super early, so I headed into the town centre, pulled up at a local cafe and treated myself to some lunch. I parked the bike right outside the cafe and the town didn’t look all that safe. I had a Gouda and ham toastie (brown bread) plus some thick cut chips and a full fat coke! Yum. After being in Iceland I was pleasantly surprised when the waitress told me it was €11. That would have got me mars bar and a bottle of sparkling water on the windy isle. 



I tried to find somewhere to show the World Cup final but there wasn’t anywhere in the town, so I pulled up at the port check-in and watched it on my phone. By the time the footy was done I got checked in and waited to board the ferry. While I was waiting, I listened to two English chaps in the queue behind me on bicycles spend the best part of 15 minutes belittling different nationalities in a rather vulgar manner, including the Scots. For those of you that don’t know, my heritage is of Scotland, so it took all my will power not to say anything or throw their bikes into the water. Shoutout to willpower, you rock. 

I boarded the ferry and got my bike strapped down on the car deck. A Welsh guy on a Harley beside asked me if I knew what I was doing when strapping the bike down. I told him about the issues on the Iceland-bound ship, and the Samskip ‘duvet and wall’ method from my passage to Grimsey. I saw from his face that he wished he’d never asked so I finished with “yeah I’m good man, thanks”. 

I got to my cabin, dumped my gear and had a look around the Stena Britannica, which takes me to now, writing this blog. 

So all I have left to do now is the final sea crossing and then ride the 320 miles back to my house to see my wife and kids. It’s been an amazing trip although slightly frustrating with the number of hard milestones (mainly) ferry’s which has meant I’ve been rushing only to end up waiting a lot too. 




Total miles today - 325

See you again tomorrow. 

Ride safe. 

Gordon. 


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