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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Building windmills...

Welcome to the latest Arctic Rider blog,

Today was the day I was meant to be hitting the road bound for Arctic Russia on my latest charity motorbike challenge. Like with almost everyone , my plans have been impacted by the Coronavoirus pandemic which swept across the world in a matter of weeks. 

Not long after picking up my new Vstrom 650XT, the bike to take me thousands of miles across Europe and into Russia on tarmac and gravel, it started to become clear that my trip might be in doubt. First it was Russia suspending its Visa programme. Then, in the blink of an eye, the whole of Europe was in lockdown and the realistic prospect of doing my trip in 2020 was finished. 



Like most, I've spend the past few months trying to come to terms with what this whole situation means for me as a person, and for The Arctic Rider project. While I've had knock-backs before, crashing in Sweden in 2011, cancelling my Alaska trips with just weeks to go before departure in 2018, this time it different because the alternatives just don't seem to be there under the current restrictions. Even a 2021 trip is still in-doubt until more is known about what the 'new normal' will be for the world and especially cross-border travel (I have no fewer than 13 border crossing as part of the route).

After a few weeks feeling sorry for myself, a biker buddy of mine Stu shared a great project that was born out of The Bike Shed in London. They have put together a programme of Volunteer Community Response Riders here in the UK to help with the response to the Coronavirus response. The volunteer riders support their communities by providing a free courier-like service for companies and organisations responding to the Covid-19 crisis. Most of the work currently involves collecting PPE parts from multiple private locations and delivering them to Hubs for assembly, and then  re-deliver completed PPE from those Hubs to those in need, especially small-volume users or those with an emergency shortage. The riders are also able to pick up and deliver medicines, food, documents and anything else that will fit on a motorcycle. 


Needless to say when I heard about this programme, I got myself signed up. If you are based in the UK, are a biker, and want to volunteer, check out this link.  If you are an organisation or company who needs help from The Bike Shed click here

The world is having to adapt and what Dutch, Vikki, and the rest of The Bike Shed team are doing is truly amazing. It reminded me of a famous quote that was the bases of one of my business studies models at university from years back:

"When the winds of change blow, some people build walls, others build windmills"

The fundraising for Tiny Lives Trust will continue as part of my Arctic Ride Russia. As soon as I am able to I'll update you all with my new planned dates of when the ride can safely happen. Thanks for everyone who has donated so far! We've already raised an awesome £692 including gift aid. You can still donate to that challenge or to give me a moral boost while I'm out delivering PPE and medical supplier on my donations page.


Until next time, ride safe.

Gordon

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