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.

Arctic Ride Iceland... The Route

Hi everyone,

Due to the very short time-frame to my rearrange ride to Iceland I've got a lot of blogging to do to update you all.

This blog will be all about the route I will take to get to Arctic Iceland.

Overall I've got 3,700 miles to ride across 18 days although 6 of those days I'll be at sea in transit between countries. This means my average daily road mileage will be just over 300, which is almost the same as my Arctic Ride 2014 to Norway. This gives me confidence that I can do these miles but I also know having done my Iron Butt that if the unexpected happens I have it in my locker to put in some big days to catch up.

Days 1-3

In order to get to Iceland I need to catch a ship from the port of Hirtshals in Northern Denmark, so the first part of my journey is to get from my home in Newcastle to Denmark.

On day 1 I'll head 320 South from Newcastle, leaving early to afternoon, heading to the the Port of Harwich in East Anglia. I've decided to catch the overnight ferry from here to Rotterdam in The Netherlands. This means I can get a good nights sleep before 2 long days up to Denmark, and also cross the channel at night to save it eating into my riding hours.

On day 2 I'll hit the road mid-morning, by time to ferry has docked and unloaded, heading North east through The Netherlands and into Germany. The plan is to make it 420 miles to the Danish border, probably stopping near Flensburg in Germany. If I'm making good time I may press on and head another 50 miles North to Kolding in Denmark, on recommendation of my biker buddy Stu.

Day 3 will see me ride another 200 - 220 miles continuing North to almost the Northern tip of Denamrk and the Port of Hirtshals, ready for the catching the ship the following morning.

Having done my Iron Butt in 2016 and having done some big miles on past trips, part of me wanted to do Newcastle to Hirtshals in 2 days, but this would leave me with very little contingency for a puncture, severe roadworks, or weather delays. Due to the fact that the ship to Iceland only sails once a week, missing it would be a disaster so I've allowed myself 3 shorter days to give me the best chance of making my crossing to Iceland. Newcastle to Hirtshals is about the same distance as riding from Newcastle to Barcalona or Vienna

Days 4-5 

Days 4-5 will see me ride a grand total of about 3 miles.. riding from my campsite in Hirtshals to the port. I'll be spending 48 hours in the confines of the ship which luckily has a gym, cinema, and swimming pool (although I'm dubious about the quality and size of these amenities). I imagine I'll spend a lot of my time reading, listening to podcasts, and sleeping (in a shared 6 birth cabin), the latter not being my idea of fun. I think this will be one of the hardest parts of the ship. Cut off from the world for 2 days and not being able to ride the bike is going to be pretty soul-destroying, although I'm going to think back to my time stuck in the town of Ornskoldsvik in Sweden when I crashed my bike in 2011 for inspiration of how to keep myself occupied.

Day 6 - 12

On day 6 I'l land in the East Icelandic port of Seydisfjordur. This is where the fun and amazing scenery will start. From here I will start my 1,400 mile anti-clockwise circumnavigation of the Island of Iceland. Day 6 will be a 300 mile day although due to the road conditions (no motorways and lots of gravel roads) I'm expecting this will be a fairly huge day of riding, google maps estimating 8-9 excluding stops. My planned destination at the end of Day 6 is Dalvik, a village of 1,400 people and my launch pad for Arctic Iceland.

Seydisfjordur, Iceland
To cross the Arctic Circle in Iceland I need to head to the Island of Grimsey, and the only boat leaves from Dalvik. I'm aiming to do this as early in the trip as possible as the boat only runs 5 days a week and is often cancelled by poor weather.

If day 7 goes to plan it will be another low mileage day where I have a 2-3 hour sea crossing to Grimsey where, when I land, I'll ride to the North of the island and cross the Arctic Circle and I'll head back to Dalvik with a big smile on my face. Its great to know I could be as little as a week away from the Arctic Circle when I depart Newcastle, but I'm also not counting my chicken just yet due to the very changeable weather and tough road conditions I could face in Iceland.

Days 8 and 9 will see me head to Iceland's North West to the Westfjords, offering some of Iceland's most amazing scenery, and some amazing gravel roads to test the bike on. I've very lucky that Suzuki have given me their latest adventure bike the V-Strom 100 XT. Part of the deal is that I put the bike through its paces and see how it handles, and report back.

Westfjords, Iceland
 At the end of Day 9 I should be in the capital Reykjavik, a city I visited only a few months prior to my Arctic Ride 2014 to Norway, but hopefully there will be less snow than last time.

Days 10 -12 will see me head along the South coast and into Iceland's volcano region. There will be more off-road riding and changeable weather as I make my way back to Seydisfjordur to catch my next ship.


Day 13 - 17

Day 13 is another sea crossing, this time from Iceland to The Faroe Islands. The shipping route means that on the way back to Demark I will have a 2.5 day layer over in the Fareos. Its not a place I'd ever had on my to visit but I'm going to grasp the opportunity. The Faroe Islands are a group of 18 major islands situated in the North Atlantic between Iceland, Norway, and Scotland with a population of only 50,000 people.

Faroe Islands

I'll have half of Day 14, and all of days 15 and 16 to tour the Islands and try not to get too bored. I expect to cover 200 - 300 miles while on here.

Day 17 is another sea crossing back to Denmark.

Day 18 - 19

I'll land back on mainland Europe around 0900 hours and I'll have 2 days to get myself the 1,200 miles back to Newcastle, most likely via Calais - Dover crossing.

So that will be my route of 3,700 miles, broken up by 5 different sea crossings.

Thank you very much for reading and the recent donations. If you would like to donate please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/thearcticrider - All donations got direct to charities Tiny Lives Trust and Cerebra.

6 days to go!

Ride safe,

Gordon

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