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.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves

 Hi there,

Its been 8 months since I last blogged about The Arctic Rider project, which has been on-hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As with most things in life at the moment my next planned Arctic trip to Russia is on-hold. As I said in my blog in May, 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 crossings as part of the route). 

Even with vaccines now being distributed, the prospect of 2021 being anything like the world we once knew looks slim. All UK government advice is still currently against travel abroad, Russia's visa programme is virtually locked down, as are it's land borders. There is talk of vaccine passports, ongoing quarantine periods, and negative tests before being allowed into a country. All in all the logistics of Russia being my destination in 2021 look low.

Exploring Northumberland's gravel roads rather than Russia this summer

Like many people, I've had a lot of thinking time on my hands as a results of lockdown and working from home, but its been good to have time to ponder how I can continue to take The Arctic Rider forward to continue to raise money and awareness to the charities close to my heart. Off the back of that I wanted to keep anyone who is interested up to date with my thinking and plans for 2021. I'm not simply going to except defeat. As William Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar:

"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves"

So here is my plan.

Plan A - Arctic Ride Russia - If borders open up, the Russian visa programme is reinstated, and I don't have to quarantine for 10 days in every country, getting to Arctic Russia is my number 1 plan.

Plan A - Arctic Ride Russia

Plan B - The Arctic and back in 10 days - From my research, the change in policy I have the least confidence in is Russia reopening its land borders and visa programme. As we saw in the summer, Europe opened back up a little bit. So if restrictions allow this side of the Iron curtain, my Plan B is to turbo-charge my way through Europe and ride 4000 miles in 10 days, ticking off the Arctic Circle crossings in Finland and Sweden while I'm there (part of my mission to cross the Arctic Circle in every country possible), with Russia held for another time.

Plan C - If Europe doesn't open up enough next year to the extent I can ride through several countries quarantine free, then my plan is to do a challenge here in the UK. Back in 2016 I did my Iron Butt challenge riding Lands End to John O'Groats in 18 hours and becoming a fully-fledged Iron Butt member in the process. While I'm proud of that achievement, spending hours riding the motorways of Britain is something I've ticked off, but it has inspired me to look for something challenging in a similar vain. After doing some thinking, I came up with the idea of riding the 4 extreme points of Scotland (North, South, East, West) within 24 hours. This would be no less than 760miles but with the vast majority of it on A and B roads rather than motorway.. sounds like a fun challenge. 

Plan C - Scotland 4 corners challenge

So that's my plan. I don't know where I'll end up but regardless, I'll be completing one of these challenges in 2021 to support my fundraising.

Until then, ride safe.

Gordon

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