My RBLR1000 2019

John ZRX

Active Member
#1
This popular event has had many participants over the years so apologies if my take on it is repetitious or superfluous to your own experiences.

My first attempt at an IBA UK ride was the 2018 RBLR1000. Having lived abroad in mainland Europe for over 10years before returning to the UK recently, I was used to riding longish distances and to a schedule to reach hotels and catch ferries back and forth. I relied on map reading and AA route planner printouts to plan fuel stops, timing etc. I used this method on my successful RBLR1000 last year. I then signed up to the IBA UK forum and learned a lot of useful stuff (thanks) which led to me investing in a Zumo sat nav and getting to grips with Basecamp, tracker apps and Spotwalla. These enhance my planning and route following but I still take the AA route planner print outs and a road map book just in case.
In 2018 I did the Northern Clockwise route so this year opted to go North Anti Clockwise. I live in Somerset with a 245 mile ride to the start so the Southern routes didn’t appeal. I won’t go over the entire route, you all know it, I’ll just pick out some of the good and not so good parts for me. Bike: 2003 Kawasaki ZRX1200S with 50,000+ miles on the clock.

The Good
The Organisation.
A big thank you to all involved in putting this together. From arriving at Squires for registration and the start, to verification and collecting my certificate, the enthusiasm, support and positivity of all the volunteers made it enjoyable and stress free.

Deciding to Book a B & B. I got a severe drenching on my way up on Friday. My kit prevailed except for the cuffs and lower sleeves but my “waterproof” gloves needed ringing out and changing half way. I was able to hang stuff up near radiators (yes turned on in June) overnight and I was ready for the start.

Putting on a new front tyre (Michelin Pilot Road 5). The Pilot Road 4 it replaced had done two SS1000s as well as many more miles. It still had legal tread in the middle and plenty elsewhere but it was squaring off and I think, at the very least, I would have had less confidence on the wet roads and standing water experienced over the weekend. With the new tyre I had no “moments” and enjoyed the twisties when they could be seen.

Sorting my kit out at last. Last year it rained a lot on the first leg and it got really cold at times. I’d taken upper layers but not included the winter liners for my Oxford Montreal suit and I suffered. This year I wore the lot – winter liners, merino wool thermal top and bottoms, long sleeve T shirt, light fleece, lightweight neck tube, balaclava, Artic Dry waterproof socks, silk glove liners (warm and makes it easier to remove damp gloves without pulling lining from fingers). I also put on a light weight waterproof jacket over my Oxford jacket on Saturday which helped keep the cuffs sealed. I was wearing more kit than I did on the Armistice 1000 last November. So a bit warm to start with but comfortable over the distance with the constantly changing conditions.

Inverness to M9. Spectacular in late afternoon, early evening. Quite a lot of overtaking required to start with but past Glencoe it was pretty clear. The roads were mostly drying, weather clear and the views past the Lochs, through Glencoe and over Rannoch Moor were perfect. Even the odd tourist tin can suddenly slowing to take in a view was forgiven.

The A85/A84. Last year I found the ride up past Loch Lomond a struggle. It was raining and all the tourists seemed to have gone for a nice slow drive, suddenly stopping to turn off at various hot spots. Loads of RBLR1000 riders were queuing to overtake and make progress. The weather meant I didn’t even see the Loch. I’d mentioned this to another more experienced rider previously and he said he’d used the A85 instead. I tried it this time and, yes it’s much more enjoyable. It’s not the famous Loch but less traffic, lots of bends and some nice scenery. My sat-nav directed me towards Dunblane and then a country lane which linked directly to the M9 and the motorways south to Manchester.

Aileen from Fort William In the queue to pay at the Esso garage I met Aileen who was very interested in what we were doing and wanted to contribute. She insisted I accepted a five pound note which I have added to my sponsorship. Thank you Aileen.

Getting Round in 20 hours and 16 minutes
I know this isn’t a race and I didn’t treat it as such, but I was pleased my planning and approach to the challenge resulted in getting back at 0116 am and me being in bed by 0230am, so I got some sleep before the 245 miles home on Sunday.

The Not so Good
The A1M Northbound closed at the Start.
I was unaware of this so headed straight for junction 42 only to find it coned off. An embarrassing circuit of the roundabout followed trying not to get in the way of all the bikes heading south. Sorry. The diversion to the M1 junction 47 was straightforward so I only lost 5 minutes but not a good start.

Skipping the Briefing. I understand the A1M closure was mentioned at the briefing, if so the above was my own fault. I’d checked in at Squires and got my paperwork about 4pm on Friday. I was damp so went off to refuel and check in at my B & B. After getting out of my gear and hanging stuff up to dry I really didn’t fancy putting it back on to go back to Squires.

Average Speed Checks on the A9. Can make you quite paranoid. They go on for mile after mile through some lovely countryside but the distraction of keeping a constant eye on the speedo seems counter productive to me.

Inverness to Wick and back. I was looking forward to the ride up the east coast to Wick and it started well. It wasn’t long before we were facing a really thick fog/sea mist. Visibility was only a few yards at times so progress was slow and difficult. Following a vehicle’s lights in fog can be risky but I find if I can hang back but still see them I might at least get some early indication of where the road is going, while reading the road as much as possible for myself. I spent quite a lot of miles behind a tin can with no lights at all. The car kept disappearing into the mist until its brake lights revealed it again. I had to give it a lot of room so getting past was not an option until the mist thinned. Wick was windy and clear but the thought of the mist on the return leg was daunting. There was less mist on the return but enough to spoil the carefree coast road ride I anticipated.

The M62 closing at Midnight. I got to Birch Services about 1155pm and bought a bottle of coke to get my receipt. I didn’t hang around long as I’d refuelled on the M6 so had enough for the remaining 50 odd miles to Squires. So home leg, not long now…but..… flashing overhead warnings “incident” and all traffic directed off the M62 at junction 22. I must have been among the first to have been redirected but even so the bottom of the slip road was chaos. Vehicles were stopped all over the place on the roundabout. I didn’t want to get mixed up in it all but had no idea where I was in relation to an alternative route to Squires. I’m a southerner so the locations of towns and roads in that area, even if signposted, are a mystery to me. A few vehicles made their way straight to the first exit (A672 it turns out) and I followed. I hoped I wasn’t going to end up on top of the moors but reasoned the cars and van in front wouldn’t want to head up there either and at least I may reach an urban area to stop and regroup. I could see the M62 in the distance, quiet except for blue lights racing up and down. Arriving in Ripponden the van turned right signposted Elland so I turned too but then stopped and out came the old map and torch. Elland was in the right direction so I continued, intending to stop there, find a garage and figure out a route. As it happened, in Elland I was following my nose through the town when I saw a sign for the M62 which took me to junction 24 Ainley Top which was open for eastbound traffic. All this was more by luck than judgement but I guess not panicking helped. So back on course and only lost half an hour or so. Others, I know were not so fortunate.

The Really Bad
I later searched for the reason for the M62 closure. A woman in her twenties had fallen from Scammonden Bridge at around midnight, fatal of course but the circumstances are not yet known or published. Tragic for her, her family and friends, traumatic for those who witnessed it and for the emergency services who attended and a bit inconvenient for the rest of us. Puts things into perspective I think.

Thanks for reading.
 
Last edited:

saphena

IBAUK Webmaster
Premier Member
IBA Member
#3
Well done on the ride and the writeup which I'll shamelessly add to our published ride reports if that's alright.
 

FazerPhil

President IBA UK
Staff member
Premier Member
IBR Finisher
#6
Thanks for taking the time to do the write up John. It really gives some good tips and a flavour of what the event is about.
 
#7
The same happened to me John,but id already gone passed jct 22 to meet a traffic car stopping everyone,was stuck there for an hour and a half,had a great north anticlock ride though shame about the fog above helmsdale but at least it wasn't blowing us into the scenery like normal!! interesting rain storms over ranoch moor and huge thunder storm exiting the M6 onto the M61, I was the guy on the old silver pan if you saw us.
 
#8
Well Done.

This was my 3rd 1000 miler since i started last year, my friend and i started this together last year and really got a taste for it. after doing the South Anti Clockwise (RBLR) we completed the South clockwise for the Armistice ride in November. This year we thought a change of route and do the North Clockwise and to tell the truth we found this to be easier than the South route due to the lack of traffic. it was a great ride as i have never ridden in Scotland before, although we ( I ) made an error and we took a B road from Fort William to Inverness (which was great) we completed the ride in 21 hours 2 minutes, we even were taking 20 - 30 minute breaks at each fuel stop (which we could not do on the South routes), the mist was awesome and have some good camera footage of it. The anti clockwise will be completed next year (avoiding the A9 with the average speed cameras hopefully) just to say we have done them all. I'm looking forward to doing extra rides this year, hopefully the John O Groats to Lands End (both ways in 2 days, unless they can be done in 1).

Take care Peeps ..... Shiny Side Up
 

John ZRX

Active Member
#9
The same happened to me John,but id already gone passed jct 22 to meet a traffic car stopping everyone,was stuck there for an hour and a half,had a great north anticlock ride though shame about the fog above helmsdale but at least it wasn't blowing us into the scenery like normal!! interesting rain storms over ranoch moor and huge thunder storm exiting the M6 onto the M61, I was the guy on the old silver pan if you saw us.
Sometimes it really is just a matter of luck. Just before Birch I got a text from a mate following Spotwalla congratulating me and estimating my finish at 0030 - commentators curse! Good to know you managed to get going again in a reasonable time (for such incidents) and finished OK.
 

GSears

Premier Member
#10
Well Done.

This was my 3rd 1000 miler since i started last year, my friend and i started this together last year and really got a taste for it. after doing the South Anti Clockwise (RBLR) we completed the South clockwise for the Armistice ride in November. This year we thought a change of route and do the North Clockwise and to tell the truth we found this to be easier than the South route due to the lack of traffic. it was a great ride as i have never ridden in Scotland before, although we ( I ) made an error and we took a B road from Fort William to Inverness (which was great) we completed the ride in 21 hours 2 minutes, we even were taking 20 - 30 minute breaks at each fuel stop (which we could not do on the South routes), the mist was awesome and have some good camera footage of it. The anti clockwise will be completed next year (avoiding the A9 with the average speed cameras hopefully) just to say we have done them all. I'm looking forward to doing extra rides this year, hopefully the John O Groats to Lands End (both ways in 2 days, unless they can be done in 1).

Take care Peeps ..... Shiny Side Up
I think the mileage is 843 each way. Just over 70mph average You could have a go at E2E Golds each way
 

Aitch

Well-Known Member
#11
The anti clockwise will be completed next year (avoiding the A9 with the average speed cameras hopefully) just to say we have done them all.
If going anti-clockwise, you could head north from Perth up to Braemar via Spittal of Glenshee, then Cockbridge, Tomintoul, Grantown-on-Spey and join the A9 near Carrbridge. Its a stonkingley good road but it will add an hour to your time.....