Riding dawn til dawn - RBLR1000 2017


Well-Known Member
My first Iron Butt ride and the RBLR1000 seemed the obvious choice. Start/finish only 40 miles away, raise money for a good cause and get to ride round Scotland - whats not to like?

Nipped to Squires for the briefing on Friday night, went back home, faffed around with some kit before going to bed later than planned. Bit of a restless night, usually the case when I have a long journey ahead of me the next day.

Set off from home just after 5am and about 20 mins later saw a stream of bikes heading northbound on the A1 like the proverbial “bat out of hell”. Did make me wonder if I’d made a mistake by starting later.....

Checked in at Squires and back out again in a couple of minutes (maybe it was a good idea to start later). Followed the signs for M62 only to realise I was heading south to the M62 and I’m sure I was supposed to head north first and join the M1 then on to M62. Lesson 1 – study the route more carefully.

Made it to Hartshead with no problems and then on to the M6. As I headed West it got a bit cooler and I was beginning to get a bit cold. Got to Southwaite services and decided to stop for fuel etc. Spied a Greggs – something hot would help would help warm me up !! Unfortunately it was a bit too early and was informed that none of the items in the hot counter were hot yet...a cold steak bake didn’t hold much appeal. Set off and once on the motorway noticed I hadn’t put my trouser shoulder straps back up. Lesson 2 – make sure you’re clothing is all in order after a stop

Nice run up to Glasgow but as I approached Motherwell satnav was indicating I should take the Bellshill exit. I was pretty certain I was supposed to be going to Erskine Bridge so fortunately ignored the satnav. Lesson 3 – the satnav is sometimes wrong.

There were a couple of bikes about a mile ahead of me, decided I would catch up and follow them to Erskine. Followed them for a while until we got to Loch Lomond and got separated by traffic. Made good progress on the A82 after Loch Lomond but the wind was beginning to get up and had a short rainshower passing through Glencoe. Fuel status was going well and Fort William was the perfect stop for food and fuel.

Continued on A82 and caught up with a Pan rider held up by traffic . I liked his riding style and it suited me perfectly so followed him until Drumnadrochit where he turned left. Satnav was also telling me to take a left but I thought I needed to go via Inverness so I decided to ignore satnav. Lesson 1 and Lesson 4 (sometimes the satnav is right).

Bridge to the Black Isle from Inverness was windy but manageable, as were the Firth crossings. About 50 miles from Wick I was starting to feel a bit low. I wasn’t enjoying the road and every mile further was an extra mile back but I knew I’d feel better once Wick was conquered!

Got to Wick shortly after 5pm – it was windy but had a quick stop at Tesco for fuel and toilet (and cash for IBA merchandise) then back to Lidl (Wick) to stock up on snowballs, empire biscuits and pineapple tarts. Had a drink and an empire biscuit, removed sunshade from satnav (it had been dull all the way up) and headed back down (only to have the sun glaring on the satnav all the way to Inverness).

I was heading home - it was a big psychological boost. I knew the road to Inverness a bit better now. I hadn’t passed any speed cameras on the way up. Time to enjoy myself .....and I did. :D

Stopped in Inverness for fuel (Perth would be stretching it a bit and Aviemore was out of fuel) and hit the A9. Passed a few bikes that had stopped to put on some extra clothing and noticed it had gone quite a bit cooler. Decided to ignore the cold and stop once I got nearer Perth. Stopped in a layby past Blair Atholl and plugged in the (brand new and untested) inline controller for heated jacket. It didn’t work. Then I remembered the AOW lesson about new equipment (Lesson 5). Fortunately the jacket worked okay without the inline controller – it was just a bit toasty. Trouser linings were a bit of a problem as I had no where to put them on. Lesson 6 – put trouser linings on in toilets at Tesco Wick (it is big and fairly clean compared to later stops).

Managed to navigate to Dreghorn ok (usually I take a wrong turn before I get to the bypass and head to Glasgow). Got to Berwick about midnight and bought a hamburger from McDonalds (wanted something hot and a receipt). The receipt was useless and gave no location so trundled down the 24 hour garage.

My plan was to continue via the Tyne Tunnel and the A19 then join the A1 at Thirsk but the matrix signs were warning the A19 was closed at Hartlepool. Not a problem – I just stayed on the A1 only to shortly see signs warning of overnight closures on the A1 at junctions 45 and 46. Said a few choice words about the planners who thought it was a good idea to close both routes on the same night. Decided to carry on and just hope there was a suitable diversion.

About the Ripon turn off, my concentration started to drift and although I was only about 40 minutes from the finish – I pulled over at Boroughbridge. Fizzy drink and snack and felt much better and fortunately there were no closures at junction 46/45 and got to Squires shortly after 3am.

Mug of tea, bacon butty and then 40 miles back home as the sun was rising and in bed by 4.30

I enjoyed it – might even do it again next year :)
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Brit Butt Rallymaster RBLR1000 routemaster
Premier Member
IBA Member
Like the report Aitch. On my first SS100 I also stopped too much as me and my mate thought a 42mph average would give us plenty of leeway. With the RBLR1000 and early starts I always clobber up from the off as you're never going to be sweating at that time of the morning.

I know what you mean about sat nav foibles too. This is why I added in the bit about a basic set of road numbers and junction numbers onto a route card. With hours on the M6 & M74 this gives you ample time to glance at the route card and make mental notes about where to turn off or which road number to look out for next.

Taking a left at Drumnadrochit then north on the A833 then A862 up to Dingwall before rejoining the A9 means you can avoid both Firth crossings if it's windy. Riders starting at 5 often run into lunchtime traffic at Inverness too so this helps also.

Now you're in you can choose to do it again next year with less pressure or pick another ride or one of our Rallies. Rallies are mentally challenging from the planning aspect but I find them less tiring due to the more frequent stopping and different road types :)