SS1000 UK to my mind, it was close......


Well-Known Member
HI guys, just recently completed my first SS1000 which was verified, much to my relief given the variance in Google maps, Garmin and Tyre mileages!

I decided quite late in the day to do the ride, given travel was becoming less restricted and meeting others was also less encumbered....

Having been in touch with a friend down south, I live in Ayrshire, Scotland, I had arranged to attend a Sunday brunch run starting out from either Newlands Corner or Rykas at Box Hill on the A24.

This left me with a day or so to plan, pack and book a B&B down south.

Having planned tours in the past it really didn’t take long to stitch a route together that met the requirements for the SS1000, so by the Thursday night I was checking the bike over and getting ready to leave.
Departure was set for 12:00 mid-day on Friday and the run up to John O’ Groats was as standard as you could get, I had filled up with petrol on return from a previous ride out so just got a couple of chocolate bars, Boost and Snickers being the favourites, at the petrol station in the village to get a receipt.
Of course we all know how quickly the ten minutes intended turns into twenty…. or in this case 22.
So off I went up through Glasgow and onto the M80, the A9 and northwards.

Perth is currently the bottleneck with dualling of the carriageway northbound causing a bit of a hold up in the 40mph limit but it soon passes and on I go….

First petrol stop is Inverness Tesco which is also time to park, get out the flask of tea and one of my rolls for a quick snack, I am on schedule, if anything a little ahead so no issues.
Not forgetting for my records to take a picture of the receipt and Odo….

My “new to me” in March, R1250RT, is performing faultlessly apart from a niggly issue with the average mpg on the computer which has an annoying tendency to suddenly drop to a very low figure then slowly recover to where it should be over the next few miles or so. Economy is great for such a large and heavy bike, so this is a bonus.
Mind you I traded in a NC750X to get the beemer so compared to that anything else seems thirsty!

Next stop is Wick Tesco for a splash of only five litres to get a receipt an onwards to JoG!

A repeat of the flask and roll routine and a few pictures, as well as an obligatory toilet break, takes longer than expected and once again I am off, this time pointing south.
The road both to and from JoG is a great ride at the best of times, better at this time, early evening, with little or no traffic, making it a smooth run back to Tesco at Wick for a complete fill up, the obligatory pictures and then off southwards to Inverness for a final cup of tea and my last roll….

The A9 is quite different when it gets dark, with the constant risk as with anywhere in rural Scotland, of a deer and possibly its friends, making an unannounced sprint across the carriageway… fortunately none decided to test my adrenal gland and reflexes as well as the brakes on the RT….

South Queensferry is quiet at quarter to one in the morning, but a welcome fill up for both the bike and a coffee and cheese toastie for me made it a welcome stop….
Toilet, pictures, food and drink… and off I go again….

As I pull out of the BP petrol station I scroll to the bike’s TPMS and note that for some reason the rear tyre is showing a slight drop in pressure, not a lot, but I decide to leave the TPMS up to monitor it.

Along the M8 and onto the M74, or A74(M) if you are pedantic… and my timings are looking good, until I pass Abington Services….

A couple of miles after passing that junction the TPMS drops a point on the rear tyre, now it needs to be looked at, so I reduce speed and when I get to Annandale Water I pull off and go into the services..
At around 02:40 as I ride onto the forecourt and look for the air pump I realise I am riding through a very large flock of geese, who are gathered under the bright lights of the concrete coated lake….. unhindered I park at the air service point and get the bike onto the main-stand.

Sure enough there is a small self tapper, which turns out to be about an inch long, stuck in the central main groove of the PR4…. bol…..erm… bother!

Fear not, for as an ex member of Michelin Tyres UK road-staff, I am fully prepared with my wiggly worm puncture repair kit!!!!

I only pass the reamer in and out once to minimise the size of the hole, it was small enough to start with, in goes one wiggly worm with half a tube of rubber cement covering its every part…. Twist, remove tool and leave for ten minutes…
After said time, put a pound in the air pump and slowly increase pressure to 43 lbs/psi..

Leave to sit for a further ten minutes, well okay, five…. and check pressure with my digital gauge… As expected it lost about a half pound, I don’t have another pound…. but the pump takes debit cards, so swipe and pump… stick it up to 43 lbs/psi and cut off the excess cord from the repair with a very nice multi tool borrowed from the forecourt staff as the repair kit blade had gone walkabout…

Okay, off we go after about 40 minutes on the forecourt… before I mount up I realise that there is some icky stuff on my Oxford riding gear… on enquiry it turns out to be goose poop… so I wipe off as much as possible with a paper towel or two and mount up.

I decide to stick to 55mph for a bit until I am sure the repair is doing its job, then up that to an indicated 62, which is 60 on the satnag….. I keep to this speed for a long way to make sure the repair is good, which it is.

The sky had been getting brighter in the east since just after 02:00, by now it was quite light….

Around 05:40 M6/J23 and the Shell station comes up for the next scheduled stop, fill up, pay, go to toilet, freshen up, get coffee…. have a wander around in circles at the bike until coffee is finished, take picture of receipt and odo for my records…. Bike is doing a lot better on fuel than I thought! 06:30 Mount up, ride out… actually behind schedule now but not concerned… yet.

At 08:10 I pass through the toll gate on the M6 toll road, it is surprisingly warm for this time of the morning…. By Cherwell services an hour later, I feel the need to stop for a rest break, I realise that I have actually been on the go for over 24 hours as I was up around 07:45 on Friday morning… so I stop and find a space under a tree as far from the service building, the carpark is rammed full of people who have no concept of one-way systems, direction arrows, or pedestrians… fairly normal then.

I call my wife and advise I am well and we have a nice chat… after a bit I look at the time and tell her I need to go as despite not having too far to go, I expect the M25 to be its normal carpark self….

Off we go then and I now up the tempo to keep up with the traffic at 70mph on the satnag…. The M40 is despatched with no real issues but then I get to the M25, a seething mass of slow moving metal boxes…. ah well it isn’t too far…

After much filtering and many observationally challenged motorists, I get to the A3 turn off, the queue is extensive and being on a bike is a big advantage, until you get onto the slip road proper. Eventually I am on the A3 and riding to avoid the continuing challenge of drivers who are intent on getting where they are going, regardless of other vehicles of any shape or size….
My junction comes up and I reduce to more sedate speeds as I ride to the BP station where I will get my fill up and my finishing receipt.
The time on the receipt is 11:11 so that is eleven minutes short of 23 hours, longer than planned but finished nevertheless.

Once filled up and paid I move to the side of the forecourt where three young lads with what look like 125’s are washing their machines with the pressure washer….
One strolls over to look at the beemer and asks if I have come far…. he looks somewhat gobsmacked when I tell him… so I explain the IBA and hope that when he passes his test and graduates to something more substantial, that he will consider maybe having a try at the discipline of planning and riding a SS1000… he shakes his head, says goodbye, mounts his bike and rides off into the distance.

The last 5 miles takes me to my B&B where after a light meal I get the gear from the bike, put the cover on it and go up to my room for a shower, after which I lay down on the bed and fall asleep for about four and a half hours, after which my stomach demands to be fed so wakes me up…

What have I learned, despite being no stranger to riding longer distances, well… the beemer is very well suited to this sort of thing, the Sargent seat I have on it is great for far longer than the standard, but still not really quite good enough for IBA rides….
Personally, I felt okay, but realise that I am not quite at the level of fitness that I would want to be at to do LD rides, this I will need to work on… of course in my head I am still as fit as I was when in the services, my body however is not cashing that cheque quite as readily as it used to…..
I will need to find a seat upholsterer who can make a seat more comfortable… I already bought a BMW standard heated seat on ebay to facilitate this….

Otherwise, planned the ride, rode the plan with a bit of a hiccup thrown in for good measure and completed it!

Now…. Four corners, already planned..... but it will have to wait!

Sunday morning, surprised a few friends by turning up for the ride out from Rykas!