Interesting e-mail received this morning, from a fellow NR employee. David Faithful rode Le-JoG last weekend, in 24 hours, on a £500 Honda ex-courier bike, to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease. and he has kindly sponsored us, and passed details of our event to organisations that supported him.

Some feedback from David on his ride, over the May BH weekend. Although he did it in 24 hours, direct route, and on a proper bike, this stuff is still relevant.

Le JoG considerations:

South of Penrith, David found the ride to be a breeze, but from there north, things got much uglier, with heavy rain and high winds. The area from the Mennock Pass to Gretna and north of Inverness , especially the exposed bridge crossings, get a particular mention because of crosswinds. David is an experienced motorcyclist, but at one stage he spent 20 minutes in a layby summoning the courage for one of these crossings, so bad were the winds. We will be riding lightweight scoots and are (mostly) soft southern fairies with limited experience of such conditions. If we get good weather, no problem, but Scotland and the NW of England are “enjoying” a wet and windy 2011, in stark contrast to Kent , so be aware and be prepared.

David also noted that, while he prepared his bike, he forgot to prepare himself. Because of the poor weather his riding gear soon became soaked, and he packed neither sufficient spare warm clothing, nor sufficient spare riding gear. And he packed three pairs of gloves… While I appreciate what Bex said about not taking more clothes than you need, you may well need more clothes than you think. If you feel the cold (or even if you don’t) take layers rather then one big jumper, and decent waterproofs are absolutely vital. We will also need to take a couple of packs of Latex gloves to keep your hands dry inside your riding gloves if necessary, and take carrier bags to do the same for your feet. One space saving tip is to wear all your bulkiest, heaviest gear rather than packing it, as the airlines don’t count what you wear as luggage. I once flew from Gatwick – Phoenix in full leathers and boots and carrying my lid as a hat, to avoid hold luggage. Admittedly, I looked like a gimp and trying to hail a cab at the other end was a largely fruitless exercise, but it worked and I will be repeating the trick on the 18th. Another trick is to buy Trek towels (super light, high tech things, get em from camping shops), as they take up much less space than normal towels, and dry faster. Finally, have a pair of sandals, or deckies, or something, that is light and folds flat for wearing in the evening, so you can dry out wet boots. This depends on your footwear to some extent I suppose, and I’m pretty extreme as I wear Motocross boots for long trips, that hurt like hell (but less then a broken ankle) and that you really wouldn’t want to wear down the pub!

There is no point in the van having any spare space, so we might as well fill the damned thing! There is a large Tescos in Wick where we can provision on Sunday for Sunday evening, so no need for provisions to be loaded in Kent , but I do think we might as well stuff in as many tents, bags, lids etc. as we can carry. One we start the ride, a lot of this gear will come out of the van, so we need it absolutely rammed when heading north! In addition, please make sure that every spare space on your scoot is stuffed when they are shipped; it’s free transport. Rolling your waterproofs and putting them under your seat is a good idea (except Kai; you’ll be sitting on yours in lieu of padding!). There is a launderette in WSM (there are actually several), and if needed we can launder clothes for the second part of the ride after the Friday evening event at the Rugby Club.