A load of #ride5000miles Garbage

MCN’s Ped Baker added a good chunk to his #ride5000mile tally back in September as he joined other misfits on awful bikes to ride the length of the land. Welcome to the Garbage Run

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‘Some people have the idea that you need something like a BMW GS, metal boxes, GPS, spotlights, loads of time and loads of cash to have an adventure,” says Garbage Run organiser Nathan Milward. “You simply don’t need a specialist touring machine, loads of kit or months off work to a have a trip to remember. This is the whole ethos behind the Garbage Run.” 

Intended for riders and bikes of ages, shapes and sizes the Garbage Run is for people who crave a real adventure but need to fit their dreams around the realities of modern life. “I’d ridden across the world on a 105cc Honda CT110, first from Sydney to London, then from New York to Alaska” Nathan explained, “Now married with bills, I still craved a bit of escape on the bike but didn’t have the same time and money as I used to have”. 

MCN joined the Run at a damp and windy Land’s End in September on a Herald Maverick 125. Other bikes at the start line included an MZ ETZ250, Sachs 125, Derbi 125, BMW R50, Moto Guzzi V7 and a Honda VFR1200 Cross Tourer. Breakdowns were common on the first couple of days with the MZ, a Sinnis 125 and Honda XLR125 failing to complete the Run. Luckily, all three of the riders had second bikes at home so were able to rejoin further along the route.

Nathan’s carefully planned 1450-mile route was superb, barely touching a town or city, it followed beautiful back roads along the Devon and Cornwall coastline, before traveling up through the Peak District, Derbyshire Dales and Cumbria. Then crossing the Highlands of Scotland, riding the North Coast 500, via Applecross and around the top to John o’Groats.

We did the Run on the wettest week of 2017 so far, and on some days the weather was especially grim. If that doesn’t put you off and you want to take part in next May’s Garbage Run, as the saying goes ‘prepare for the worst and hope for the best’. Good waterproofs and a quality tent are essential.

While it’s true that some people have cycled, walked and even unicycled the same route, the ride is tough. The combination of a small machine, UK weather, windy roads, long days and camping is a real challenge, but a challenge we’d do again in a heartbeat.   

“On the first Run there was some tough riding and some tough days” Nathan explained “but I think all the riders went away feeling more confident about what they could accomplish next, some planning trips overseas others keen to explore even further the backroads of the UK. It just goes to show you don’t need a big bike. You don’t need a lot of money. You don’t even need to do it all in one go. Pick a weekend and go off and sample some of it. Do the rest another time”.

‘I did it because I got the all-clear!’

 David maRTIN  David Martin, Derbi Terra Adventure 125
“I bought the Derbi in April 2016, rode it for a couple weeks but was then diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer so it got parked. I’ve been given the all-clear now and I’m raising money for www.beatingbowelcancer.org. I was nervous at the start of the Run, but covering so many miles in a short space of time has given me heaps of confidence. I’d always avoided riding in the rain too but out here there’s no option to wimp out, you just have to get on with it.”

‘I’ve ridden for 700 miles on three cylinders!’ 

 Phillip Barett  Philip Barrett, Honda CB400 Super Four
“In Cornwall I heard a knocking and then a bang. One of the plugs came out of the head and the thread was damaged so wouldn’t go back in. I’ve been riding for 800 miles on three, it still does 70 though! On a ride like the Garbage Run you get to experience everything biking has to offer – good and bad. Just when you think the road is getting dull you turn a corner and ride this amazing stretch.”

Want to be a Garbage Runner?

Next year’s Garbage Run will take place on May 19-26. Places are limited to 25, entry costs £245. The price includes all of the camping, maps and support. The Run is semi-guided so you’ll need to be prepared to navigate yourself at least some of the way. Go to www.thegarbagerun.com for more details.

This week’s 5000-mile heroes

Helen Simpson Willie Richards
Iain Curtis Dave Williams
John Cullen Sam Downing
Tony Hubbard Nigel Taylor
John McCombe

To add your name, head to the #ride5000miles Facebook page and add you name to the pinned post

Awards – As nominated by the #ride5000miles members

Paul Bowles

Best charitable act of the year
Paul Bowles

The Bowles Biking Challenge saw husband and wife team, Paul and Tracy ride 1950.1 miles from John O’ Groats to Land’s End and raised £4500 for the Missing People and MJCC charities and was well-followed on our Facebook page. Top work people!

MCN’s campaign to encourage as many readers as possible to cover 5000 miles in a year is all about getting the most enjoyment possible from your motorcycle. We realise life is full of pressures that stop you biking, but there’s always a way.

So #ride5000miles is all about finding time on a Sunday to go for a blast, or doing that tour or trip you’ve always wanted to do. It can even be about just riding your bike to work more often.

There’s a great network set up to help you achieve this – and thousands of bikers have already signed up to our #ride5000miles Facebook group. It’s a wonderful place, full of friendly faces who are happy to share routes, experiences and tips. Even if you’re not going to be able to complete 5000 miles, being a member of the Facebook group will improve your biking life.

How do I do it?

Keep a note of your mileage. Many #ride5000miles members take pics of their odometer as a record.  

What do I win? 

Nothing – but satisfaction, a greater love for bikes and biking, and perhaps a little bit of fame. We regularly feature #ride5000miles members in the paper, and showcase your experiences to get even more people to join in with the challenge. We want the world to ride 5000 miles – and it’s really not that hard. Details of a bigger and better #ride5000miles campaign for 2018 will be revealed soon.

How to sign up


Ped Baker

By Ped Baker

Former MCN Managing Editor (Digital & Events)