Married couple Graeme and Sally Dawson clock up almost ten times the average mileage each year on their Honda Pan European and say that just like marriage, riding a bike with a passenger is all about teamwork.
The couple recently finished as the top pillion bike on the super-tough Brit Butt Rally, a high-mileage riding challenge where bikers ride the length and breadth of the country with the requirement of having your photo taken at landmarks outlined in a road book. The winners are decided on who clocks up most miles combined with points for getting photographed at the correct landmarks and return to the start point within 36 hours.
“This is our seventh Brit Butt Rally and we love it,” said Graeme. “We clocked up 989 miles in the 36 hours, riding everywhere from the Midlands to Northern England and as far afield as RAF Valley in Anglesey.”
“It was a great feeling to be the highest-scoring couple and we complete so many miles together that it is all second nature. Riding together is all about, teamwork. We have an intercom so that we can talk and Sally uses the sat-nav and helps find places to park and get the pics we need.”
The event is a serious test of endurance, with the some riders clocking 1500 miles and although rest is encouraged, people do push themselves. “We had seven hours of sleep this year. We decided to go back to the hotel in Leicester, but lots of riders will get a hotel on the way or just sleep when they can. We should have perhaps got a hotel in Scotland, but we wanted to play it safe on this one.
“We’ve had experience of it not going to plan though. During one event, it got really late and we ended up sleeping on a park bench in Aviemore. The police directed us into the park, but I didn’t realise that the park was near a nightclub. Soon every drunk in Scotland was asking us what we were doing there! We didn’t get much sleep.”
“I really riding enjoy pillion with Graeme and the challenge of the event,” says pillion Sally. “There are times when you want to stop and you need to apply will power to carry on.butit’sworthit.
“An intercom is really useful if you’re spending lots of time on a bike as a passenger, as is good bike kit. But comfort is very important, too. I got a custom seat made from Tony Archer in Huddersfield. I’ve tried a couple – one an inch higher and now this one, which has a gel insert. It makes a huge difference on how far you can travel.”
What is R5K?
MCN’s campaign aims to encourage riders to cover 5000 miles in a year.
How do I do it?
Make a note of your mileage at the start of your biking year. Take a photo at the start and end of the challenge.
Five reasons to sign up
1. It’ll make you a better rider.
2. You’ll know your bike better than ever, and enjoy it more.
3. It’ll make you ride to places you’ve never been before.
4. Be part of a top biking community.
5. Share tips on where to ride and what kit can go the distance.
How to sign up: www.facebook.com/ groups/ride5000miles