MCN’s staffers haven’t mowed their lawns much this year – they’ve been riding their bikes. Here is why you should take up the challenge, too...
‘Everything feels better after a long ride’
MCN Deputy Editor, Richard Newland, has racked up nearly 11,000 miles in 2017 – and he’s still got a long way to go…
There’s something endlessly exciting about riding motorcycles. Whether it’s discovering somewhere you’ve never been before, finding a new favourite road, seeing a view for the first time, or scything along your most treasured route – it never loses its allure.
But my real joy, the thing that really fires my brain into overdrive, is covering serious mileage in one hit. It’s a rare treat with so many other things vying for my free time – but whenever I get the chance to stick a pin in a map a long way from home, I invariably turn the ride into the sort of mission that many people would consider hellish. But for me, it’s life-affirmingly cathartic. Absolutely everything feels better after a long ride.
The magic starts to happen at a little over 250 miles, but the real nirvana arrives at around 600 miles into the ride. The effect of relentless motion creates a trance-like euphoria, and I feel like I’m moving through the landscape with a fluidity that never quite arrives on a short blast. It doesn’t have to be non-stop – but I’m happiest when it is. On one occasion the lunacy reached 1703.5 miles in just over 30 hours before I gave in and stopped.
This year is yet to deliver a single day with that level of gratification, my 10,724 miles so far having been cobbled together on many different motorcycles – with one of the biggest individual totals on an Africa Twin – which I rode 2100 miles from Oslo to Nordkapp in eight days.
The freedom and thrill of riding has taken me places I’d never have gone on four wheels – and with a level of connection to the world that you just can’t get sat in a tin box. From squirming on ice through a British winter to grinding an Indian’s footboards in the San Antonio mountains above Los Angeles, I’ve been compiling the sights, sounds, and smells that will forever define how I remember 2017.
Highlight this year
The 205-mile ride which totals the length of Lofoten island was incredible. It might never be beaten as my best ride, ever.
I’m desperate to ride a lap of the whole UK coastline, and have mapped the route already. It’s a fittingly precise 5001-mile route – I just need a free week...
Total miles in 2017 so far – 10,724
‘Commuting by bike saves loads of time and money’
MCN’s Consumer Writer Dan Sutherland makes his life better by using his bike to get to work every day
Though I’ve only been with MCN for two short months, it has become obvious that my 110-mile-a-day commute is far better completed by bike than in a car.
Yes, you get a radio and shelter from the rain on four wheels, but for ease, speed, fun and fuel economy, my Suzuki GSX250R is simply unbeatable.
Taking the bike also turns my daily commute into more of an event. It accelerates faster and sounds better than my car and it goes around corners with an ample degree of lean.
Along with this, in the car I am forced to sit behind the first slow line of traffic I find, which is especially prevalent now at harvest time. However, using the bike means I can nip past the envious drivers and continue the enjoyment.
The Suzuki is also much cheaper to run. Despite being thrashed within an inch of its life in order to keep up with traffic, the 250 can return a staggering near 77mpg. Now that’s cheap fun.
Highlight this year
An extended blast on Triumph’s new Street Triple RS on a sunny Monday morning – not a bad start to the week!
Heading up to Scotland on the GSX250R. I reckon I can get to Edinburgh on about £15 of gas…
Total miles in 2017 so far – 7,468
‘I love riding to exotic places on exotic bikes’
MCN’s Chief Road Tester Michael Neeves loves nothing more than clocking big miles on a sportsbike
Riding is my life. It’s an all-consuming passion that grips me every second of every day. I’m at my happiest when I’m on a bike and being an MCN Road Tester beats winning the lottery.
As long as it has two wheels and an engine, I don’t mind what kind of bike I’m on. I’ve got a 125 scooter for zipping around town, but sportsbikes have always been my passion, not just for trackdays but for exploring the world. I’ll happily take a bit of pain on an eight-hour motorway schlep through France to reach the dizzying, sun-drenched tarmac of Alps or Pyrenees, or endure a bumpy, monotonous E40 highway through Belgium to play at the Nürburgring and the surrounding roads.
I’ve travelled to Sardinia on a GSX-R750, Ibiza on an R1, Africa on an S1000RR and lapped Tasmania on a Panigale. Over the years I’ve become sportsbike shaped, and while there are always times on a big ride when I wish I was on something upright and more comfortable – it only takes a curvy mountain pass to remember just why I love life doing big miles on sportsbikes.
Highlight this year
Riding at the Nürburgring never gets old for me. I’ve been going for the past 17 years and it gets better the more I ride it.
I’m heading off to the supermoto races on the streets of Mettet, Belgium. Seeing a grid-full of lunatics backing it in on the road is really special.
Total miles in 2017 so far – 10,362
‘I use a bike so much that I’ve never driven a car’
MCN’s Senior Reporter, Jordan Gibbons, puts thousands of miles in all weathers, and wouldn’t have it any other way
Bikes have always been important to me – I got my first one at 17 – and now I can’t imagine a life without them. In fact, I use a bike so much that I’ve never actually learned to drive a car. Despite having held lots of different jobs as a journalist, I’ve never yet come across a situation when a bike can’t cut it and most of the time it’s the better option.
Despite the amount of hours I spend on a bike during the week (commuting from London to Peterborough), I still get giddy with excitement on a Friday evening at the thought of going out for an early Saturday morning ride. The extra time I’ve spent on a bike this year has brushed my skills up too. I’m smoother now than I’ve ever been and, my mates all struggle to keep up now.
Highlight this year
With Dakar legend Marc Coma
The Trotternish Peninsula (Google it!)
Total miles in 2017 so far – 15,375
Just what is #ride5000miles?
MCN’s campaign to get as many readers to cover 5000 miles in a year is all about getting the most enjoyment possible from your motorcycle. We realise that 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 that you’ve always wanted to do. It can even be about just riding your bike to work more.
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 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 you biking life.
How do I do it?
Keep a note of your mileage. Many R5K 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 R5K members in the paper and showcase your experiences to get even more people to join in with the challenge. We want to the world to ride 5000 miles – and it’s really not that hard.
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