What do you do on a Bank Holiday Weekend? Think I'l

So. It's a bank holiday weekend. You've got it all off. What? - 500 miles? Oh go on then...


The Royal British Legion Riders Branch 1000 was established in 2009 to raise funds for the Poppy Appeal and to encourage riders to challenge themselves in a uniquely supportive event. It also gains the participants who complete the ride an Iron Butt Certificate.

This year’s ride is on Saturday 24th June with the start and finish at Squires Café Bar.

As a member of the Yorkshire Branch I was aware of this challenge and voiced my interest in undertaking it last year to our current chairman, David Scott-Wells, who has amassed a few Iron Butt certificates and offered to accompany me.

Word are easy, actions are not so before signing up to such a task and obtaining sponsorship from friends and family I wanted to know in myself if I was actually capable of undertaking this challenge.

As the Easter bank holiday drew close I decided to test myself with a straightforward 500 miles in 12 hours. This would be my benchmark as to whether I would go ahead and register for the event or not.

So where to go for 500 miles? My usual days out on my bike vary from 100 to 300 miles depending on which group of friends I am with. I needed a focal point so decided on the Scottish Town of Ayr where I went to senior school and was based as a Student Nurse in training. Now I had a focal point I was rather excited.

I watched the weather forecast and was pleased when they suggested it would be light showers only. So I set my alarm for 5am to be out and off at first light.

4:30 am and I am wide awake. Dressed, coffee drunk and cereal eaten and I’m in the garage for 5:30. I ride a Triumph Tiger 800 XRX and having been out on the bike the previous day I had given her the once over before putting her away so all that was left to do was check and adjust my tyre pressures. I was never in any doubt that the bike would be capable, I was just doubting myself. I reset the trip meter and took the obligatory picture logging the time, 6am.

I was a bit dismayed at the temperature reading of 6 degrees but convinced myself it would soon warm up. The recent spell of mild weather has spoilt me, but I had been sensible and put a decent base layer on underneath my textiles and went back into the garage to retrieve my heated gloves from a shelf.

6:04am and I was off while my mind was remembering the text messages from close friends asking me if I was mad.

The roads were dry with only the odd car for company. Nice steady ride towards York where I topped up my fuel at the Tesco’s at Clifton Moor. I had set my Sat Nav to avoid motorways so I expected it to surprise me with a route known only to it and a cartographer. So off we headed onto the A19 and as I predicted I was soon off the beaten track through the lovely villages of Tollerton, Flawith, Helperby, Cundall and heading towards Thirsk. By this point the temperature had dropped to 4 degrees and my legs were aching from the cold, but my hands were warm.