How do you test the true capabilities of an adventure motorcycle? Send it to the far corner of Scandinavia, where motorways don’t exist, and gravel roads are the norm, with your ‘average rider’ in control of the throttle.
This summer Gordon Stuart is doing just that, taking a 2018 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 XT adventure tourer to Iceland and The Arctic Circle, as well as a short stop to the Faroe Islands on the way home.
Gordon will travel over 3,800 miles on the V-Strom in just 18 days travelling from Newcastle UK to The North of Denmark before a two-day sea passage to Iceland. Then he will traverse the gravel roads, and barren land, and bypass volcano or two, before crossing the Arctic Circle at Iceland’s most northerly point on the Island of Grimsey.
“It’s great to have the backing from Suzuki to do this epic road test of their flagship adventure bike on some of the toughest roads around. We’ll see what the bike is really made of on this trip.” said Gordon.
The Arctic Rider is back!
Gordon, one of the UK’s foremost solo charity bikers and self-proclaimed ‘just your average rider’, is also known by his alter-ego, The Arctic Rider. Over the past 7 years he has circa 14,000 miles of charity rides in the saddle, including 2 trips to Arctic Norway, and a certified ‘Iron Butt’ in the UK, Gordon has raised almost as many pounds for worthy causes as miles he has ridden for charity.
Check out some of Gordon’s previous adventures…
Gordon will be putting the V-Strom through its paces to see how it handles sweeping mountain roads of the Icelandic fjords and The Faroe Islands, motorway cruising through Western Europe, and the off-road terrain of Iceland’s volcanic gravel interior. The trip will also see how the V-Strom copes ‘day to day’ on a long and intense trip.
“For me, beyond ‘the usual’ road test, the real barometer is it going to be how comfortable it is riding day in day out doing 300 plus mile days, and how easy is it to ride when the pressures on like searching for a petrol station low in fuel or doing a u-turn on a gravel track when you’ve taken a wrong turn looking for a campsite. This is what makes an adventure bike” Gordon adds.
Off-road training is key
To prepare for the ride, Gordon has been taking on some off-road training at Duns in the Scottish Boarders with former UK Motocross champion Bryan MacKenzie, as well as putting in some long days in Northumberland and Scotland.
“The off-road training was really needed” shares Gordon. “I haven’t ridden off-road since I was a kid, so to get some training in how to tackle gravel, how to effectively stand on the pegs and grip the bike with my knees. It also good, in hindsight, to have taken a few tumbles and get over my fear of falling off the bike. All this should stand me in good stead for tackling the gravel and dirt roads in Iceland.”
For this ride, dubbed ‘Arctic Ride Iceland’, Gordon is hoping to raise awareness for two UK charities, Cerebra & Tiny Lives Trust, and raise £4,000 in donations in the process.
“Cerebra gave vital support to my disabled little brother growing up, while Tiny Lives supported my daughter Islay after she was born prematurely in 2014 and spend time in special care”.
Devitt are extremely proud to be sponsoring Gordon again on his latest adventure to the Arctic Circle and wish him the best of luck. If you would like to follow Gordon on his adventure across Iceland, you can via his blog, Facebook, and Twitter.