This summer Cerebra Ambassador Gordon Stuart will attempt his latest epic charity motorbike challenge. He will have just 12 days to take on the 5000 mile ride through Canada, Alaska, and the Arctic. 800 miles of this will be off-road when takes on the notoriously dangerous Dalton Highway, made famous in the documentary TV series ‘Ice Road Truckers’.
Gordon’s project, ‘The Arctic Rider’, is an on-going series of charity motorbike challenges. Gordon explains: “It started in 2011 as a charity ride to the Arctic Circle that didn’t really go to plan, and has become a near obsession with the Arctic, an obsession with riding a motorbike, and an obsession with helping charities close to my heart”.
In 2011 he crashed his motorbike in Sweden en route to the Arctic, raising £1,300 for Cerebra. In 2014, he rode 6,000 miles solo to Nordkapp in the Arctic Circle, raising over £5,000 for Cerebra. And in 2016, he completed the UK ‘Iron Butt challenge’, riding the length of the UK from Lands End to John O’Groats in 18 hours, raising over £1,800 for Tiny Lives Trust.
Causes close to his heart
This year’s challenge is the biggest yet! Gordon is attempting to raise £4000 for Cerebra and Newcastle based charity The Tiny Lives Trust. Gordon explains why these charities are very close to his heart:
“My little brother Robbie suffered severe brain damage from a near miss cot death when he was just 9 months old. Cerebra have supported my family ever since and I am proud to be a fundraiser and Ambassador for a charity that changes so many lives for the better. Both of my own children were born prematurely and spent time in SCBU. The Tiny Lives Trust helps to care for premature and sick newborn babies, their mothers, and families in SCBU by providing a range of facilities, staff, and equipment.”
Speaking ahead of his challenge Gordon said: “Only a few weeks ago I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to do the trip this summer. My youngest, Hugo, has been in and out of hospital this year and was in only few weeks ago, which threw my trip into doubt. While I’m committed to the great charities I support, family always comes first. After some long conversations with my (long suffering biker-widow) wife Kirsty, we agreed that the right thing to do was to press ahead with my trip and raise even more money to help other children like Hugo and his big sister Islay. I must say The Arctic Rider project would be nothing without the support from Kirsty. This time she’ll be holding at fort at home for 3 weeks with a pre-schooler and a baby, while I’m fighting bears and mosquitoes in northern North America. Those who’ve been following since my early trips will remember I left a 6-month pregnant Kirsty while I sent off for Nordkapp in 2014 – what a lass!”
Gordon will be riding 5,000 miles in 2 weeks to cross Canada and Alaska including the notorious Ice-road ‘The Dalton Highway’, deep inside the Arctic Circle – described as 800 miles of gravel, mud, mosquitoes, mountain ranges, and angry truckers!
To complete the ride he will to travel to Calgary, Canada to meet his specially modified off-road Adventure motorcycle (provided by Suzuki). He will then travel across Canada and Alaska to take on the ride and the Dalton highway. ‘The Dalton’ is a 414 mile stretch of mostly gravel road which was designed as a supply road to support the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. The road is often cited as one of the world most dangerous roads due its remoteness, road quality, and demanding Arctic weather.
The trip will be a tough one. Phil Freeman, a veteran of 10+ rides up the Dalton and Alaskan native describes the ride: “Every year motorcyclists are killed on the Dalton Highway. There are relatively no places to stop along the way: no gas, no convenience stores, no McDonalds. There are stretches of up to 245 miles without gas. On a good day, you can ride it wide open. On a bad day, you can go home in a helicopter. You are literally riding through pristine wilderness. Welcome to the food chain.”
Gordon will be setting off from Newcastle on 26th June and you can follow his preparations and progress on his blog.
If you’d like to support Gordon please visit his Virgin Money Giving page.