We covered a story last month as a scooterist attempted to ride over 1000 miles in 24 hours on a geared Vespa, he came damned close. You can catch up on both the preparation here and see how he got on here. Another charity minded veteran ‘Iron Butt’ Scooter rider is Steve Cooper. We caught up with Steve ahead of a Marathon ride, essentially completing two 1000 mile plus charity rides back to back over 48 hours.
It seems that a few foolhardy souls within the scootering community are now pushing themselves and their machines up to and beyond their limits. Fair play!
What’s the plan?
During the weekend of July 22nd – 23rd I’m going to attempt to ride a Kymco Downtown 300i scooter from Calais to Valencia , rest a little, then return to Calais within 48 hours while clocking a distance of 2050 miles.
What will success mean?
If I’m successful, it means I would have achieved enough mileage to tick off my 9th and 10th Ironbutt Rides (1000 miles in 24 hours on a motorcycle/ scooter) and soon after that I’m going to ‘retire’ from the endurance game as I’ll have nothing else to prove.
That’ll be some achievement and I’m guessing your retirement will be well earned?
I can only emphasise the retirement aspect as I’ve ridden enough and consumed enough fossil fuels in my pursuit of my perfect 10 for me not to want to attempt another one. I’m 52 now and I’m not sure how many years I can carry on doing this. I’d rather end on a high than carry on and potentially struggle.
Are you doing this for charity?
Yes, I’ll be riding to generate funds for the Whizz Kidz Charity.
Who are Whizz Kidz?
Their mission is to transform the lives of disabled children by providing the equipment, support and life skills they need, when they need them – giving them the chance to develop their full potential.
Did you know that there are thousands of disabled children waiting for their childhoods to start, as they struggle to get a wheelchair that meets all their needs? Whizz Kidz believe that every young disabled person has the right to a fun and active childhood, and the chance to develop their full potential in life. What Whizz Kids do is provide disabled children and young people with vital mobility equipment, and life journey services, giving them opportunities to build friendships and have fun, and training to help them gain skills and look forward to a bright future.
It’s obviously a great charity choice and if you want to check out their website you can do so here.
Yes please, lot’s of!
I’m a little way off raising my £1000 target amount for these kids, who obviously need every penny. If you’d care to donate you can do so via my just giving page and many thanks.
You’ve ridden a couple of auto’s during your quest, why the Kymco 300i?
I switched to Kymco because both the GTS300 and the BV350 I’d been using proved too unreliable for the long distance rides. Both scooters had a tendency to cut out for different reasons so I lost faith in the product and jumped ship.
My biggest concerns on the 300i are tyres (punctures) or drive belt failure as both are going to get hot. The belts tend to delaminate as they don’t ever get a chance to cool. Total belt failure at 2500 miles is my record.
Why do you predominantly ride abroad?
The roads in the UK are way too much of a gamble to attempt it here. Most of the motorways are blighted with roadworks which kills any attempt to keep the speeds up so it has to be run in Europe. The highways are smooth as a billiard table and empty most of the time, plus the standard of driving is so much higher. Granted the tolls are going to cost me but the the receipts will help confirm where I was and when.
Ten things that will keep you going, what are they?
- Even after riding from Calais to Berlin and back in 21 hours (and 15 minutes) I knew I could have ridden further, I just don’t know how much. I guess it’s time to find out.
- I get a perverse thrill in using something that’s designed to get you to work or the shops and using it as a grand tourer.
- I guess the most exciting thing about this ride is that I don’t know if I can do it. The issue will be recognising the point when it is too dangerous to continue, if I ever do.
- Sure it gets painful at times so you have to greet the returning discomfort as an old friend you’ve missed. It takes the edge off it. Reminding yourself that your only going to go through this once today often helps.
- To help put each day’s ride into context I’ll divide it into sections, ¼, ½ and ¾ which makes it a little easier to swallow.
- I often relax once I’m past the 500-mile mark.
- I’ll also listen to the voices in my head!
- The worst bit is the last three hours when your head is fried and you still have around 200 miles to go. It can be hard to focus at that point.
- I’ll be happy with finishing each ride within 20 hours but I have a feeling that day two will feel a lot longer.
- These rides create a bit of a problem, they’re addictive. Where as unless I’m actually engaged in an endurance ride, the scooter stays in the garage. I’d rather drive somewhere than ride a ‘short’ distance.
There you have it
We can only wish Steve all the very best. It’s pretty obvious he’s had to push himself to complete the eight Iron Butt rides he’s done to date. But two back-to-back over a weekend is going to be extremely hard going. We think he’ll do it and in a very good time. We’ll look forward to hearing from Steve on how he faired and hopefully we can help in smashing his £1000 charity target by donating, details provided above.
Fancy a go?
With Steve’s imminent retirement, there’s going to be a void left in terms of regular scootering Iron Butt competitors. If you have a hard posterior and harder tenacity and determination to complete a thousand miler in 24-hours, check the Iron Butt Association website for info and registration. Most importantly, ride safe and let us know how you got on.
Words: Steve Cooper / Lee Pics: Downs Mail