11,000 Miles in 11 Days on a Motorcycle
July 2, 2013 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Today marks the beginning of the 2013 Iron Butt Rally, a long distance motorcycle rally in which participants ride 11,000 miles in 11 days. It rained on today's start in Pennsylvania, but the challenges are only beginning for these riders.

Held every two years since 1991 (and sporadically before that), the winner is not necessarily the rider with the most miles. The rally is all about route strategy and accumulating points [pdf] Riders must check in on-schedule at the Start and Finish as well as at checkpoints in between. There are also bonuses where the rider can accrue extra points for, say, picking up a menu from a specific restaurant or getting a photo at a specific place. Bonus locations are kept secret until the very last minute and the bonuses worth the most points are the most far-flung or difficult to obtain.

This year's Hopeless Class of riders on small, old, odd or unreliable bikes is led by Kurt Worden who is riding a Kawasaki Ninja 250 with no auxiliary fuel on board. Watch the riders' locations change is real time on the IBR Spotwalla page or at the IBR's official event blog [pdf]. For an IRB history lesson, pick up the documentary films about the 2007 and 2009 events.
posted by workerant (13 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Previously (my only MeFi post!)

Robert Higdon used to write the daily reports for these, and they were much more entertaining (IMHO) than after he retired. But the rally is amazing, in the same sort of way as those crazy MIT scavenger hunts...
At the conclusion of the 2005 Iron Butt Rally I retired from writing daily reports of the rally’s progress. [...]
Thus have I been conscripted.
Whoa! Bob's back! I can't wait to read this year's reports!
posted by spacewrench at 11:07 AM on July 2, 2013

Holy mackerel. I thought riding 400 miles on a Harley UltraGlide (as a passenger) was way too much. 11,000 miles is a lot of bugs in your teeth.
posted by desjardins at 11:08 AM on July 2, 2013

Oh man. I had the Ninja - it is not made for long-distance riding, butt-wise.
posted by legospaceman at 11:21 AM on July 2, 2013

What an amazing post - thank you so much for putting this together. I have heard of this before, but had no clue that this is going down as I type.
posted by nostrada at 11:37 AM on July 2, 2013

Awesome. Also, crazy.

I kept thinking of doing a one-day Ironbutt (1K miles in a day, documented) back when I rode, but never got around to it.
posted by rmd1023 at 11:43 AM on July 2, 2013

Anyone got the over/under on the number of piston rods the Ninja finishes with?
posted by 7segment at 11:44 AM on July 2, 2013 [2 favorites]

I just finished a two week, 4,700 mile trip in my reasonably comfy Volvo Station wagon. My butt is still numb and I'm seriously debating even running to the store for groceries at the moment. My hat is off to these guys.

Especially that guy on the Honda XBR500. Man, that's a sweet bike. Godspeed.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 12:10 PM on July 2, 2013

Is there an actual map showing the route the riders will be taking? That Spotwalla thing is less than helpful, frankly (unless the riders really are circling the Great Lakes and invading Canada at this moment)
posted by Thorzdad at 12:31 PM on July 2, 2013

I am having the same problems understanding the Spotwalla thingy. Some are down in Florida? A proper map would be sweet. Still reading through the rules, just for fun. They sure are serious about this . . .
posted by nostrada at 12:53 PM on July 2, 2013

There's no way I'm stupid enough to try this on my nearly-30-year-old 125cc scooter with 110-mile range...but it sure is fun to think about.
posted by davejay at 1:02 PM on July 2, 2013

Yup. The riders really are preparing to invade Canada. Some of them, anyway. Details this early in the rally are hard to come by; more information about the checkpoints and bonuses will become available over the next couple of days as riders/spouses/teams get around to posting them online. The riders will have to be somewhere (they know where) at a checkpoint sometime (they know when) in the next two or three days. Between now and then, they are chasing bonus points. At the start they were given a list of bonuses all over the US and Canada; it's up to the riders to collect as many points as they can and still make it to the next checkpoint within the time allotted. There is no event route so riders will be scattered all over North America at any given time. Your best bet to see an IBR rider is to figure out where the checkpoints are and loiter there.
posted by workerant at 1:11 PM on July 2, 2013

There seems to be a bonus in Halifax and must be an other one in Cape Breton somewhere. I wonder if the CB one is on the Cabot Trail. That is an awesome bit of road.
posted by SpannerX at 1:28 PM on July 2, 2013

Helluva post. I've done 1,000-mile days on a reasonably comfortable bike when I was about 23, couldn't begin to imagine doing 11 straight.
posted by ambient2 at 1:43 PM on July 2, 2013

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