I like Iron Butts and I cannot lie- 7 weird things I learned on an Iron Butt ride

Posted by Wild Ride Radio Crew September 5, 2017 Comments are off

I like Iron Butts and I cannot lie-

7 weird things I learned on an Iron Butt ride

By Dallas Hageman, Wild Ride Radio Host | Photo by: Wild Ride Radio

This past May I had the opportunity to learn some surprising things not known to me before now. One would think that these pearls of wisdom I garnished from my most recent coast to coast trip would be common sense. These days however, it seems as though sense is far from common and unfortunately I found myself erring on the side of stupidity, or at the very least, naivety.

Recently I had the opportunity to ride an Iron Butt and rack up some serious miles on the ol’ scoot. If you don’t know what an Iron Butt ride is then I would suggest starting at IronButt.com to read up on the association as a whole. In short, it’s an organization made up of intense (and possibly crazy) Riders who want nothing more than to put miles on their odometers. The Iron Butt Association or, IBA, constructs and verifies certain endurance rides for anyone wishing to participate. If a Rider wants to complete one of the numerous endurance rides commissioned by the IBA they need only to read the guidelines, keep receipts and gather signatures of witnesses to prove they rode a certain amount of miles… and I mean MILES! For instance, the IBA’s “easiest” ride is 1,000 miles in 24 hours on a motorcycle (the one I completed and am writing about now) from there the rides go anywhere from 1,500 miles in 24 hours to a 100 CC Insanity (coast to coast to coast in 100 hours or less). Essentially, Riders like to push themselves, their bikes and the limits all for bragging rights and a coveted spot on the IBA list of victors of the road.

During my recent endeavor to ride and complete the IBA Saddle Sore (1,000 miles in 24 hours) I learned a couple of things that may be obvious to you, but were not as clear to me… until I started eating up miles. Below I have listed 7 things learned from time spent on the road in the name of earning a spot in the Iron Butt Association. My hope is that these will help you and give you a heads up if you decide to take to the streets and shred some rubber this season.

If you pack, you are wasting your time
Sounds weird right? I thought so too! I mean, if you go 1,000 miles or 1,500 miles or whatever amount of crazy distance to get and IBA award you should pack something right? Wrong. When you do these kinds of miles in a short amount of time you will have little time to do anything but sit on your bike and maybe take a nap every now and then. Snacks are good to pack as well as hydration a map and a cell phone. Other than that very short list, you really don’t need anything else to complete a shorter Iron Butt ride.

Rain gear is for wimps
These rides don’t allow for weather stopping you, so ride through the storms that come up. Now I know that last sentence may have sent some Riders into spasms since, in my experience, at least 75% of motorcycle owners these days don’t even back their sleds out of the garage unless it’s projected to by sunny and 75 for the next 500 days, but nonetheless, if you plan on getting an IBA certificate and become more of an actual RIDER than someone who just owns a bike, you better plan on riding through some rough weather… don’t worry though, you WILL dry out.

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Pack what your bike needs, not you
I did say that you shouldn’t really pack anything for a shorter Iron Butt, and I meant it. However, your bike is a different story. Motorcycles are like helicopters, they need fine-tuned and a lot of upkeep but they are worth everything you can invest in them. Remember too, your iron horse is the only thing getting you back home if you decide to take off on this nutty adventure, so sooth your steed with some necessary essentials. Bring an air pressure gauge, a battery backup to charge a cell phone that may be dead, some duct tape and a couple of zip ties. In fact I think Confucius said that “anything can be fixed with either flowers or Duct tape”, so remember that ancient wisdom for your next ride and pack what you need to get out of a tight situation. Also, I always carry at least an extra quart of oil just in case I need it (I do ride a Harley after all…) and I prefer to bring Amsoil. They carry the best synthetic oil for motorcycles and it’s been my oil of choice for over 250,000 miles. Check out what they have to offer HERE.

Gourmet Food
Going from gas station to gas station there is little to no time for leisurely stops, and searching for that great “hole in the wall” diner to get your grub on is out the window. If you look hard enough you can find gourmet food though… and by gourmet food I mean relatively luke warm hot dogs that have been sitting on those heater spinner thingies for about 18 hours at a gas station. That my friends, is about as gourmet as one gets when doing an Iron Butt. So, if you or your riding partner are high maintenance queens (or kings) you might want to sit this one out and go to a local rally where most Riders only act tough but are scared to death to get on their bike and actually ride it.

Where am I?
When going this far in a short amount of time on two wheels you may find yourself asking “Where in the hell am I?” Just remember, it doesn’t matter. Seriously, it’s about the only time it does not matter, but nonetheless, it does not matter. Completing any IBA ride requires pre mapping of a route and a determination to get to your objective within the time specified, so sightseeing and the like are thrown out. Does it sound a little grueling? Good. Not many Riders have ever done this and there is a reason for it. If you want to be counted in the few, you have to do what it takes.

Nobody cares about you
So, you have had the trip planned for months, got the bike all ready to go and have started out on your first Iron Butt ride, all to clench the coveted IBA certification and be welcomed into the Association… No one cares. At least nobody else on the road and this realization hit me hard when I started out on my Iron Butt. I had everybody in my life ready, all social media pages prepped and updated with many friends and followers cheering me on. The road however, was a different story. You have to remember that to everyone else on the road, you are an obstacle to their destination and in my experience, most drivers don’t give two monkey poops what you are trying to do, they would rather you be dead and out of the way than in front of them. Remember this, don’t let anyone steal your thunder. Keep going. You are doing this for YOU, and that should be your drive.

Speed will only make you tired
This may sound a little off to you, if you have never competed or completed an Iron Butt ride, but there is literally no need to speed on any sanctioned ride the Iron Butt Association verifies. Each ride allows for an average speed of around 43 miles per hour (stops included) to complete the ride so the necessity of riding ridiculously fast is taken out of the equation. The IBA stresses the importance of safety and would not put any Rider or participant in intentional danger. If you think you need to ride like a bat out of hell to finish on time, you might want to reevaluate what is actually needed to complete a ride.

You may be wondering why someone would want to go through the trouble of planning a route, gearing up the bike, gutting through the grueling miles and submitting all the proper paperwork just for a patch and a spot within the Iron Butt community… and to you I would say that the IBA is probably not the right fit. The Riders within the IBA like a challenge. They like the feeling of conquering almost insurmountable odds and to be counted among the few to actually ride their motorcycle. I can personally tell you that the feeling of riding the amount of miles that some people take on an airplane within the same day, is downright exhilarating. Yes, some of the enjoyment from an IBA is the bragging rights of not just telling people you did a ride of such magnitude, but also possessing the ability to prove it. For me, it was a challenge I thought would be a “one and done” type deal. The night I got off my Harley in the driveway when I completed my first Iron Butt ride, was the same night I decided to keep pushing myself and my bike to keep completing them far into the future. If you want a challenge, get an Iron Butt.

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