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Bun Burner Gold


The Bike

I wanted to do a Bun Burner or Bun Burner Gold to follow up my Saddlesore from a few years earlier. I had a bike I considered well up to the job, 2004 BMW R1150RT with 9,500 miles. I had added a pair of PIAA Driving Lamps to help with the nightime section. I wish I had a GPS. I had ordered a Rick Mayer seat for the trip but it arrived three days after I left.


I had planned this ride several times with minor variations. However, this time I spent very little time planning and checking the route. Too much else was going on. In the previous month I had replaced my rear tyre three times. Twice because of punctures, the last one wrecking the back wheel. A friend, who should have been meeting me in Spain, did not receive their passport in time. This along with the seat not arriving in time left me with bad feelings about the ride I just took a previously planned route and decided to start shortly after arriving in France. Normally I would fine tune the start time to miss the worst traffic, check on the weather, roadworks etc.

The Route

After the stresses of nearly missing the ferry during my Saddlesore 1000, I went to a friends place near Folkestone, the day before. I got up at about 7am, had a light breakfast and left for the Eurotunnel terminal. I still hadn't decided whether I was really going to do the Bun Burner, as I had wanted the replacement seat..

I pulled in to the gas station on the Eurotunnel exit road, on the French side. It was a nice day and I decided to go for it. The basic route was from Calais, France to Hannover, Germany, south to Ulm, Germany, West towards Mulhouse and South to Lyon, France, south to Orange, France and along the coast to Lloret de Mar, Spain.

The Ride

I got my witnesses (both British to save language problems), and filled up the bike. I set off at 10.49am. I had intended to go at noon. I started the ride a couple of miles earlier than planned and was quickly on my way. I knew the first part of the ride fairly well having done the route many times. I kept the pace up to try and get some time in hand. Every few miles I came across roadworks, the traffic levels were wrong. I was struggling to keep up to the required average speed. Then I got to Antwerp, I was following another bike through the traffic, more roadworks and let him do the work of making a gap through the traffic. Suddenly he moved lanes and I was stuck on the off ramp! I had no choice but find my way through Antwerp in the lunchtime rush. I generally have no sense of direction and couldn't decide what signs I needed to follow. The traffic was travelling at about 20mph through this part. Eventually I recognised a sign and got back onto the autoroute. This cost me several minutes.

Once I was back on my route I decided I would have to concentrate more. I raised the speed as I dared to make up some of the lost time.My first fuel stop was way too early, at 173 miles. I was back on schedule, in fact ahead of schedule. I had averaged 78mph for the first leg. The stock BMW seat was already making itself felt. If it got too bad, I would have to make a decision soon on whether to continue or head straight to Spain. I had brought a second set of forms in case I aborted or failed on this try. Then I would be able to try again on the way home.

I carried on and was now making better time. I wanted time in hand to cover the slower nightime speeds to come. European roads are good for fast riding with an 80mph limit on most motorways and an “Advisory” 80mph in Germany. My next fuel stop was only 132 miles later! The seat was going to turn this ride into a high stress nightmare. I was already in Germany and would soon be away from the industrial area and able to raise the speed again. I had held on to my average speed. If I managed to keep up this pace I would finish with over four hours to spare!

By the time I reached 6 hours I had covered 428 miles. My fuel stops were still erratic due to the seat. I had travelled only 120 miles since the last stop.

Iin Germany, It was noticeable how much better the driving was. I was travelling at a fair speed and was constantly being overtaken by cars doing 130 + mph. I stopped at about 17.45 for a break and some food. And a chance to curse the seat. I rested for about quarter of an hour before setting off again. I had covered 500 miles in just over seven hours. I still felt that I didn't have enough time in hand considering all the stops I was making. I rode for another hour and a half before the next fuel stop . I was now riding at high speed and the fuel consumption began to increase. I would have to allow for that later.

After another couple of fuel stops it was time for a decent break. I stopped for thirty minutes for fuel, and food. I even managed to sleep for fifteen minutes! It was 23.30 by the time I left and temperatures were really starting to drop. I made sure my heated waistcoat was properly plugged in and feeling reasonably refreshed.

As crossed into France about hour later, I seemed to have the road virtually to myself. The PIAA's lit the road up well enabling me to maintain a good speed. Shortly before 1am my odometer showed 10585 miles. I had covered the first "1000 miles" in 14hours 3 minutes.

I carried on and started to look for fuel. I pulled in to one gas station, but they wouldn't serve me unless, as a motorcyclist, I paid in advance. Not liking this kind of discrimination, I took my business elsewhere. The next gas station was a fair way down the road and I thought I was going to regret it. In the middle of the night it can be quite difficult to find gas stations open. Just as I was contemplating pulling off route to a large town to look for fuel, I found one. I was annoyed that I had nearly ruined the ride for a bit of pride.

Shortly after this event the tiredness kicked in. I pulled over onto the edge of the road to check my map, seeing a gateway I figured it would be safer to get a bit further off the road. What I had failed to notice was a concrete gully. This nearly overbalanced me.. Because of the slope, I could not put my stand down, so I had to accelerate hard to get out of the gully and back onto the road.

I pulled in to the next service area for a break. I got my fuel and had a meal and a rest. Theorhetically , I was still nearly an hour and a half ahead of schedule after a forty minute break. During this break I was comparing my odometer mileage with that on the computer generated route and there appeared to be quite a difference. This knowledge was to annoy me for the rest of the ride.

I felt much better after the rest and was surprised when I even got through Lyon without problems. A very rare occurence for me. I have never been through the same route twice, and nearly always get lost. A couple of hours later the sun started to come up and I found this helped refresh me for the remaining ride. The heavier coastal traffic kept the speeds down a bit, but at the same time, dealing with the traffic got the adrenaline flowing.This also kept my mind off how tired I was.

When 1500 miles came up on the odometer near Perpignan in France, I estimated my odometer to be out by around fifty miles. I decided that with two hours still in hand, I would continue beyond the end of the planned ride, just to make sure. The remainder of the ride was smooth until I started looking for somewhere to get witnesses. The gas station I had used for my Saddlesore 1000 termination point was now derelict. I went past another gas station because I missed the entrance. It seemed an eternity to the next one, I finally found one with only half an hour remaining.

I continued to my holiday destination a few miles further on to be told that I couldn't check in for another hour and a half. I parked the bike by the hotel and found a bar and had a couple of drinks to celebrate. The landlady even brought me a bacon sandwich. "You look like you could do with it." she said. I slept for a few hours once I was let in to the hotel, but it was a couple of days before I could sit comfortably.




Never believe your odometer, it was actually as much as 40 miles out for the 1555 genuine miles


GPS would have made things easier. I have since ridden many thousands of miles with a gps and now can't do without one.

Always have a plan B, just in case. If you need to give up, give up. There's always next time.

Total Costs:[b/] £158 (U$309)

Fuel: £132 (U$258)

Tolls:£26 (U$51)

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Great story Mark!


Now, I didn't read anywhere about having to chain your bike to your leg while you napped!!!


BBG is an awesome achievement, especially in your neck of the woods!


Well done, but a Bacon Sandwich???

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Now, I didn't read anywhere about having to chain your bike to your leg while you napped!!!


Had to do that on the saddlesore 1000 when I done it.

Nothing like a bacon sandwich and beer for breakfast.

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I've heard that even the SS1K is tough to do over there because of the layout of the roads, traffic conditions, etc. You having completed a BBG over there under those circumstances ... just boggles my mind. I don't doubt you for a second ... just in complete and total awe of the accomplishment.


Well done!

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The hardest part is the lack of room on the continent. Trying to keep away from the main cities to keep up the pace is awkward. The cost of gas is also crippling.

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Can't you just race back and forth between Nurnberg and Passau ? Or up north to Kassel? Not all those parts have speed limits yet wink.gif

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Can't you just race back and forth between Nurnberg and Passau ? Or up north to Kassel? Not all those parts have speed limits yet wink.gif
Can't say I didn't think about it, but I thought the boredom would've finished me off. Besides I had already arranged to go to Spain
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Wow!! You did a BBG . . . in Europe . . . on a stock saddle??!! eek.gif



(Where's that kow-tow'ing "we're not worthy" emoticon?? Oh, yeah, here he is!! bowdown.gif )



Just a few observations: In California (and in more and more places in America in general, I've been noticing tongue.gif ) you can't fuel up anywhere anymore without paying first--motorcyclist or otherwise.


I was ready to be even MORE REALLY impressed by accomplishing a BBG in the UK, but I see you got smart and used the Autobahns in Germany! Still, VERY impressive! thumbsup.gif

(Oooh, look there he is again!! bowdown.gifgrin.gif )


Sunrise is a real help against fatigue. I did mine leaving at 08:00 am and I was very fatigued by 03:00-05:00 before the sun came up and I'd been on the road for 20+ hours. I would do my next one starting in the late afternoon so I can get through the wee hours of the morning when I'm still fairly fresh and finish up in the daylight (and be cognizant of the possibility of the sun in my eyes).


Nice write up and GREAT job! clap.gif

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