IF the first question that comes to your mind after reading the title is “What’s Saddlesore?”, you are probably on the wrong website. Even the most useless bikers know that term, and also its slutty sister the Bun Burner. As hard as it may be to believe, there’s really an organization with a name that provides a very interesting mental image, the organization that manages Saddlesores and Bun Burners.
Iron Butt Association
I can’t help but giggle whenever I hear that name, makes me think of metal dildos and rusted assholes. But don’t go by the name, IBA is a pretty well-respected establishment based in the US that certifies Saddlesores and Bun Burners and a whole variety of public endurance races.
Public Endurance Races, I like that term. Pretty sure IBA does not, because they always attempt to portray their events as anything BUT a race. In my opinion, using euphemistic language doesn’t really change the facts, IBA events are a race against time, even if they may not be race against each other.
For example, in a Saddlesore, you are expected to ride a 1000 miles (1609.34 kms) within 24 hours. That’s a lot of distance, almost like going from Pune to Bangalore, touching the city, and then coming back to Pune, non stop. Yes you aren’t really racing against the other people on the road, but you are fighting the clock, and that’s kinda the same thing.
Bun Burner ups the game even more, you gotta do 1500 miles (2414.016 kms) in 36 hours. These two are the most famous events from IBA’s repertoire, and today we shall discuss if we should completely ban them from our roads. This is a sensitive topic, and I’ve seen a lot of people get riled up about it on social media, which is awesome! I love it when people get pissed off.
Why should SaddleSore be banned?
When I say Saddlesore, I mean all of these public endurance races. Any event where you are expected to push your limits while away from the protected environment of a track are included in here.
1. It’s dangerous: Allow me to explain. I don’t really care if you do 358690 circles of your own private lawn, complete the saddlesore, and then die of stupidity. What I do care about is you overspeeding on the highway, taking chances to save some time, and then bumping into a fellow road user who has nothing to do with your record attempt.
No matter what anybody may tell you, no one should ride more than a 1000 kms a day, no matter what the circumstances may be. There’s NO WAY anybody can maintain their physical and mental health over such a long distance over such a long time under our road conditions. It doesn’t matter how much Red Bull/Monster/Gatorade you abuse, you are attempting to cross the limits of human endurance, which by default makes it a very risky endeavor.
2. It’s pointless: There was a time when I wanted to the saddlesore. Fortunately after a while I came back to my senses and decided to write this article. There’s only one reason anybody ever does these endurance runs:
That’s it, there’s nothing more. There’s no skill involved, no genius required, nothing. If you’ve seen the movie Rush you might remember this line Lauda says to his future wife: “There’s no need to drive fast. We’re not in a hurry, we’re not being paid. There is no reward for the risk. So why would I drive fast?”
Completing a saddlesore doesn’t prove anything except 2 things:
- You can sit on a motorcycle for a very long time
- You are stupid enough to take unnecessary risk for no apparent reward
3. It’s against the spirit of riding: I don’t know about you, but I ride motorcycles because they are so much fun. You can stop whenever you want to, talk to random people, never get stuck in a traffic jam, bypass tolls, do pretty much anything that your heart desires. If you are going to bind yourself with routes and rules and deadlines, you might as well just take the fucking bus.
Endurance runs are as opposite as you can get to the real purpose of riding, which is to be free. Randomness, unpredictability, chaotic fun is what defines the whole biking experience. I have repeatedly said riding is an art, and art cannot be hurried, it cannot be restricted, it should never be self-contradictory.
Why should SaddleSore NOT be banned?
Like I said, there was a time when I wanted to do it. I know people who’ve done it, and I know people have died trying to do it. It’s kinda like the debate against guns, do bikes kill people or do people on bikes kill other people and themselves?
1. You can’t: There’s no practical way anybody can effectively ban such events. How can you ever tell if a guy is on an SS run or just riding along somewhere? It’s not like they run with a flag of a tight, steel, curvy ass on their bikes, they look like every other biker out there.
You could discourage people on social media, write articles denouncing them, or run naked through the streets registering your protest, none of it matters if some dude wants to do it. I may make as much noise as I like about the anal condition of our automotive websites, it doesn’t mean they are going to start doing something about it. Same thing.
2. It’s a freedom of choice: Everybody has their fetish. Some people like gold, some like smelly feet, some like deepthroat blowjobs, some are into 2 girls 1 cup. Everybody has every right to do whatever they feel like doing, as long as it doesn’t fuck with other people’s free will.
In some ways, you can say that Saddlesores are kinda in a grey area.
Ideally speaking, they do infringe on other road user’s rights on the asphalt, but if you think practically, infringing on each other’s rights is kinda like India’s national sport.
A bunch of people speeding along the highway doesn’t really make any difference on our roads, where everybody is always speeding for no particular reason anyway. At least the saddlesore guys get a little certificate to show for their effort!
3. It’s an achievement, no matter how moronic: Like all art forms, there are very few ways you can show your level of expertise on a motorcycle. Some people stunt, others get their knee down, and some people travel great distances. As a natural byproduct of touring, it’s an obvious thought to travel more kilometers per day than you ever have before.
When somebody tells me they have completed the Saddlesore, I do feel a certain level of respect for them. There are a lot of people who love bikes, it’s just that their way of expressing their affection might not always conform to your standards. Even though you got your badge by risking other unconcerned individuals, at the end of the day it’s the badge that counts.
The first thing that you have to understand is that it’s all about opinions. Everything is relative. My opinion is that such events should be banned because they serve no understandable purpose and push people’s expectations to unreasonable levels. A lot of others may feel different, and that’s completely OK. Discussing something isn’t bad, being a buttplug and believing you are the only true voice of God is.