Prior to 1993, the Iron Butt Association did not certify 1000-in-1 rides. To that point we referred riders to other organizations. Unfortunately, that occasionally turned out to be a mistake. In some cases, organizations that claimed to have rides didn’t, while others took riders' money and never delivered promised awards.
Although it was never the Iron Butt Association’s intention to certify 1000-in-1 rides, the number of letters we received asking to do so had become staggering. With some serious pushing from our members, we agreed to certify a variety of long distance rides. At that same time, the IBA had been working closely with Les Martin at the California Motorcycle Touring Association (CMTA) for ride certifications taking place in California, Nevada and Oregon. As it turns out our decision to gear up for ride certifications came about the same time Les Martin had announced he was retiring (1993). With Les moving on to a (hopefully!) more relaxed lifestyle, we were sad to see the rich history of the SaddleSore and Bun Burner rides he had been working so hard on for so many years to be lost. It only took a few minutes of discussion with Les about our plans before he decided to donate both the SaddleSore and Bun Burner names to the Iron Butt Association. During the CMTA days, the SaddleSore was 1,000 miles in 24 hours certification and the Bun Burner was 1,500 miles in 36 hours. The IBA renamed the rides slightly, the SaddleSore became the SaddleSore 1000 (1,000 miles in less than 24 hours) and the Bun Burner became the Bun Burner 1500 (1,500 miles in less than 36 hours). At the same time, we created the Bun Burner GOLD (1,500 miles in less than 24 hours) as so many riders had “unofficially” been documented since the early 1980s.
We hope that we can continue the quality and tradition of the ride to which Les Martin devoted so many years of his life.
The SaddleSore 1000 Guidelines for Certification
Riders that successfully have a SaddleSore or Bun Burner ride certified receive a certificate, an Iron Butt Association pin and a plastic license plate back with our logo “Iron Butt Association - World’s Toughest Riders.”
Every time I read these guidelines, they seem overly complex. However, they were developed by one of our members involved in record keeping for various sporting events. There is no doubt that the documentation requirements for these certification are tough, but when you hang your certificate on the wall, you can rest easy knowing that we just don’t hand these out to anyone. When the ride is over, you have survived not only a very tough ride, but you’ll have the documentation to back up your claims. How many riders can say that?
When you read the following guidelines, keep in mind that our goal is to see a well documented ride. If you cannot follow the guidelines exactly, feel free to drop us a line with a proposal. We will be happy to review your plans and possibly accept changes to this format.
Michael Kneebone President Iron Butt Association
IMPORTANT NOTE: The guidelines for a Bun Burner GOLD (1,500 miles in less than 24 hours) and Bun Burner Silver (1,500 miles in less than 30 hours) are located at: Bun Burner GOLD Guidelines.
Following are the guidelines for earning an Iron Butt Association Pin and License Plate Back and a Certificate of Completion for a 1,000 mile (or more) ride in less than 24 hours (SaddleSore 1000) or 1,500 miles in less than 36 hours (Bun Burner 1500). It is possible to complete both the SaddleSore 1000 and Bun Burner 1500 on the same ride. For example, in the first 24 hours you ride 1,000 miles and then continue on the second day and ride another 500 miles or more.
You may also complete the ride two-up (with one person doing the piloting, the other being a passenger the entire distance - you may not share piloting duties!). In these cases, the Iron Butt Association issues one certificate, with both rider and passenger on it, but we provide two copies of it; one for the rider and one for the passenger. There is NO additional charge for a passenger, however, if they would like a pin or plate frame, you will need to add that in on the fee schedule page.
There are five steps to earning a SaddleSore or Bun Burner 1500 certification; 1. Choose a safe route, 2. get a start witness, 3. collect and track receipts, 4. get an end witness and 5. copy and submit your documentation. Since safety is our primary concern, no pre-registration of your ride is needed. Our goal is to give you added flexibility to decide on any given day whether the combination of weather, your motorcycle and most importantly, your attitude, is ready for a big ride.
STEP ONE, Choose a SAFE route
Your ride needs to be completely documented (steps outlined below) and cover a minimum distance of 1,000 miles in less than 24 hours (SaddleSore 1000), or 1,500 miles in less than 36 hours (Bun Burner). In order to keep these rides from becoming races, mileages in excess of 1,800 miles in less than 24 hours will not be published.
Please keep in mind, 24 hours is wall clock time, not riding time. So if you start your ride at 5:00 pm on June 1st, you must finish it before 5 pm on June 2nd.
The SaddleSore and Bun Burner do NOT require you to speed. The majority of riders will cover their 1,000 miles in about 18 to 20 hours (including all stops). For every hour you are on a major highway riding, you put approximately 20 minutes of “off” time in your time bank that can be used for resting. Use that time wisely as it does not come off the 24 hour clock!
Although this is not much of an issue in the USA and Canada, please note: We do not certify rides where the maximum speed limit is too low to support the average speed necessary to complete the ride within the time limit.
A safe ride should be your primary goal. If this is your first attempt at a 1,000 mile day, we highly recommend that you study the Iron Butt Association’s 25 long distance riding tips located at: 25 Tips. Additionally, U.S. riders will find that the Interstate Highway system offers the safest and quickest way to cover the miles. With efficient time management, many riders leave early in the morning and are home in time for a late dinner. Other riders will split the SaddleSore and Bun Burner rides in two parts, riding through the day and stopping for a motel room and continuing the ride after a long rest stop (obviously, with 36 hours available, the Bun Burner offers a little more motel time).
IMPORTANT NOTE: Unless your speedometer has been calibrated, do NOT depend on your own odometer readings for official mileage! Most Japanese motorcycles register at least four percent more miles than actually traveled. Over the course of a 24 hour period, this error can be quite severe - as much as 40 miles. IN ALL CASES, mileage will be verified with either Microsoft Streets and Trips, Google Maps, or in some cases, paper maps or other sources as required.
We recommend you put your route in to Google Maps, it works in most parts of the world and allows you to easily change your route by dragging it on alternate roads. Additionally, it allows you to save your route and send it to us (Click the Menu icon ≡ (upper left corner); Click the Chain Link icon “Share or embed map”; Check the box “Short URL”; copy the resulting link & paste it where desired.)
From a documentation standpoint, the best route is one where you take a straight line ride from point to point (for example, start in Chicago, Illinois and finish in Denver, Colorado). However, we realize that many riders cannot afford to devote this kind of time to their ride. With that in mind, you may choose any route you wish using the following guidelines:
If you choose a circular route, you will need to obtain a dated receipt at each “corner” to show that you did not take a short-cut. For example, if you choose to ride the circular route of Chicago, Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri to Kansas City, Kansas to Des Moines, Iowa and back to Chicago, we would expect to receive receipts from each of those cities (in addition to the guidelines that follow).
If you choose a route where you ride 500 miles and then turn around and come back, you must get a dated receipt at the turn around point. For example, if you were to start in Denver, Colorado and ride to Omaha, Nebraska and back to Denver, we would expect a detailed receipt from Omaha (in addition to the guidelines that follow).
We strongly discourage, and in some cases may reject, routes that are repetitive in nature. For example, we would not accept a claim that you rode five round-trips between Daytona Beach, Florida and Jacksonville, a distance of only 95 miles…
No preregistration is needed for the SaddleSore or Bun Burner rides. We feel this removes the pressure to complete the ride should you become tired or otherwise feel unsafe. While group SaddleSore rides bring with them the safety of group travel, they can also increase your risk by encouraging you to press on when you might otherwise stop. Group rides can also encourage aggressive riding. Be sure riding styles of others in your group match your style. When planning a ride, keep in mind that group rides are only as fast as the slowest person in the group. This can extend your riding day many hours pushing you toward fatigue.
Motorcycling comes with risk and riding a 1,000 miles or more increases your risk substantially. It is imperative you understand the risk you are taking and minimize the possibility of an accident by practicing safe motorcycle habits. No one, not even the most experienced long distance rider, can safely fight off fatigue. If you are tired, the only option is to stop and rest. Ignoring the symptoms of fatigue can be fatal. The SaddleSore and Bun Burner rides enjoy a fantastic safety record but to continue this record requires you to do your part. If you are tired, having a bad day, or facing other hurdles that are impacting your riding skills, please stop and rest so that you may enjoy motorcycling another day!
Please remember that the Iron Butt Association is dedicated to the sport of safe, long-distance motorcycle riding. It does not condone nor will it tolerate unsafe activities such as excessive speed (in many states, riding more than 20 miles per hour above the speed limit will also get you charged with reckless driving. Reckless driving is a serious charge in any jurisdiction. In many cases your motorcycle can be impounded and you will be required to return to court for a personal appearance at a hearing, irrespective of the distance you have to travel to appear or the hardship that it might entail. Few experiences in motorcycling are more memorable than an appearance in traffic court, particularly if your license hangs on the outcome), reckless motorcycle operation, riding while fatigued or otherwise impaired, the use of stimulants to maintain alertness, or any other activity that results in riders exceeding their personal limits. Any rider found to have engaged in these or other unsafe activities, as determined in the sole discretion of the IBA, will have the certification application refused. If the certification is already issued and we find out about these infractions after the fact, the certification will be revoked (if you read Motorcyclist Magazine, you may have seen them burning an IBA certification when we revoked the certification of a noted staffer’s ride). For these purposes, the IBA will consider as an admission of violating this policy any public statements made by the participant that describe participation in unsafe activities during a ride subject to certification.