In 2022, UK rider, YouTuber, and podcast host Bruce Smart—aka Teapot One—set out to do something no one had ever done before. See, the Iron Butt Association UK currently recognises a UK Four Corners Ride. To qualify, you have to hit (in any order) Land’s End, England; St. Davids, Wales; John O’Groats, Scotland; and Lowestoft, England—all in under 36 hours. For the record, that’s about 2,300 miles in total.
Like most challenges, that one was created with combustion-powered bikes in mind. Although Smart knew it wasn’t possible to complete such a ride on any currently available electric bike in that time, he still wanted to see how quickly he could do it. Luckily, he got local dealership English Electric to support him—and they lent him a shiny Energica Eva Ribelle RS to try to accomplish this mad feat.
The goal, modified to be more realistically achievable on an electric bike, was this: Hit all four corners of the UK in four days or less. That’s 96 hours. Throughout Smart’s narration of this journey, even if you’re unfamiliar with him, you find that he’s ridden this route plenty of times on different bikes. On a petrol-powered bike, finishing in under 48 hours isn’t even terribly difficult, he says.
Electric bikes present different kinds of challenges, though—even current ones like a shiny new Energica Eva Ribelle RS. Although they can make use of DC fast chargers, there are a couple of constant themes throughout the journey. Firstly, when you get to a DC fast charger, is it working properly? Secondly, is it available, or is it occupied by another EV when you pull up?
To complete the journey, Smart’s routine basically involved going around 50 to 60 miles in a single stint, keeping the speed down except when passing, and then charging to about 80 percent of a full battery before heading off on the next leg. When he pulled up to recharge, his battery was usually down to about 20 percent of full charge by sticking to this routine. All told, a DC fast charge took about 20 minutes to get to that 80 percent of a full charge from the time that he plugged in.
That left time for a quick nap (or a not-so-quick one, if he really fell asleep hard), a coffee, some food, the toilet, or whatever else he needed while he was charging. To complete the mission, of course, he wasn’t formally stopping anywhere to sleep for the night—it was ride, charge and repeat, as much as possible.
Did he make it? When he set out, neither he, English Electric, Energica, nor anyone else knew if he could do it—but yes, he completed his journey in under four days. All told, fuelling the bike cost less than half what the same journey would have cost on his GS.
However, because he spent more time stopped to charge, he found that he spent probably more than double on coffee and food as he would have spent on the GS. (Obviously, he spent two whole days more on the bike with the electric journey than he would have on the petrol bike, so that makes total sense.)
This is the final video in the mini-series he made about this journey, and you can watch the whole thing on his YouTube channel if you’re interested. Congratulations to Bruce Smart on this achievement!