The Men's Lifestyle Destination

The Great Mile And Beyond

The​ ​Great Mile ​is​ ​a​ ​1000​ ​mile,​ ​72-hour​ ​motorcycle​ ​rally,​ ​from​ ​the​ ​northern​ ​tip​ ​of​ ​Scotland​ ​to the​ ​southern​ ​tip​ ​of​ ​Cornwall​ ​for​ ​custom,​ ​classic​ ​and​ ​cafe​ ​racer​ ​motorcycles. We spoke to Mr Ricky​ ​Phoolka about the event and his epic journey across the British Isles​.

November 20, 2019
Photos by Mr Ricky​ ​Phoolka & Words
the great mile classic motorcycle rally motorbike rider scotland photograph
bike team lineup the great mile classic motorcycle rally landrover white in photograph
camping the great mile classic motorcycle rally landrover white close up
the great mile classic motorcycle rally road photograph

Mr Ricky​ ​Phoolka​ ​is​ ​a​ ​Creative​ ​Director​ ​working​ ​in​ ​London,​ ​exploring​ ​what​ ​it​ ​feels​ ​like to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​human​ ​being​ ​in​ ​a​ ​digital​ ​world.​ ​His​ ​multi-media​ ​approach​ ​spans​ ​animation, film,​ ​interactive​ ​media​ ​and​ ​web​ ​to​ ​make​ ​visceral,​ ​colour​ ​driven,​ ​emotive​ ​culture.​ ​He recently​ ​embarked​ ​on​ ​an​ ​adventure​ ​for​ ​‘The​ ​Great​ ​Mile’​ ​Rally,​ ​riding​ ​from Manchester​ ​to​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​Scotland​ ​and​ ​back​ ​down​ ​to​ ​the​ ​southernmost​ ​tip​ ​of England;​ ​Lizard​ ​point​ ​covering​ ​​ ​almost​ ​2600​ ​miles.​ We​ ​were​ ​fortunate​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to interview​ ​him​ ​and​ ​hear​ ​about​ ​his​ ​gutsy​ ​adventure.

How​ ​did​ ​you​ ​find​ ​out​ ​about​ ​the​ ​‘The​ ​Great​ ​Mile’?​ ​And​ ​what​ ​was​ ​it​ ​about?

I​ ​was​ ​planning​ ​a​ ​trip​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Swiss​ ​Alps​ ​when​ ​I​ ​came​ ​across​ ​an​ ​article​ ​about​ ​The​ ​Great Mile.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​time​ ​​anyone​ ​had​ ​ever​ ​organised​ ​such​ ​a​ ​​long​ ​rally,​ ​running through​ ​the​ ​most​ ​beautiful​ ​and​ ​unique​ ​landscapes​ ​in​ ​the​ ​British​ ​Isles.​ ​‘The​ ​Great Mile’​ ​is​ ​a​ ​1000​ ​mile,​ ​72-hour​ ​motorcycle​ ​rally,​ ​from​ ​the​ ​northern​ ​tip​ ​of​ ​Scotland​ ​to the​ ​southern​ ​tip​ ​of​ ​Cornwall​ ​for​ ​custom,​ ​classic​ ​and​ ​cafe​ ​racer​ ​motorcycles.​ ​​ ​​It​ ​was perfect​ ​-​ ​just​ ​what​ ​I​ ​was​ ​looking​ ​for.​ ​​ ​I​ ​was​ ​hooked,​ ​The​ ​Alps​ ​would​ ​have​ ​to​ ​wait​ ​for another​ ​year.

What​ ​inspired​ ​you​ ​to​ ​enter​ ​the​ ​rally?

When​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​motorcycling,​ ​I​ ​know​ ​when​ ​the​ ​urge​ ​is​ ​there​ ​nothing​ ​is​ ​going​ ​to​ ​hold me​ ​back.​ ​My​ ​heart​ ​rules​ ​my​ ​head.​ ​Although​ ​not​ ​always​ ​the​ ​best​ ​approach,​ ​with​ ​many possible​ ​setbacks,​ ​one​ ​thing​ ​is​ ​for​ ​sure;​ ​you​ ​never​ ​have​ ​a​ ​boring​ ​life.

The​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​go​ ​on​ ​an​ ​amazing​ ​adventure,​ ​photograph​ ​the​ ​wonderful​ ​scenery and​ ​meet​ ​and​ ​ride​ ​with​ ​other​ ​passionate​ ​bikers​ ​doesn't​ ​present​ ​itself​ ​every​ ​day.​

No matter​ ​the​ ​bike​ ​-​ ​​ ​classic,​ ​custom​ ​or​ ​cafe​ ​racer​ ​-​ ​everyone​ ​was​ ​there​ ​because​ ​of​ ​a shared​ ​love​ ​for​ ​motorcycles.​ ​​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​part​ ​of​ ​it​ ​and​ ​experience​ ​all​ ​the​ ​British Isles​ ​has​ ​to​ ​offer.

Was​ ​this​ ​your​ ​first​ ​experience?​ ​Have​ ​you​ ​ever​ ​ridden​ ​this​ ​far?

I‘ve​ ​attended​ ​many​ ​competitive​ ​rallies​ ​in​ ​the​ ​past,​ ​but​ ​this​ ​was​ ​an​ ​adventure​ ​of​ ​a different​ ​kind.​ ​​ ​This​ ​to​ ​me​ ​was​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​to​ ​embark​ ​on​ ​an​ ​adventure, experience​ ​the​ ​different​ ​landscapes,​ ​ride​ ​amongst​ ​the​ ​coolest​ ​motorcycles​ ​and,​ ​most importantly,​ ​meet​ ​people​ ​and​ ​have​ ​a​ ​memorable​ ​experience.

I​ ​am​ ​lucky​ ​to​ ​be​ ​surrounded​ ​by​ ​many​ ​amazing​ ​places​ ​to​ ​ride​ ​being​ ​based​ ​in​ ​the​ ​North West.​ ​​ ​The​ ​Lake​ ​District,​ ​Peak​ ​District,​ ​in​ ​and​ ​around​ ​Snowdonia​ ​and​ ​Wales​ ​are​ ​all wonderful​ ​places​ ​to​ ​bike​ ​and​ ​see​ ​the​ ​countries​ ​that​ ​make​ ​up​ ​the​ ​British​ ​Isles. However,​ ​as​ ​they​ ​are​ ​not​ ​long-distance​ ​rides,​ ​this​ ​was​ ​different.​ ​​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​great opportunity​ ​and​ ​challenge​ ​for​ ​me​ ​and​ ​my​ ​bike.

the great mile classic motorcycle view rally road scotland photograph
BMW R NINE T CUSTOM MOTORCYCLE ON THE GREAT MILE RALLY

What​ ​were​ ​your​ ​preparations​ ​for​ ​the​ ​rally?​ ​And​ ​how​ ​long​ ​did​ ​it​ ​take​ ​you?

My​ ​preparations​ ​started​ ​a​ ​month​ ​before​ ​the​ ​rally.​ ​​ ​I​ ​started​ ​looking​ ​at​ ​logistics​ ​and devising​ ​a​ ​schedule ​and​ ​realised​ ​it​ ​was​ ​going​ ​to​ ​take​ ​me​ ​9​ ​days​ ​in​ ​total.​ ​I​ ​booked​ ​my holidays​ ​and​ ​planned​ ​out​ ​the​ ​journey:

Day​ ​1​ ​-​ ​Manchester​ ​to​ ​Glencoe

Day​ ​2​ ​-​ ​Exploring​ ​Glencoe

Day​ ​3​ ​-​ ​Glencoe​ ​to​ ​Inverness

Day​ ​4​ ​-​ ​Glencoe​ ​to​ ​Castle​ ​of​ ​Mey,​ ​the​ ​starting​ ​point​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rally

Day​ ​5​ ​to​ ​Day​ ​8​ ​-​ ​The​ ​Great​ ​Mile​ ​Rally

Day​ ​9​ ​-​ ​The​ ​journey​ ​back​ ​from​ ​Lizard​ ​Point​ ​to​ ​Manchester

All​ ​in​ ​all,​ ​I​ ​would​ ​be​ ​covering​ ​more​ ​than​ ​2,300​ ​miles.​ ​​ ​I​ ​was​ ​seriously​ ​beginning​ ​to have​ ​my​ ​doubts,​ ​nevertheless,​ ​I​ ​stuck​ ​to​ ​my​ ​plan​ ​-​ ​giving​ ​up​ ​was​ ​not​ ​an​ ​option. I​ ​had​ ​four​ ​weekends​ ​to​ ​prepare​ ​so​ ​the​ ​planning​ ​had​ ​to​ ​be​ ​meticulous.​ ​​ ​Each​ ​weekend I​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​one​ ​area​ ​-​ ​riding​ ​gear,​ ​bike​ ​mods,​ ​photography​ ​, and​ ​camping​ ​gear.

I​ ​planned​ ​to​ ​have​ ​two​ ​panniers​ ​on​ ​either​ ​side​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bike​ ​which​ ​would​ ​carry​ ​my camping​ ​gear,​ ​a​ ​duffel​ ​bag​ ​on​ ​top​ ​for​ ​my​ ​kit,​ ​and​ ​a​ ​backpack​ ​for​ ​my​ ​photography gear.​ ​​ ​The​ ​next​ ​big​ ​challenge​ ​was​ ​deciding​ ​how​ ​to​ ​secure​ ​the​ ​luggage​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bike.​ ​​It didn’t​ ​help​ ​that​ ​I​ ​tend​ ​to​ ​over-pack,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​now​ ​carrying​ ​photo​ ​and​ ​computer equipment​ ​too.​ ​​It​ ​took​ ​me​ ​about​ ​two​ ​weeks​ ​to​ ​research​ ​appropriate​ ​pannier​ ​racks and​ ​mounts.​ ​During​ ​the​ ​research,​ ​I​ ​came​ ​across​ ​Rok​ ​straps.​ ​​ ​At​ ​first,​ ​I​ ​wasn’t​ ​sure about​ ​them,​ ​but​ ​they​ ​proved​ ​to​ ​be​ ​very​ ​versatile.​ ​​ ​I​ ​used​ ​them​ ​to​ ​secure​ ​all​ ​my luggage​ ​including​ ​the​ ​panniers​ ​and​ ​my​ ​huge​ ​duffel​ ​bag.

bike view stag the great mile classic motorcycle rally photography
HIGHLANDS SPECTATOR AND MR RICKY PHOOLKA ON THE GREAT MILE MOTORCYCLE RALLY

Did​ ​you​ ​make​ ​any​ ​modifications​ ​to​ ​your​ ​bike?

My​ ​stock​ ​BMW​ ​R​ ​nine​ ​T​ ​would​ ​have​ ​been​ ​eligible,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​personalize​ ​it​ ​with a​ ​few​ ​subtle​ ​mods.​ ​​ ​I​ ​was​ ​keen​ ​on​ ​the​ ​bike​ ​to​ ​have​ ​a​ ​scrambler​ ​look​ ​yet​ ​maintain​ ​its aesthetic.​ ​​ ​I​t​ ​wasn’t​ ​very​ ​complicated​ ​-​ ​I​ ​fitted​ ​new​ ​TKC​ ​80’s​ ​tyres​ ​and​ ​a​ ​new scrambler​ ​seat​ ​which​ ​really​ ​did​ ​change​ ​the​ ​look​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bike.​ ​​ ​New​ ​handlebars,​ ​along with​ ​new​ ​Magnamoto​ ​turn​ ​signals​ ​and​ ​a​ ​few​ ​accessories​ ​from​ ​Rizoma​ ​made​ ​for​ ​some cosmetic​ ​changes.​ ​​ ​One​ ​of​ ​the​ ​things​ ​that​ ​most​ ​concerned​ ​me​ ​was​ ​how​ ​the​ ​bike​ ​was going​ ​to​ ​handle,​ ​especially​ ​after​ ​having​ ​modified​ ​the​ ​handlebar​ ​and​ ​tyres.​ ​Luckily,​ ​I had​ ​a​ ​day​ ​off​ ​over​ ​the​ ​weekend​ ​before​ ​the​ ​rally​ ​to​ ​test​ ​the​ ​bike.​ ​​ ​It​ ​was​ ​perfect.

What​ ​was​ ​the​ ​idea​ ​behind​ ​the​ ​Instagram​ ​videos​ ​and​ ​photos?

It​ ​was​ ​simply​ ​to​ ​share​ ​my​ ​experience​ ​with​ ​my​ ​family.​ ​​ ​Two​ ​days​ ​before​ ​leaving​ ​I decided​ ​I​ ​was​ ​going​ ​to​ ​film​ ​my​ ​journey,​ ​capturing​ ​my​ ​experience​ ​with​ ​photos.

To​ ​begin​ ​with,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​contemplating​ ​creating​ ​cinematic​ ​style​ ​videos.​ ​​ ​However,​ ​I​ ​soon realised​ ​it​ ​was​ ​not​ ​going​ ​to​ ​be​ ​possible​ ​given​ ​the​ ​time​ ​and​ ​the​ ​long​ ​riding​ ​hours.​ ​​ ​To keep​ ​things​ ​simple,​ ​I​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​10-second​ ​video,​ ​starting​ ​with​ ​the​ ​day’s journey,​ ​map​ ​and​ ​clips​ ​from​ ​my​ ​helmet​ ​cam​ ​and​ ​photos.​ ​​ ​It​ ​was​ ​effective​ ​and manageable​ ​given​ ​the​ ​circumstances,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​was​ ​able​ ​to​ ​edit​ ​and​ ​post​ ​the​ ​content every​ ​day.​ ​It​ ​also​ ​helped​ ​me​ ​to​ ​connect​ ​with​ ​fellow​ ​riders​ ​who​ ​were​ ​participating​ ​in the​ ​rally.​ ​​ ​There​ ​was​ ​a​ ​feeling​ ​of​ ​mutual​ ​appreciation​ ​of​ ​bikes​ ​and​ ​the​ ​ride.​ ​​ ​The positivity​ ​from​ ​fellow​ ​bikers​ ​was​ ​empowering​ ​and​ ​motivating,​ ​leaving​ ​me​ ​sure​ ​the decision​ ​to​ ​go​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ride​ ​was​ ​the​ ​right​ ​one.

bike views belstaff green landrover the great mile classic motorcycle rally photography
CLASSIC MOTORCYCLES PREPARING FOR THE NEXT STAGE OF THE GREAT MILE RALLY

Was​ ​it​ ​challenging​ ​to​ ​take​ ​pictures​ ​along​ ​the​ ​way?

It​ ​was​ ​challenging​ ​but​ ​also​ ​a​ ​great​ ​learning​ ​experience.​ ​​ ​When​ ​you​ ​have​ ​been​ ​riding for​ ​hours​ ​you​ ​just​ ​want​ ​to​ ​stop,​ ​have​ ​a​ ​coffee​ ​and​ ​then​ ​get​ ​back​ ​on​ ​the​ ​bike.​ ​​ ​When recording​ ​the​ ​ride​ ​with​ ​photos,​ ​you​ ​have​ ​to​ ​make​ ​selective​ ​choices​ ​about​ ​what​ ​you will​ ​capture.​ ​I​ ​would​ ​stop​ ​at​ ​a​ ​suitable​ ​location,​ ​remove​ ​my​ ​gloves,​ ​backpack​ ​and​ ​take out​ ​the​ ​camera.​ ​​ ​Then​ ​I​ ​would​ ​need​ ​to​ ​check​ ​the​ ​lens,​ ​the​ ​settings,​ ​set-up​ ​the​ ​tripod, shoot,​ ​change​ ​the view​ ​and​ ​shoot​ ​again.

Doing​ ​this​ ​constantly​ ​takes​ ​its​ ​toll.​ Tiredness​ ​and​ ​emotions​ ​can​ ​be​ ​overwhelming, and​ ​accidents​ ​can​ ​happen. One​ ​day​ ​I​ ​was​ ​taking​ ​a​ ​photograph​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bike​ ​in​ ​a​ ​field, and​ ​on​ ​the​ ​next​ ​click,​ ​my​ ​bike​ ​dropped.​ ​​ ​Thankfully​ ​the​ ​field​ ​softened​ ​the​ ​blow!

When​ ​it​ ​rains,​ ​taking​ ​photographs​ ​takes​ ​much​ ​more​ ​time.​ This​ ​can​ ​be​ ​frustrating when​ ​the​ ​only​ ​battery​ ​pack​ ​you​ ​have​ ​is​ ​dead​ ​and​ ​there​ ​is​ ​nowhere​ ​to​ ​charge​ ​it! Editing​ ​and​ ​posting​ ​were​ ​usually​ ​done​ ​at​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​day.​ ​​ ​It​ ​could​ ​take​ ​up​ ​to​ ​three hours​ ​to​ ​go​ ​through​ ​the​ ​footage​ ​and​ ​edit,​ ​which​ ​was​ ​only​ ​possible​ ​if​ ​I​ ​found​ ​a​ ​suitable stop​ ​with​ ​wi-fi. Overall,​ ​I​ ​found​ ​the​ ​experience​ ​challenging​ ​but​ ​immensely​ ​gratifying

Did​ ​you​ ​meet​ ​any​ ​of​ ​the​ ​riders​ ​on​ ​the​ ​way​ ​up​ ​to​ ​Castle​ ​of​ ​Mey?

Most​ ​of​ ​the​ ​riders​ ​were​ ​having​ ​their​ ​bikes​ ​transported​ ​and​ ​flew​ ​directly​ ​to​ ​Inverness, but​ ​I​ ​hoped​ ​I​ ​would​ ​see​ ​or​ ​meet​ ​some​ ​riders.​ ​​ ​I​ ​had​ ​not​ ​come​ ​across​ ​a​ ​bike​ ​heading my​ ​way,​ ​however,​ ​there​ ​were​ ​many​ ​I​ ​nodded​ ​to​ ​riding​ ​in​ ​the​ ​opposite​ ​direction.

On​ ​my​ ​4th​ ​day,​ ​from​ ​Inverness​ ​to​ ​Castle​ ​of​ ​Mey,​ ​I​ ​stopped​ ​at​ ​a​ ​cafe​ ​for​ ​coffee​ ​and breakfast,​ ​and​ ​to​ ​do​ ​my​ ​daily​ ​editing.​ ​​ ​Having​ ​finished,​ ​I​ ​rode​ ​on​ ​for​ ​about​ ​20​ ​miles and​ ​stopped​ ​at​ ​a​ ​red​ ​light,​ ​seeing​ ​two​ ​headlights​ ​flashing​ ​in​ ​my​ ​rear-view​ ​mirror. Hearing​ ​the​ ​blipping​ ​of​ ​throttles,​ ​I​ ​instantly​ ​knew​ ​they​ ​were​ ​heading​ ​for​ ​the​ ​rally.​ ​I felt​ ​a​ ​sense​ ​of​ ​excitement​ ​and​ ​let​ ​them​ ​overtake.​ ​I​ ​had​ ​followed​ ​them​ ​for​ ​30​ ​miles when​ ​it​ ​started​ ​to​ ​rain.​ ​They​ ​pulled​ ​off​ ​to​ ​the​ ​side​ ​of​ ​the​ ​road​ ​to​ ​put​ ​on​ ​their​ ​rain gear,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​passed​ ​them​ ​and​ ​stopped​ ​about​ ​a​ ​mile​ ​ahead​ ​to​ ​wait.​ ​The​ ​bikers​ ​were Johnny​ ​and​ ​his​ ​father,​ ​a​ ​team​ ​also​ ​participating​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Great​ ​Mile.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​pleasure to​ ​meet​ ​them​ ​and​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​their​ ​journey​ ​so​ ​far.​ ​We​ ​had​ ​a​ ​nice​ ​chat​ ​and​ ​rode​ ​up​ ​to Castle​ ​of​ ​Mey​ ​together,​ ​and​ ​were​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​first​ ​people​ ​to​ ​arrive.

bike team the great mile classic motorcycle rally landrover defender white photography
MR RICKY PHOOLKA AND TEAMMATES CAMPING ON THE GREAT MILE RALLY

Tell​ ​us​ ​about​ ​your​ ​team?

Our​ ​team​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​twenty-three​ ​teams​ ​that​ ​entered​ ​the​ ​rally.​ ​There​ ​were​ ​more than​ ​80​ ​riders​ ​who​ ​participated.​ ​We​ ​were​ ​a​ ​team​ ​of​ ​four​ ​riders​ ​who​ ​had​ ​all​ ​signed​ ​up as​ ​‘Lone​ ​Wolves’.​ ​Team​ ​‘Tribeam’​ ​was​ ​formed​ ​and​ ​we​ ​hit​ ​it​ ​off​ ​right​ ​away.​ ​Rob​ ​rode​ ​a ‘95​ ​Triumph​ ​Speed​ ​Triple,​ ​Jason​ ​a​ ​custom​ ​Triumph,​ ​Steve​ ​a​ ​classic​ ​BMW​ ​R80​ ​and​ ​I rode​ ​a​ ​BMW​ ​R​ ​Nine​ ​T.​ ​​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​pleasure​ ​to​ ​have​ ​them​ ​as​ ​my​ ​teammates​ ​and​ ​together we​ ​had​ ​a​ ​truly​ ​memorable​ ​experience.

What​ ​did​ ​the​ ​rally​ ​entail?

Each​ ​day​ ​the​ ​rally​ ​teams​ ​were​ ​​ ​given​ ​3​ ​checkpoints​ ​to​ ​guide​ ​them​ ​through​ ​the country.​ ​​ ​Every​ ​route​ ​was​ ​different.​ ​​ ​Ultimately​ ​the​ ​rally​ ​timing​ ​and​ ​the​ ​course​ ​the riders​ ​took​ ​were​ ​up​ ​to​ ​each​ ​individual​ ​team.​ ​​ ​​The​ ​clock​ ​started​ ​when​ ​all​ ​riders​ ​had crossed​ ​the​ ​starting​ ​line,​ ​and​ ​stopped​ ​once​ ​the​ ​entire​ ​team​ ​had​ ​reached​ ​each checkpoint.​ ​​At​ ​each​ ​checkpoint,​ ​the​ ​times​ ​were​ ​logged​ ​and​ ​compared​ ​against​ ​the average​ ​speed​ ​of​ ​the​ ​day’s​ ​course.

At​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​each​ ​day​ ​and​ ​at​ ​the​ ​​ ​final​ ​checkpoint,​ ​the​ ​riders​ ​gathered​ ​at​ ​the​ ​rally camp.​ ​​ ​We​ ​relaxed,​ ​drank​ ​cold​ ​beer,​ ​ate​ ​and​ ​talked​ ​motorcycles.​ ​​ ​Dinner​ ​was​ ​served under​ ​canvas,​ ​which​ ​gave​ ​the​ ​riders​ ​all​ ​evening​ ​to​ ​socialise,​ ​review​ ​the​ ​day’s​ ​rally​ ​and plan​ ​the​ ​next​ ​day’s​ ​route.

The​ ​rally​ ​was​ ​not​ ​about​ ​competing,​ ​it​ ​was​ ​purely​ ​focused​ ​on​ ​completing​ ​the​ ​course and​ ​enjoying​ ​the​ ​ride.

The Great MiIe and Beyond bike lineup four classic motorcycles
​BMW​ ​R​ ​NINE​ ​T SCRAMBLER, CLASSIC BMW R80, CUSTOM TRIUMPH AND A ‘95​ TRIUMPH SPEED TRIPLE MOTORCYCLE AT THE RALLY

The​ ​rally​ ​started​ ​from​ ​Castle​ ​of​ ​Mey​ ​and​ ​was​ ​made​ ​up​ ​of:

Rally​ ​Day​ ​1​ ​(Thursday)​ ​-​ ​Highlands/Scotland Rally​ ​

Day​ ​2​ ​(Friday)​ ​-​ ​Scotland/England Rally​ ​

Day​ ​3​ ​(Saturday)​ ​-​ ​​ ​Wales Rally​ ​Day​ ​

4​ ​(Sunday)​ ​-​ ​​ ​Devon/Cornwall,​ ​ending​ ​at​ ​Lizard​ ​Point.

The​ ​average​ ​daily​ ​route​ ​covered​ ​was​ ​between​ ​300​ ​and​ ​350​ ​miles,​ ​more​ ​than​ ​6​ ​hours of​ ​riding​ ​a​ ​day.​

bike views green landrover the great mile classic motorcycle rally photography
ANOTHER STAGE ON MALLE'S THE GREAT MILE MOTORCYCLE RALLY OF GREAT BRITAIN

Having​ ​ridden​ ​from​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​Scotland​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bottom​ ​of​ ​England,​ ​what were​ ​the​ ​stand-out​ ​routes​ ​and​ ​places?

Day​ ​1:​ ​

Tongue​ ​Bridge​ ​to​ ​Ullapool​ ​-​ ​The​ ​A83​ ​was​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​best​ ​rides​ ​due​ ​to​ ​truly spectacular​ ​scenery​ ​and​ ​wonderful​ ​empty​ ​roads.​ ​​ ​It​ ​loops​ ​around​ ​the​ ​top​ ​of​ ​Scotland where​ ​people​ ​are​ ​heavily​ ​outnumbered​ ​by​ ​sheep!

the great mile classic motorcycle rally Tongue Bridge​ Ullapoo A83 scotland photography
TOP OF SCOTLAND ON THE GREAT MILLE MOTORCYCLE RALLY

Day​ ​2:​

Glencoe​ ​to​ ​Bridge​ ​of​ ​Orchy​ ​-​ ​The​ ​A82​ ​made​ ​me​ ​forget​ ​I​ ​was​ ​on​ ​a​ ​journey,​ ​as​ ​I was​ ​completely​ ​in​ ​awe​ ​of​ ​the​ ​dramatic​ ​landscape.

the great mile classic motorcycle rally Glencoe A82 scotland deer
SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS ON THE GREAT MILLE MOTORCYCLE RALLY

Day​ ​3:​ ​

Ruthin​ ​to​ ​Machynlleth​ ​-​ ​The​ ​A5​ ​-A470.​ ​​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​think​ ​I’ve​ ​ever​ ​seen​ ​so​ ​many motorbikes​ ​en route,​ ​a​ ​Mecca​ ​of​ ​motorcycles.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​very​ ​scenic​ ​ride,​ ​which​ ​made the​ ​journey​ ​just​ ​as​ ​much​ ​fun​ ​as​ ​when​ ​I​ ​first​ ​arrived​ ​at​ ​the​ ​rally.​ ​There​ ​was​ ​a selection​ ​of​ ​mountain​ ​twisties,​ ​with​ ​stunning​ ​scenery​ ​around​ ​every​ ​bend​ ​and​ ​over every​ ​crest.

the great mile classic motorcycle rally ​​Ruthin ​Machynlleth​ A5​ A470 road and pub
INTO WALES ON THE GREAT MILLE MOTORCYCLE RALLY

Day​ ​4:​ ​

Dunster​ ​Castle​ ​to​ ​Princetown:​ ​​ ​Riding​ ​through​ ​the​ ​beautiful​ ​and​ ​rugged​ ​wilds of​ ​Dartmoor,​ ​the​ ​visibility​ ​got​ ​very​ ​poor​ ​we​ ​were​ ​surrounded​ ​by​ ​mist.​ ​At​ ​some​ ​turns, I​ ​could​ ​barely​ ​see​ ​beyond​ ​10​ ​feet.​ ​There​ ​was​ ​something​ ​very​ ​dark​ ​and​ ​mysterious about​ ​this​ ​place,​ ​making​ ​it​ ​an​ ​unforgettable​ ​ride.

road the great mile classic motorcycle rally Dunster ​Castle Princetown Dartmoor photography
DARTMOOR ON THE GREAT MILLE MOTORCYCLE RALLY

What​ ​was​ ​the​ ​most​ ​exciting​ ​moment​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rally?

There​ ​were​ ​so​ ​many​ ​thrilling​ ​moments,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​one​ ​that​ ​stands​ ​out​ ​for​ ​me​ ​was​ ​on Rally​ ​Day​ ​2,​ ​just​ ​after​ ​starting.​ ​​ ​We​ ​had​ ​finished​ ​fuelling​ ​up​ ​and​ ​were​ ​making​ ​our way​ ​through​ ​the​ ​Glencoe​ ​Valley.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​riding​ ​at​ ​the​ ​back​ ​of​ ​the​ ​pack​ ​enjoying​ ​the​ ​ride and​ ​spectacular​ ​morning​ ​landscape.​ ​I​ ​could​ ​see​ ​silhouettes​ ​of​ ​the​ ​other​ ​teams​ ​ahead in​ ​the​ ​distance.​ ​Rob​ ​was​ ​riding​ ​in​ ​front​ ​of​ ​our​ ​pack​ ​and​ ​overtook​ ​another​ ​team.​ ​​ ​I​ ​am not​ ​sure​ ​they​ ​took​ ​kindly​ ​to​ ​this,​ ​as​ ​they​ ​began​ ​to​ ​pick​ ​up​ ​speed​ ​and​ ​almost​ ​raced him.​ ​Jason​ ​and​ ​Steve​ ​were​ ​slowly​ ​making​ ​their​ ​way​ ​past​ ​the​ ​team​ ​in​ ​front.​ ​The​ ​pace of​ ​the​ ​bikes​ ​ahead​ ​had​ ​also​ ​increased.​ ​​ ​I​ ​remained​ ​at​ ​the​ ​back,​ ​hesitating​ ​to​ ​overtake in​ ​case​ ​I​ ​upset​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the​ ​other​ ​riders.

Just​ ​then,​ ​my​ ​teammates​ ​caught​ ​up​ ​to​ ​another​ ​team​ ​ahead.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​stuck​ ​behind​ ​eight bikes​ ​and​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​decision​ ​-​ ​​ ​overtake​ ​and​ ​catch​ ​up​ ​with​ ​my​ ​teammates,​ ​or ride​ ​behind​ ​the​ ​others​ ​and​ ​hope​ ​to​ ​catch​ ​up​ ​with​ ​my​ ​team​ ​at​ ​the​ ​next​ ​checkpoint?​ ​​ ​I decided​ ​to​ ​overtake​ ​the​ ​first​ ​bike​ ​then​ ​overtook​ ​another​ ​and​ ​another.​ ​​ ​I​ ​was​ ​soon beginning​ ​to​ ​catch​ ​up​ ​with​ ​my​ ​team,​ ​although​ ​they​ ​were​ ​still​ ​a​ ​fair​ ​distance​ ​away. Adrenaline​ ​was​ ​starting​ ​to​ ​kick​ ​in,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​was​ ​totally​ ​at​ ​one​ ​with​ ​the​ ​bike.​ ​Finally,​ ​after overtaking​ ​many​ ​bikes,​ ​I​ ​was​ ​behind​ ​Steve.​ ​​ ​I​ ​didn’t​ ​want​ ​to​ ​stop​ ​there,​ ​so​ ​pushed​ ​on ahead​ ​until​ ​it​ ​was​ ​only​ ​me​ ​and​ ​the​ ​empty​ ​road​ ​ahead.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​so​ ​lost​ ​in​ ​the​ ​ride​ ​that​ ​I only​ ​remembered​ ​my​ ​teammates​ ​when​ ​I​ ​was​ ​stopped​ ​at​ ​the​ ​checkpoint.

When​ ​the​ ​ride​ ​is​ ​going​ ​well​ ​it​ ​flows​ ​like​ ​a​ ​dance.​ ​I​ ​almost​ ​had​ ​goosebumps​ ​on​ ​that ride...​ ​in​ ​the​ ​same​ ​way​ ​as​ ​listening​ ​to​ ​Hans​ ​Zimmer’s​ ​epic​ ​soundtracks.

What​ ​an​ ​epic​ ​ride!

Was​ ​it​ ​everything​ ​you​ ​had​ ​hoped​ ​for?

Everything​ ​and​ ​more.​ ​​ ​It​ ​was​ ​an​ ​amazing​ ​experience​ ​where​ ​I​ ​learned​ ​about perseverance,​ ​had​ ​adventures​ ​and​ ​made​ ​friendships.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​truly​ ​unforgettable,​ ​I​ ​met some​ ​amazing​ ​people​ ​who​ ​were​ ​all​ ​part​ ​of​ ​my​ ​journey.​ ​It​ ​gave​ ​me​ ​the​ ​inspiration​ ​to keep​ ​challenging​ ​myself​ ​and​ ​I​ ​hope​ ​to​ ​embark​ ​on​ ​another​ ​adventure​ ​soon.

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THE GREAT MILE FIELD KIT

You can follow Ricky’s adventures on Instagram here.

Mr Ricky​ ​Phoolka​ ​is​ ​a​ London based ​Creative​ ​Director, who’s work spans​ ​animation, film and ​ ​interactive​ ​media​. He the loves the open road and has a soft spot for Hans​ ​Zimmer​ ​​soundtracks.

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