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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, 2017
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​ ​come​ ​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

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

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

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​ ​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​ ​was​ ​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

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​ ​was​ ​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​ ​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

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

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

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

Day​ ​3:​ ​

Ruthin​ ​to​ ​Machynlleth​ ​-​ ​The​ ​A5​ ​-A470.​ ​​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​think​ ​I’ve​ ​ever​ ​seen​ ​so​ ​many motorbikes​ ​enroute,​ ​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​ ​were​ ​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

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

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

There​ ​were​ ​so​ ​many​ ​thrilling​ ​moments,​ ​but​ ​the​ ​one​ ​that​ ​stands​ ​out​ ​for​ ​me​ ​was​ ​o​n 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​ ​team​ ​mates,​ ​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​ ​team​ ​mates​ ​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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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.

  • Pooja S.

    Fantastic Article, Very informative & well put together love the pictures gives a great insight to the rally & the preparation behind it…

  • Salmanfan

    awesome article …awesome pics!

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