Racking up the miles: How #ride5000miles is helping generations join the two-wheeled fun and games

Mark and Lisa Smith ready for a ride
Mark and Lisa Smith ready for a ride
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It could be said that riding a motorcycle is something of a selfish hobby. Just you, your bike and the road in front of you; there are no phones, no interruptions and often no real destination in mind - just a brief escape from the stresses and strains of modern existence. 

Motorcycling needn’t be like this and for many members of #ride5000miles, biking is an activity that’s far better shared together.

"It doesn’t matter what sort of week I’ve had; you get on that bike and it makes you smile," Honda NC750-riding, Michele Busby, 43, said. "My husband tends to work on Saturdays, so Sunday is our riding day."

Michele Busby grabs a selfie with the family

Alongside husband Steven, 53, and son Ryan, 12, as pillion, Michele also gets out with Mum, Pauline Drew, Dad, Stephen Drew, and Uncle, Greg Towler. The trio will be riding to Assen for the BSB races, in Holland, in September with Stephen and Greg, alongside more cousins, who are riding up from Cornwall.

"It’s the freedom of being out on it," she added. "We’ve all got intercoms and we all talk. We get back from a ride and we’ll all be sharing stories with each other from what we’ve seen."

Another rider racking up the mileage with family is 46-year-old Yamaha R6 pilot, Lisa Smith, who spends her free time exploring Lincolnshire with boyfriend Mark Smith, 51, daughter Tasha, 23, and Mark’s bother, Paul, 46.

Lisa Smith with her daughters at Ancaster bike night

"I wish I’d taken up bikes years ago," Lisa told MCN. "Some friends of ours have actually said they are jealous, because this is something Mark and I do together.

"We don’t have intercoms though, so we don’t speak to each other and it’s actually a nice bit of peace and quiet!" She joked.

Lisa’s comments were echoed by Mark, who said: "I work long hours and some nights I don’t get to see Lisa. So, getting out in the bikes is our way of spending time together.

"We normally just ride our own ride. If we've got Tasha with us, we all hang up for her. Sometimes, we'll shoot off and whip round the bends, but we'll always wait for her."

Turning 24 this year, Tasha aims to do her full test, graduating from her Yamaha YZF-R125, to her very-own R6. What’s more, Lisa’s other daughter, Georgia, 21, also plans to get back on a bike soon, having taken a step back after giving birth.

"She’s missing it like mad every day," Lisa continued. "We’ve bought a pitbike for the granddaughter already, but she’s only 17-months-old!"

Away from parents and children riding together, freelance theatre lighting designer, Jack Wills, 22, from St Albans, plans to ride his ’19-plate Triumph Street Twin with his granddad, John Seymour, who pilots a 1927 AJS 'Big Port' amongst others.

Jack Wills with his Triumph Street Twin

The pair have previously ridden and visited classic motorcycling events together, with granddad John also helping Jack with basic maintenance. Jack explains.

"Anytime I have a mechanical trouble, I get to use his workshop. He helps me clean up chains and things and we do basic maintenance together.

"It was him that got me into bikes. Every time we over, there would always be some motorbike that he was tinkering with," he added.

Jack Wills with granddad John Seymour and his AJS

As well as inspiring Jack to take up two wheels, John also helped him to purchase his first bike, with the duo setting out to bag a 125, after continual let downs by public transport. John has continued to influence Jack’s bike buying ever since.

"I bought my Triumph because he had a 1973 Bonneville, which I liked," Jack continued. "I’m not into sportsbikes and I liked the retro styling and I thought I’d get a Triumph like he did. I didn’t tell him I was going to buy it - I just turned up on his drive!"

Elsewhere, 59-year-old Helen Cullen, from Huddersfield has been riding for around 40 years, starting as a learner in 1979 and continuing to pile on the miles today.

Alongside solo jaunts, she regularly rides with her brother, Simon Morelli and his wife Isobel as pillion. They are also joined by Helen’s Honda Fireblade-riding nephew, Joe Morelli and step-brother, Andrew Morelli.

Helen Cullen has been riding with her family for years

"It’s good fun and they are great fun to ride with," Helen told MCN. "They are inspiring and I always come back laughing. It’s the rapport I’ve got with my family – they’ve all got a wicked sense of humour.

"It’s also the thrill of riding, really. You put your leg over your bike and you get out and it’s just fun – there’s no other way of describing it. It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach and it just grabs you."

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Dan Sutherland

By Dan Sutherland

Senior Writer (motorcycling), sportsbike nut, currently riding a FireBlade