The Malle Mile - For the Ride
The Malle Mile is a 'gentlemanly' race for men and women who share the ideology of Malle London, the creator of superior British bags and accessories. If it is all sounding a bit pseud/ hipster - well it is, but that shouldn't really put you off.
Set in the grounds of Kefington Hall, an 18th Century manor house near Orpington, the Mile is actually an 1/8 mile sprint down some of the grass fields of the house. Classic (pre 79) then Custom bikes race in pairs at the drop of an enormous flag, wielded by energetic girls who jump in the air with gusto, adding more theatre to the event. The real theatre is the bikes, watching old and custom bikes get truly thrashed as they bounce along the grass is quite a sight. It is great to see some of the bikes being used in earnest, though I did wince as an old Vincent was pushed away disconsolately.
In its second year, the day now has a hill climb, in the morning, which if anything is an even better spectacle. Again, the bikes set off in twos and head up a slalom course to the top of the hill. A mixture of skill, luck and bravado is required and it isn't always clear who will be the winner. Entries for the event are fully booked a good few weeks before the day, but it is worth getting in early as this has to be where the greatest fun is - taking part.
The party rolls on into the early hours, with camping available or glamping in a yurt style tent if you prefer, allowing you to have some drinks and share your racing stories with the other riders. And I do think this is an event for the riders - or possibly a place to hang out with a big group of friends. As a plain spectator, to be honest there wasn't really enough to keep you entertained between the two races and the food/ beverage offering was pretty poor. The overall organisation is lackadaisical at best and that that there is is aimed at the racing. The laid back nature though is part of the vibe. A little bit more thought into the peripherals and this could be a really great event - for both riders and spectators.