" It's one of the great British cultural weirdnesses that such things exist in the first place. But, if the world can still be split into those with a penchant for a quiff, heavy English iron and leather - and those "
When the Bikers Come to Calne
Once a year a sleepy backwater in South West England gives way to rebellion, throws caution to the wind and embraces an all pervading sense of freedom – welcoming the world of the biker for free and with wide open arms.
A compact version of the epic Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the US; the Calne Bike Meet celebrated its 17th year in 2017; a blend of camaraderie and carnival atmosphere which brings together the biking philosophy – brothers and sisters in arms – showing a whole community the fantastic things shared culture can bring about.
Every manufacturer is represented in one way or another, through the diverse bike culture and sport scene – HOG chapters, Wino’s M/C, BMW Chromeheads, Hells Angel MC Nomads, Speedway machines – through to the more traditional owners clubs with Royal Enfield, BSA, Norton, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, AJS and Matchless to name a few – all with proud owners willing to share a nugget of knowledge or discuss any biking topic under the sun.
With Choppers, Scooters, Trail Bikes, Race Replicas, Trikes and the odd rare breed lining the streets, parks and any other available space in the town – the meet is a vibrant event that people purposely drive down the High Street to experience. You often get a stray Supercar or Convertible, the owners out for a summer drive, taking a diversion to sample the colour and atmosphere or just add to the cheeky revs of the engines. It’s a unique event that has become beloved by everyone.
Music always features heavily at the Bike Meet with Hells Bells – a tribute to AC/DC, Pity the Foo, Josie and the Outlaw and Derailer all adding to the atmosphere. The trade village sells everything from leathers, custom paint jobs, bike jumbles, to organised biking trips of a lifetime and the latest Indian or Triumph model.
The Calne Bike Meet, arranged by volunteers, has a more serious edge and raises money for deserving charities. Julia’s House Children’s Hospice, the Freewheelers Emergency Voluntary Service (better known as the Blood Bikes) and the town’s Youth Trust; being all supported in 2017. Last year the meet raised an outstanding sum of £10,400 for its chosen charities. The event also brings money into the town’s economy, often supporting its small businesses for the rest of the year.
The Sunday morning, after the meet, I have often driven through Calne and the reciprocal nature within motorbike culture shows – you would not even realise that a mass carnival had taken place.
If you love your bikes or just want to sample a unique atmosphere where almost anything goes – the Calne Bike Meet takes place every year – on a Saturday around the end of July.
More information can be found on Twitter @calnebikemeetforum, on Facebook @Calnebikemeet and at www.calnebikemeet.com
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