Meet of the week

Where beau­ti­ful old bikes mass around beau­ti­ful old trains

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Char­lie Lester

Bold car­riages dom­i­nate the sky­line, re­splen­dent in crim­son, green and gold. Ex­quis­ite clas­sic en­gines pa­rade up and down trail­ing smoke against the cloud­less sky. And hun­dreds of mo­tor­bikes of stag­ger­ing va­ri­ety pour in to line up along the old tracks.

Less fa­mous than the likes of Squires or the Ace Café, Whitwell and Reep­ham Rail­way is a on­ce­func­tion­ing sta­tion that fell into dis­use and dis­re­pair. It’s cur­rently owned and run by Mike Urry and his fam­ily, non-bik­ers who have been striv­ing since 2007 to re­turn the derelict site to its for­mer glory. Af­ter an irate land­lady ter­mi­nated a for­mer bike night nearby, rid­ers found a new home at the sta­tion in 2011.

Fri­day Night Bikes is run by lo­cal rid­ers, and while they raise money for char­i­ties such as Blood Run­ners and the Air Am­bu­lance, the money spent by us at­ten­dees con­trib­utes to the on­go­ing restora­tion. It’s a su­perb ex­am­ple of a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship; the lo­cal or­gan­is­ers reg­u­lat­ing noise and be­hav­iour in their meet’s beau- ti­ful home, the Ur­rys wel­com­ing and grate­ful as the money that’s spent in the sta­tion is spent on the sta­tion, restor­ing trains and pro­vid­ing new fa­cil­i­ties that in turn bol­ster the bike night.

Laugh­ing groups of sports­bike girls and guys in their twen­ties scoff spectacular slabs of home­made cake on the plat­form, while mem­bers of the Honda C90 Club sam­ple the well-kept real ales. Pretty Pol­ish pil­lions pose with pinot and gos­sip with griz­zled men on gleam­ing Moto Guzzis. The va­ri­ety is in­cred­i­ble, with many reg­u­lars keen to dis­play their nu­mer­ous bikes against the stun­ning back­ground.

This is a truly won­der­ful meet. It’s not just the sta­tion’s mas­sive pop­u­lar­ity, or the sheer range of ma­chin­ery to con­tent any en­thu­si­ast’s heart – the back­drop of the rail­way is worth the trip alone, but the knowl­edge that I’m also con­tribut­ing to a beau­ti­ful and very wor­thy project makes me even prouder to be a biker.

You’d be bark­ing not to love this meet

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