The ‘Big Daddy‘ of Bike Nights
After 20 years of burning rubber and shining chrome, Barton’s annual Bike Night has become as much a part of the fabric that makes up Barton-upon-Humber as the town’s roads or houses. A gold star day in the diaries of bikers around Lincolnshire and beyond, the night draws more than 15,000 people to town from as far away as Holland and Cornwall to enjoy all things two wheeled.
In anticipation of this year’s Bike Night on Saturday, July 8, we talked to organiser, Barrie Newton about the history, the memories, and the excitement behind the event. He didn’t mince his words.
“It’s the big one,” he told me. “The others are all great and I go to many of them, but it’s the big daddy of them all. It’s the biggest public show of bikes in the area and a meeting of bikers and like-minded people and a really big family friendly night. It’s exceptional that the town accommodates Bike Night. No other town can accommodate Bike Night how Barton can. It’s a right proper community event.”
Everyone associated with Bike Night is delighted with its positive community status. Barrie is no exception, as he explained to me; “On the night, the town’s buzzing and it’s a very safe environment. We’re very proud of that. From old age pensioners to little two and three-year-old kiddies, there’s something for everyone.
“We’re very happy that there’s a lot of people get the benefit from it. The school and church (St Augustine Webster) do parking, the churches do helmet storage and jacket storage and do tea and coffees. The charity shops do wonderful as well. They get all of the biking stuff they’ve collected up over the year and they sell it off on Bike Night and they have a right good evening.”
The Wilderspin National School Museum on Queen Street will also be running a helmet store from the Joseph Wright Hall, next door to the School Museum
Bike Night has been about the bikers working with the local Barton community from the start.
Barrie told me: “Initially, before 1997, there wasn’t much going on in the town. Brigg was running a successful bike night, so a friend of mine called Malcolm Bennett rang the lads who were running that event and he got the information to start Barton Bike Night … it was really to get the town noticed, get the town on the map and get some revenue and visitors in to the town. And initially, we had 2000 bikes come to the first night, and it’s just gone from strength to strength to become a real popular night on the bikers’ calendar.”
As Barrie has been there right from the beginning, I asked him what some of his fondest memories of Bike Night were; ““What I like to see is smiling faces, happy kids and elderly people. There’s a club in Winterton, The Jubilee Club, and for the pensioners there it’s the main outing of the year for them, and some are disabled and they all come over and have a pint and have a right good evening of it. It’s that sort of thing that keeps me doing it.”
Of course, in this history blog we couldn’t forget the two-wheeled, chrome clad time machines that are the classic bikes on show down Queen Street.
Barrie explained how amazingly popular they are: “We’ve got people restoring classic bikes just to show on Bike Night. It’s happened many-a-year. And It’s real popular with all ages. It never ceases to amaze me how popular classic stuff is. So that’s great, it’s a good crowd puller, and a great bunch of people as well. A lot of old people, they all meet up and have a good chin-wag as well.”
Barton’s 21st Bike Night looks set to keep up these great traditions, with a few thrills thrown in for good measure, so be there on Saturday to avoid missing out. The free event starts at 4pm and is scheduled to end at 9pm.