First National gay biker rally a success for Hastings

David Muirhead and Mark Whitford from Canterbury at the rally. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography
David Muirhead and Mark Whitford from Canterbury at the rally. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography
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HUNDREDS of bikers from across the UK and beyond flocked to Hastings at the weekend for the UK’s first national gay and lesbian biker rally.

The event took place on Saturday, September 17, at Azur, Marina Pavilion, on St Leonards seafront, and despite wet weather was pronounced a success by organisers Julian Langham, a London-based film maker, and Howard Martin, chief executive of Bike1066.

Julie from Bath, Pat from Bristol and Floss from Brighton. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography

Julie from Bath, Pat from Bristol and Floss from Brighton. Picture by Tony Coombes Photography

Bikers, both men and women, gathered to meet friends, old and new, with a backdrop of barbecue, live music, and comedy, along with the opportunity to test drive new motorcycles.

Mr Martin said: “It was absolutely amazing considering the inclement weather. Everybody was very happy with the turn-out.

“It was quite an important event for Hastings to show that events in the town can attract diverse, high quality guests.”

He added that one biker had come up to him during the day and said: “Today is the day that gay biking came out of the closet. Thank you very much.”

Visitors numbering 320 came from as far as Perpignan, in the south of France, and Manchester, in the UK.

Mr Langham said: “It was a really fun day, with a really nice vibe. People caught up with old friends, and made new ones.

“We have had so many lovely comments. A lot of people had never been to Hastings before.”

The event received support from the motorcycle industry, local businesses, and Hastings Borough Council.

Julia Parsons, from the Hastings and Rother Rainbow Alliance, said: “We’re especially pleased that they have chosen to come to Hastings as we feel it recognises the tremendous strides Hastings has made in becoming more accepting of diversity over recent years.”

Mr Martin added: “We are looking forward to coming back next year and hopefully making it a two-day event.”