MORE than 4,000 bikers with motorcycles of all shapes, makes, sizes and colours lined the historic streets of Calne on Saturday (July 30).

They met up for the first time in two years to attend one of the largest free motorcycle events in Europe.

The annual Calne Bike Meet is a free-to-attend event bringing together motorcyclists and the local community.

It started life as Calne Motorcycle Meet and was the brainchild of two local motorcycle enthusiasts and two Rotary Club of Calne members back in the year 2000.

Over the past 22 years, the event has grown dramatically and the Rotary Club of Calne handed it over to a new organising team in 2010.

The Wiltshire town is now taken over for the day by every variation of two-wheeled machinery imaginable.

Calne Bike Meet chair Jennifer Jennings said: “It was definitely one of our busiest ever events; we had to break into our emergency parking zones.”

One onlooker described the scene as “absolute mayhem”, while a local biker said it was one of the “best ever” events.

Robert Menghini, of Lowbourne Classic Vehicles in Melksham, said: “At long last, the Calne Bike Meet has started up again.

“It was awesome. Well done to all the organisers, marshals and staff, as it’s a credit to you all.”

The first bikes began to arrive in Calne at around 8am and gradually the streets were lined as more and more bikers roared into town on their gleaming machines.

They were treated to a full programme of live music from local bands, including the Worried Men, Hells Bells, the Bull Town Boys, Operation 77 and End of the Story.

Bikers were able to browse around 80 trade stalls, including many of the leading motorcycle manufacturers, as well as food stalls and a hog roast.

The event provides a huge boost to the local economy and plenty of venues in and around the town carried on well into the night.

Like many events, the Calne Bike Meet was not held in 2020 or 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but Mrs Jennings said they were pleased the meet had returned this year.

The event raised more than £7,000 for four local charities: the Royal British Legion Calne Branch, Calne Food Bank, the National Association of Bikers with a Disability (NABD) and Bikers Down, a charity supported by Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.