BMAD Bike Festival, Paignton. 2015
Every year since 2005 Paignton has played host to a beach-front bike festival, raising money for numerous charities, as chosen by the organisers, BMAD (Bikers Make A Difference). This year the event runs from 6pm on Friday 1st May until Sunday 3rd May, making it a perfect trip for the bank holiday weekend. Those arriving on motorbikes are asked to make a small donation in exchange for either a day or weekend pass, allowing bikers to park on the promenade and gain access to the beer tent, where the bands are also performing. Walk-in visitors can buy a ticket for entry to the Beer and Band tent.
Park up alongside over 1000 other bikes, have a look around, grab an ice-cream and soak up the fun and friendly atmosphere. The sea-front location allows you to have one foot in the sand and one foot on the tarmac.
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If you have never been to the Paignton Bike Festival before, then this year is the best time to visit. Why? Well, according to Kelvin Halloran, the founder and President of BMAD, this year’s festival is going to be the biggest and best yet, with more to do and see than ever before. The Wall of Death is back after a 4 year absence, and there are numerous major trade stands, a fairground, a beer tent, and most importantly plenty of bikes!
Entertainment is definitely high up on the priority list this year, with sixteen bands playing throughout the weekend, numerous stunt show performances on both motorbikes and pushbikes and the long anticipated return of the Wall of Death. With more traders, trailers from big name manufacturers and entertainers confirming every day, the organisers are promising plenty of surprises.
BMAD is run entirely by volunteers, with all proceeds going to a selection of charities, including Devon Air Ambulance, St. John’s Ambulance, Devon Young Carers and Devon Freewheelers (Blood Bikes). Each year a number of local individual cases are also selected, with a focus on disabled and disadvantaged children and young people. Previous projects have included funding trikes to improve mobility, and arranging days out for young carers. “We’re just so proud of what we are doing,” Kelvin adds, “Raising precious money for vulnerable groups… We’ve made a huge difference to a lot of lives.”
The festival itself has plenty to offer for bikers and families alike, but visitors to the area shouldn’t forget that they are surrounded by some of the most beautiful areas in the UK. Dartmoor and the local coastal roads offer fantastic rides (or drives) with beautiful scenery in excess.
This is possibly the perfect weekend out for those who are interested in the motorcycle lifestyle, whether as a novice, expert or even casual observer. With a wide variety of bikes, from sports bikes and custom built rides to classic and vintage motorcycles, there will definitely be something for everyone! Just remember to polish your bike before you arrive as there is a £1000 cash prize for Best Bike in Show.
For anyone who can’t make it to the Bike Festival in May (or who just can’t wait until 2016 to return), Bike Nights are held every Wednesday night from June until the end of September, taking over the entire length of Paignton Seafront.
Donations are always gratefully accepted. More information and regular updates can be found at bmad.co.uk. People who want to volunteer to help at the festival or at Bike Nights throughout the summer can sign up via the BMAD (Bikers Make A Difference) Facebook Page.
Rachel BennettEnjoy more Back Street Heroes reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.