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Biker's lot is not a happy one

IT MAY not have had the tone of the London-Brighton car rally - vehicles aside, Nazi helmets lack the quaint charm of Edwardian tweed caps - but more than 1,000 motorcycle enthusiasts on machines ranging from giant Harley-Davidsons to mopeds took part yesterday in a ride from Bristol to Bath, 14 miles apart.

The third annual Great Western Rally, organised by the Motor Cycle Action Group (MAG), which campaigns for improvements to the bikers' lot, combines a boozy weekend at a campsite, and a meeting where speakers highlighted a recent spate of bike thefts and the rise in insurance premiums. Craig Clinch of Bath MAG said: 'High insurance and thefts are discouraging young people from taking up bikes.' He was supported by Jeff Manning, a Liberal Democrat Bath councillor and motorcycle enthusiast whose machine was recently stolen. He said: 'I hope to encourage the council to expand and improve parking facilities for motorbikes.'

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