RIDERS briefly took to the roads of Barrow without their helmets in 1995 as part of a national day of protest against new motorcycle rules wanted by the European Commission and the British Government.

It was called National No Helmet Day and saw riders take off their safety headgear to ride along Abbey Road and then distribute leaflets on Dalton Road.

The Mail, on July 19, noted: "The bikers are furious with the British Government and the European Commission for trying to reduce engine power, outlaw owner maintenance and cut sound levels to a rate which could signal the end of air-cooled machines."

The ride, on July 22, started from the Strawberry Hotel and included Furness members of the Barrow Motorcycle Action Group.

The article noted: "Group spokesman Dave Keenan said bikers would ride without their helmets as a peaceful, non-disruptive act to raise public awareness before putting them on as required by law."

He said: "There's a fantastic amount of anti-bike legislation which has prompted this day.

"Our chosen form of transport and leisure is being relentlessly attacked by bureaucrats who don't understand motorcycling."

On September 6 in 1989 The Mail noted that Barrow provided three finalists for the Young Motorcyclist of the Year competition.

The heat was organised by Ulverston PC Dick Orrell on the Asda car park where riders aged 17 to 25 were tested on the Highway Code, manoeuvrability and road skills over a 10-mile ride.

The Barrow winner was VSEL apprentice coppersmith Stuart Wood, of Middle Hill, on his Honda VT 250.

In second place was David Sheard, from Kendal and third was Neil Brooks, of Ulverston.

The Mail, in April, 1994, gave a taste of what was involved in getting the CBT - compulsory basic training - certificate, the first step in securing a full motorcycle licence.

Kendal-based Northern Route ran regular sessions in Barrow with instructor John Gowans.

PC Tony Foy, traffic management officer with Ulverston traffic division said: "You can imagine what it was like before CBT.

"People had no concert of U-turns or slow-speed riding.

"They were just allowed straight out on to public roads.

"Since the advent of CBT, riders have at least had to have some knowledge of control of the motorcycle."