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You'd Harley believe it!

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 October 2009 | UPDATED: 08:40 01 August 2010

THE sight of a Harley Davidson motorcycle roaring its way between Bungay to Beccles is always bound to turn a few heads.

But when that leather-clad rider rolls up to your local church, removes his helmet, and reveals himself to be the reverend - well, you'd Harley believe your eyes.

THE sight of a Harley Davidson motorcycle roaring its way between Bungay to Beccles is always bound to turn a few heads.

But when that leather-clad rider rolls up to your local church, removes his helmet, and reveals himself to be the reverend - well, you'd Harley believe your eyes.

The Rev Ian Byrne, priest-in-charge at the Bungay benefice, has bought himself a 1450 V Twin Harley Davidson Road King Classic.

While he won't immediately be driving the bike to any of his services, it is an option he is considering for the summer. And in the meantime, he will use it for commuting to training days in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

Mr Byrne, 56, bought his first bike at the age of 16 - a BSA Bantam 175 - and his latest purchase continues a long love affair with motorcycles.

“I've always been determined to ride into my dotage!” he said. “I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it. It's a beautiful machine. It's not the fastest in the world, but I never did enjoying thrashing around the countryside. I like to enjoy my riding in a more leisurely fashion.”

Mr Byrne takes services at Bungay Holy Trinity and St Mary's churches and at Mettingham and Barsham with Shipmeadow.

He said he had caused quite a stir while out and about on the bike.

“It's turned one or two heads,” he said. “A couple of them did double takes when they saw me riding it. But I wasn't sporting my dog collar or anything.”

He said churchwarden Roma Went had been particularly besotted with the new bike and been for a ride on the back.

“I don't think she'd seen such a large bike close up before, so she was quite impressed,” he said.

Mr Byrne, who was in the military police for 14 years, worked at a motorcycle training centre for the military police for two years in the 1970s.

During that time, he formed a cross-country trials team at the training centre, which travelled to various events all over the UK.

His other motorcycles have included a Norton interstate 850 Twin and a 1972 Harley Davidson Electra Glide 1207cc - the latter being an import from the USA that he had for many years.

He then owned a Moto Guzzi Convert 1000cc automatic, before a Honda Gold Wing which he sold in the mid-1980s. Since then he has hired bikes to “keep his hand in.”

He said he was planning some longer trips on his bike with other motorcycling members of the clergy.

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