Move over Rudolph: Who is Norwich's motorcycle Santa?

Nathan Downey, the motorbike Santa has been riding around Norwich getting people into the Christmas

Nathan Downey, the motorcycle Santa has been riding around Norwich getting people into the Christmas spirit. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A Norwich Santa has ditched reindeer power for horsepower to spread joy across the city this Christmas. 

Mototcycle Santa Nathan James Downey, 26, from Costessey, has been dashing around every Christmas for the last four years dishing out treats and making the festive period wheelie special.  

But, much like the real Santa, Nathan prefers to keep his identity somewhat under wraps behind his festive helmet. 

He said: “I had struggled with ADHD and Asperger's up until I was able to ride a motorcycle at the age of 21.  

Nathan Downey, the motorbike Santa has been riding around Norwich getting people into the Christmas

Nathan Downey, the motorbike Santa has been riding around Norwich getting people into the Christmas spirit. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

“I had always pushed away from jobs and was never given the chance to work until I was 22 so doing the motorcycle Santa gives me an outlet - and it is something I am really good at and passionate about.

"It helps me as motorcycles are my passion, it helps my mind to be calm."

Nathan dresses up like the big man himself and even puts lights, antlers and a red nose on his ride.  

Most Read

He takes to the streets each day in the week before Christmas from 10am until 3pm. 

Nathan Downey, the motorbike Santa has been riding around Norwich getting people into the Christmas

Nathan Downey, the motorbike Santa has been riding around Norwich getting people into the Christmas spirit. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

His ride usually includes stops in Hethersett, the city centre and Costessey. 

He said: “People point, smile and laugh. I sometimes stop to give sweets and chocolates to the little ones.  

“Sometimes people insist on giving me money which I pass on to local charities.”  

Now in his fourth year, Nathan doesn’t plan on putting the brakes on.  

“I don’t know why I would stop doing it, I love to make people happy and smile, and Santa cruising on a motorcycle is something you definitely don’t see every day.

“It makes people happy, I get to spread festive cheer and prepare people for the happiest day of the year. When I passed my motorcycle test, I’d always hoped I could use it to bring people joy.” 

Nathan Downey, the motorbike Santa has been riding around Norwich getting people into the Christmas

Nathan Downey, the motorbike Santa has been riding around Norwich getting people into the Christmas spirit. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Nathan is pleased to share that his feedback has always been positive and now, four years on people even look out for him and will ask for his route so they can be waiting for him to ride past.  

“People love to see the big guy in a different light, when I suit up and ride as Santa, I’m always greeted with big smiles and happy faces.” 

Who is the REAL Santa Claus? 

Father Christmas dates back to the 16th century in England.  

The modern-day Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, comes from the tales of St Nicholas who was a 4th century Greek Christian bishop.  

St Nicholas became famous for his generous gifts to the poor.  

Tradition evolved and in the 20th century elves were depicted as using production lines to make masses of toys for Father Christmas to deliver on Christmas day.  

It is widely believed that Father Christmas' famous red suit was adopted after Coca-Cola dressed him up in their branding in a 1931 advert. However the company itself denies this claiming he had often been depicted in scarlet beforehand. 

Of course these days Father Christmas has become a global celebrity and children eagerly wait him to come down their chimney to deliver their presents.  

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter