I’m too young to have ridden anything in the 70s that didn’t have pedals, so the reading detailed sections on a string of mostly-quite-crap-in-retrospect motorbikes feels very much like an apprenticeship. Reading that is an initiation before you get to the good stuff, but even from the start Scott's style is witty and engaging.
The book really takes off when Chris – ever the adventurer – discovers psychedelic drugs. By the 1980s he is living in various London squats, despatch riding in the week, enduro riding at weekends and planning winter off-road sojourns to the Sahara. All this is set against a backdrop of Thatcher-era politics in the capitalistic Yuppie-Capital that is vividly described in all its rotten-core glory.
Boring bikes like Honda Benly’s aside, the second half of the book contains some beautifully spun yarns that could only be from the ‘80s: the last festivals at Stonehenge before Thatcher’s crackdown on the ‘hippy’ convoys, and Chris acting as a getaway driver for Class War anarchists.
Maybe this book means more to me because I rode those same streets at the same time, and even plied the same reckless trade at the end of the decade. Gasoline gaucho by day and space cadet at weekends.
You don’t need to have ridden for a living to enjoy this book though. Simply having an interest in two wheels and surviving the 1980s is enough connection to get a lot out of it. Hell, there’s even mention of the riots at Keswick scooter rally in 1981.
I'm not the only one who enjoyed it. Ride Magazine have already awarded it Book of the Year, which is not bad going for February…
Review by stickyfeatures.co.uk