The Real McKoi

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$_57This scooter for sale on eBay is the absolute business. Usually, I can take or leave custom paint… but this is gorgeous… and I just ‘get” the whole concept of this scooter. The Real McCoy means “the genuine article” and this scooter is certainly that. No expense has been spared in the build, with owner going “straight to the top’ and getting all the work being done by some of the best in the business… The paint is by Ty Layer ( Pageant Paiintwork ), Engraving by Adi Clark, Seat by Corky, 250cc Twin Targa Engine build by Stuart from the 100 MPH Lambretta Club, Hydraulic Clutch by Chris Sadd.McK$_57-3

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It all adds up to one stunning scooter. And it could be yours. Check it out on eBay here

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Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle – The Review

39375c67f1f0b9b391c7039ea18620cf1f540ff9On the strength of my post about the video publicising his book, Martin “Sticky” Round sent me a copy to review. Which was nice. This is a first for me, as it’s the first “freebie” I’ve got through the blog. To be fair to my loyal readers though, I’m determined to give this a fair review, and be as honest and forthright as I can… and not just do a “puff piece”.

This was a tricky review to write. I could sum the whole post up in four words… but that wouldn’t do justice to the book. And I could ramble on for ages pouring more and more praise onto it, because this is simply a great book, but I suspect that my review would come across as a little dull if I did.

And this book is anything but dull. As readers of his work in Scootering will know, Sticky has a fine command of the English language… and he’s had the opportunity to give it full flight in this book. I read a lot. I’ve often got two or three books on the go at once, and I devour everything from biographies to science fiction, and pretty much everything in between. Once in a while, I enjoy a book so much that I rave on about it to friends and family and pass it on, saying “you must read this!” (The last book I did that with was CJ Sansom’s Dominion, btw. Highly recommended). Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle is up there. Right up there. I honestly haven’t enjoyed reading a book more this year.

Sticky tells his road trip tale in a highly entertaining fashion. The “scootery bits” aren’t so technical that a non-scooterist would be turned off, and just give an overview of what it’s like to own, ride and be part of the classic scooter scene without assuming any prior knowledge. A opening couple of chapters about building the scooters to take them on the journey could be as dull as ditchwater – but handled with Sticky’s light humorous tone (and the liberal use of the word “bollocks”) it’s like a very entertaining bloke down the pub sharing a great story with you.

In fact, the whole book is like that. Only they interesting bloke down the pub usually gets a bit boring after a couple of pints. Sticky’s book never wanes. While sharing his adventure of crossing Europe, from the Adriatic Coast to Turkey (and back), the entertainment factor never lets up. Sticky didn’t do the trip alone, he took his 11 year old son, Sam, and wife along. His wife, Tracy was riding perhaps the most Frankenstein of the Frankesnstein scooters, a Maicoletta with a 400cc Suzuki engine shoehorned into the old scooter bodywork. They met up with another name well known to the Lambretta scene, Dean Orton from the Rimini Lambretta Centre. Dean was riding the least modded bike… (and ultimately the most reliable of the scooters) a moderately upgraded Indian GP. And he brought his daughter, Kimberly along for the ride too.

Undertaking a challenging journey on highly modified vintage scooters is not a thing to do lightly. Let alone when you’ve got the wife and kids along. Sticky’s attitude is prepare well, and hope for the best. Things will generally work out and when they don’t, well, that’s character building. Seems to have worked for him. Still, with the author of the Lambretta repair and maintenance bible The Complete Spanner’s Manual: Lambretta Scooters and the owner of the RLC, an accomplished Lambretta mechanic in his own right, both veterans of many rallies and road trips… they were going to be alright if anything did go wrong with the scoots.

To get back to that bloke down the pub, that you initailly find the life and soul, and who you then discover is just someone who likes the sound of their own voice and has found a whole new audience in you… Well, you often find their worldview is a little blinkered too. They say travel broadens the mind, and to an extent I think that’s true, but I think you’ve got to be pretty broadminded to begin with. I found myself nodding along and agreeing with most of what Sticky said in the book… and, being Sticky he always has an interesting way of saying it. His “Dickhead Theory” I found particularly insigtful.

The trip, through Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey (and back via Greece and Albania) give Sticky ample opportunity to expound on everything from his theories on parenting to his attitudes to other cultures… with a handful of remincenses about previous scootering adventures, and a soupcon of local history along the way. His summing up of the Gallipoli campaign made interesting reading in light of all the recent celebrations surrounding the 70th anniverary of D-Day.

The book ends with Sticky being a bit down as the trip reaches it’s conclusion… and that’s how I felt as I reached the end of the book. I was enjoying reading it so much I just wanted more… Finally, there is some advice on how to plan your own adventure… and if you don’t feel inspired to at least start planning something, even if it never gets past the plannng stage, I suspect there’s something wrong with you.

Anyway… I’m not going to witter on and spoil the book for you. Suffice it to say it’s a damn good read. One that, in my humble opinion, deserves to break out from the scootering world into a general readership… You don’t have to be a scooter fan to enjoy a book this good. After all “Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (basically a roadtrip book with a bunch of noodly half baked philosphising thrown in) became a classic… and it’s a far less entertaining read.

If I had summed the whole review up in four words they would have been “Excellent read. Buy it”. Actually buy two, give one to a friend. It’s that good.

It’s out on Kindle now, at a unfeasibly reasonable £2.95, a price that almost makes it worthwhile buying a Kindle. The paperback is also available from Scooterproducts, Amazon, and eBay. The perfect last minute gift for Fathers Day!

Bonus points if you can find the other video featuring (a very young) Sticky on this site. If you do post your answer in the comments.

13th Ottawa CURD Vintage Scooter Rally

Apparently, the Ottawa Curd Vintage Scooter Rally is not to be missed… CURD? Yep. You Heard. CURD. So I thought, what’s that all about, must be an acronym for something. Canadian Urban Riders Day or something. Nope. It stands for CURD.  The squeaky cheese stuff. Now I’m partial to a spot of cheese myself… and Curd is the key ingredient in Poutine …a French Canadian dish made from french fries, gravy and cheese curd. Sounds like perfect rally fodder.rafflebike

There will be Poutine a plenty, drinks, camping, games, friendship and some great group rides.

Check out these pics from last years event.img_0811 wpid-wp-1376137860357 curd_0112 curd_0122 wpid-wp-1376141270951 wpid-imag0032 img_0849 curd_0109 img_0839 img_0836 img_0858 img_0844

One of the movers and shakers, and key sponsors of the CURD Rally is Corey Fraser, one of my readers who puts me right when my limited knowledge lets me down. He’s owned and ridden Lambrettas (and those other scooters …the ones starting with V) for over 25 years, and runs Scooter Fix, providing a full restoration and repair service out of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Here’s their Facebook page. Corey is also rebuilding the raffle prize… a 1964 LI150.

Here’s the CURD Rally website, and Facebook page.
Registration is open now.

Oh, and if you go… send me some pics and a report… I’ll stick it on the blog!

Didier’s lid!

10382279_10153071811268484_7439470840026991125_oDidier, or to give him his full appellation “Lord Didier Coquoz” sent me this pic via the blog’s Facebook page. He’s astride his ’66 150 Special, and particularly proud of his original 1960’s helmet, hand painted by himself “when he was a kid, a couple of weeks ago!” You may spot that he is Swiss. That scooter (restored by lambrettista.ch) looks worthy of a few close ups!

I’ve never met Didier, but I already  know he enjoys a laugh. If I’m ever in Switzerland, I’d love to share a Toblerone with him!

A Class send off for a Class act

Anybody who attended a scooter rally in the 80’s or 90’s will know the name Tony Class. A larger than life character who loved the scene, the music and the scooters, Tony was one of the few who kept the scene going through difficult times. He sadly lost his battle with illness last month. Scootering magazine has written a piece here.

My condolences to his family and many friends.

These videos are worth a watch too.

RIP Tony.

Lambretta Service Man on eBay

Lambretta Service Man

$_3-1These little beauties come up occasionally on eBay, and I always think they’s make the perfect gift for any Lambretta enthusiast. They were originally a promotional items for Lambretta clothing stores. I think it’s a real headturner… and in fact the head does turn from left to right. This one started at £20, and it’s already up to over £100, with 9 days to go. Here’s the ebay link.

Thanks!

The blog’s been a bit a quite lately, as I’m just back from a week in the sun with the family, but for those of you who are interested, it’s going great guns. I’ve just had my best month ever, and it’s clicked over 100,000 total views… which I know is tiny in internet terms, but pretty impressive in my mind for a little hobby blog.

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 19.26.14I’ve also had correspondence from all over the world, notably the US, Canada and South Africa, all of which is much appreciated. The blog is read pretty much globally, 139 countries at the last count, from Albania to the Uraguay. Which is nice. If you’ve ever though about getting in touch, with your Lambretta pics and stories please do, wherever you are in the world. That’s what it’s all about!