1956 Family Roadtrip from Sydney to Paris… by Lambretta!

1955-bombayPeople have done amazing things on Lambrettas – pushing these machines to their limits across many miles. This family road trip – 12,000 miles from Sydney to Paris – and then on to Margate – has got to be up their with one of the most ambitious and adventurous.

tripThe trip took over two months – starting 3,000 miles across Australia – through Pakistan, Persia, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey – then into Greece, and across Europe (Yugoslavia and Italy) to France. An ambitious enough trip for a rider with a support crew – but dad Guy took his wife Beryl (originally from Margate) and his children Charles (4) and Yvonne (2). Wow!

Voyage Sydney

Guy custom built a cabin of marine plywood and canvas that could transport the four of them and their kit – and transform into a sleeping unit. Cosy! The ‘base scooter’ was a Lambretta Lambro 150 FD, with a top speed of just 25mph.

1956bm-0062The trip included heatwaves, floods, frosts, dust-storms, monsoon rain. The scooter suffered punctures, over-heating and wet petrol – but their ‘put-put’ got them there in the end!

1956bm-0009For the full story, I’d highly recommend visiting the website that chronicles the journey – www.montin.fr/lambretta – where there’s a wealth of original newspaper clippings and photos from the trip.

1955bm-0080A big thank you to Charles (the then four year-old boy in the pictures!) for permission to use the imagery featured in this post.

gate_of_indiaI’ve also got another amazing Lambretta adventure story to tell – this time an ‘escape across Africa’ – stay tuned for that one!

 

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Lambretta Legend Cesare Battaglini

cesare_action2_lambrettista

Lambretta adventurer and legend Cesare Battaglini, who travelled160,000km round the world on his modified Lambretta in 1956, the greatest of many expeduitions on hs Lambretta. He continued riding his beloved Lambretta into his eighties, and was an active and revered part of the Lambretta scene right up to his death in 2011, at 84 years old. cesare_action_lambrettista

The story of Dr. Battaglini can be read over on the Lambretta Watches site, where their Cesare watch honours the great man.

Also available on Amazon here.

Sticky’s Latest Adventure – Twin Town Courier

Twin Town Courier Logo

Ok, so I promised you a post on the Rimini Lambretta Centre’s 25th Anniversary Open Day… and it’s coming. But there’s a scooter adventure that’s going on as I type that you should probably know about… Sticky’s on another of his “European Tours”. On a 1968 Lambretta. Partly because he loves Lambrettas, but also because doing this on a motorcycle would be too easy.  As  he says “The discomfort and unreliability of a vintage scooter adds an element of uncertainty and adventure to the trip. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.”

StickyLeavesNuneatonHeading out from his home town of Nuneaton on the 1st of the month… after being seen off by the Mayor… he’s heading round Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine, Slovakia, Poland, The Czech Republic, Germany and the Netherlands… phew, I’m exhausted typing that lot, never mind riding it!)

FullyLoaded

And there’s a big idea behind the trip – Twinning – and to quote the man himself “The idea is to explore the concept of town twinning, and to link the towns involved by acting as a courier delivering photographs from local newspapers and councils to their twins and sisters in other countries.” His long term goal is to write another book about his experiences (If you haven’t read Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle you’ve missed a treat).

Andorra-2As I type, he’s in the Pyrenees, heading towards Roanne in France, before heading off to Italy. He’s spending at least one day and one night in each town he visits.  Check out his route below, and if you can give him any support  in your country (I know I have readers in all of them!), please do! You might even end up featuring in his next book! Check out the full story on his website StickyFeatures.co.uk and follow him on Twitter @StickyFeatures or on his blog for the latest news.4789452_orig

I’ll keep you informed of anything I hear of his adventures, and show you his route back when he completes the first part of his journey.

Good luck fella… ride safe, and I hope your trip doesn’t have too much discomfort and unreliability!

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.

Sahara D’s

Sahara D'sI had this fantastic sent to me by Carlos from the Lambretta Club of South Africa, (thanks Carlos!) It’s of a couple of French guys (although I think they actually may be from the french speaking part of Switzerland, from the writing on  the ‘topbox’ flag on the laid down Lammie)… on route from Lausanne to “le Cap”. The pic was taken in the Sahara! That’s quite a trip! Carlos reckons it was sometime in the ’50’s. I love their style… baggy trousers, a pair of stout brogues, beatnik beards and a nice tweed sports jacket for when it gets a bit chilly. They bred ’em tough in them days.

Thanks again Carlos, and Andy for forwarding it on. If YOU have any old Lambretta shots, I’d love to see them, and post them up here.

Travels on a Lambretta

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 15.32.07I diari della Lambretta is a fantastic blog by Silvia about her travels on a Series 2 Lambretta, with her partner Marco. As she says “Local storytelling and slow travel, two wheels and small gatherings”. What she doesn’t say is there is beautiful, evocative photography, charming hand-drawn maps, and wonderful descriptions of the places she goes and the people they meet.Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 15.32.33

Don’t just take my word for it, follow her blog here.

img083All images and content from the blog is copyright © Silvia Benedet, unless otherwise indicated

 

The Scooter Diaries

The Scooter Diaries

The Scooter Diaries

Great pic isn’t it?

It’s not the SLS (Special Lambretta Service)… It’s Ron Bowman, and his mate, about to set off on the journey of a lifetime.

In November of 1959, Ron Bowman quit his job as a newspaper reporter, sold his car and bought a 150cc Lambretta scooter. He intended to ride it from his hometown of Thorold, Ontario, Canada all the way to South America. As far as he knew, no one had ever made such a journey, but he was gong to try. Along the way, he proposed to his girlfriend of three weeks, and married her. This is the story of Ron and Tove Bowman and their epic adventure romance through Latin America on a motor scooter, during a time when such a journey was virtually unheard of. No crew. No support vehicles. Just two crazy Canadians in love on a Lambretta, discovering the world, discovering each other, and having the greatest adventure of their lives.

Their son, Gordon, recently found his dad’s manuscript and knew he wanted to share it with the world. He’s written a book and is planning to get it published through Kickstarter to crowd-fund it’s printing. He’s got a website with all the details, here and you can follow his progress on Facebook too. The Kickstarter page doesn’t appear to be up yet, but I’ll post a direct link to that too, when it is.

UPDATE:The Kickstarter page is now live, you can help make this book a reality HERE.

I’ve already added it to my Christmas reading list!