World Book Day –Scooterboys – The Lost Tribe

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Looking forward to this  – Scooterboys – the Lost Tribe. I’ve enjoyed Martin “Sticky” Round’s writing for years. After all, this is the guy who can make a workshop manual entertaining! Due for release on 28th May, it’s one worth pre-ordering. (If you’ve already ordered an advance signed copy via SLUK, then that will be shipped at the end of April).

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Here’s the blurb; “Scooterboys are the lost tribe of British youth culture. Unrecognised, uncelebrated and unwanted; misunderstood by a general public who mistook us for Mods. We weren’t Mods though. By the 1980s myself and tens of thousands of scooter riders collectively rejected that label. Instead, we took the roadmap of British youth disaffection and carved a new bypass. This route took us beyond the UK’s faded seaside resorts, allowing us to spread our creed across the continents. Tuned and customised Vespa and Lambretta scooters gave us freedom to roam; transport to live for the weekend. Shared experiences of riots, local hostility and police harassment built strong fraternal bonds that endure to this day. Despite decades of two-wheeled rebellion our threat level was never high enough to put us on the national security radar. This low profile has its benefits. We aren’t doomed to follow the same cycle as Mods. First feared, then pilloried, accepted and finally adopted as part of UK’s rich culture. As British as a vindaloo. The cult of Scooterboy has escaped death-by-public-acceptance, simply by remaining too underground. Too difficult to distinguish from what came before. And that’s just perfect. You’ll never see Scooterboys parodied in TV insurance adverts or low budget fly-on-the-wall. The poorly-rendered caricature is always some cliché Mod on a ‘Christmas Tree’ scooter. If you rode to rallies in the 80s and 90s then this book will mirror your experiences. If you’ve never had a scooter then it offers a rare glimpse of life inside the lost tribe of two-stroke terrorists.”

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Available at all good bookshops, no doubt a few bad ones, and on Amazon, here

I’ll be getting a copy, and post a full review when I’ve read it. For more recommendations, see my reading list.

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NEW Lambretta frames & forks to be manufactured

cat_lambretta7-1230x800With the announcement that there were to be new engine casings made for Lambrettas it seemed we are entering a second ‘golden age’ for Lambretta ownership (if you can afford to get you ‘foot on the ladder’ – or should that be floorboard?). With a new official Lambretta – The Vendetta – in the offing, and the majority of parts for classic GP / S3 Lambrettas are either being remade (often as improvements on the original equipment – tubeless rims for example), or available as ‘New Old Stock’. The likes of eBay, and the number of knowledgeable dealers (see my Lambretta specialists page for a list) even makes hunting down parts for rarer models less onerous.

But theres always been a missing link. You need an original frame to bolt everything on to. Well, maybe not anymore. Vittorio Tessera of Casa Lambretta is looking to manufacture Lambretta frames and forks again in Italy.

The ramifications of this are far from obvious, but luckily for me, somebody far more knowledgeable (Sticky) has thought it all through. So if you want to know whether it would actually be possible to build an old scooter on a new frame, or whether new frames might increase the scooter theft problem of scumbags ‘ringing’ scoots… head over to ScooterLab for the full gen.

SLUK Launch Date Set

So, the latest missive from Sticky and the gang gives a little more information about Project SLUK… recently revealed to stand for ScooterLab UK…

Just to clarify, this isn’t something I’m involved in, I just think it’s good to see the Scooter media in such a healthy state. The Lambrettista blog will continue, as I see it as a very different beast from SLUK, although there is obviously some ‘cross-over’.


So over to the latest news from SLUK;

Launch date
We’ve tentatively set the website launch date for Monday March 7th.
SLUK email subscribers are the first to know about our launch date, so spread the word.


ScooterLab.UK is an online magazine, run by scooterists, for scooterists. With a website we have enormous flexibility about how SLUK will grow and evolve. We want your input on what you’d like to see, particularly if you have a good feature idea or want to get involved. We need road going scooter riders to support us and help wherever possible.

What’s the SLUKing format?
 SLUK is going to be a split format website covering the whole scooter market. At the entrance you can choose one door for retro scooters or another for modern. There will be a cross-over of some features across both sides of the site.

The great thing about what we are doing is that we can make the rules up as we go, so SLUK will have a weekly format. Sunday will be the big day for us, with scheduled release of our major articles. We can’t wait to show you.
Do I have to pay to view?
 No.
ScooterLab’s content is free to view and supported by relevant advertising. You don’t even have to sign-up to view but there are a raft of benefits if you join the party.


 

So, there you go, March 7th is the big launch… You can sign-up for further updates over at  http://www.scooterlab.uk

SLUK… All is revealed!

So, there’s been a bit of a buzz around ‘something’ called SLUK – all was revealed today at Scooterist Meltdown by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round… well-known scooter expert,  journalist and adventurer…


SLUK PRESS RELEASE


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Do you love scooters but are fed up with dead-tree scooter media?

Would you like something that was more up to date, faster with the news, more interactive maybe?

Would you prefer it if you could obtain quality scooter content in a format that you could access anywhere, at any time, with the phone in your pocket or the computer in front of you?

What about going beyond a static format and adding video content designed both to inform and entertain?

How about your scooter media not being a one-way street, but by you being able to actively take part in real time?

How would you feel about all of this being brought to you by forward-thinking scooter riders like yourself?

Would you like to still get the quality of writing that only comes from knowledgeable and experienced writers?

Would you like to see big, powerful images displayed beautifully on a revolutionary website that blows the competition into the weeds?

How about if there was one place on the net that acted as a hub for scooterists worldwide? Somewhere you can find out about forthcoming events and post reports of those you’ve attended in video or photographic format.

How about a site that allowed you to get a better deal on insurance, clothing or simply to find your nearest dealer?

What would you pay for such a service? What if we said that you do not need to visit a newsagent to pay £4 every month or take out a subscription for this?

How about if we told you that the price for all this is FREE?

If that sounds like a good deal then you need SLUK.

SLUK is short for ScooterLab.uk and it’s coming to you soon.

Sign-up online to be the first to know when it kickstarts…

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Sounds pretty good to me! Of course, you can still keep reading and interacting with your favourite Lambretta blog… 😉

I’d just like to give a personal nod to Sticky, I’ve been thoroughly entertained by his writing for Scootering over the years, and he’s even made me smile when reading his “Complete Spanners Guide” how many workshop manuals do that? He’s been a friend to the blog, and I wish him and the team every success in their new venture!

After the rainfall…

Nice little vid, posted by Sticky Features Website… After the Rainfall… “Driving beats, keyboard abuse and intense guitar. The Little Notes deliver British Indie with hints of The Charlatans at their best…from album So High Down available here

I think it’s rather good (the music AND the vid) 🙂

Sticky’s Latest Adventure – Twin Town Courier

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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!)

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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!

Don’t try this at home

But then a again… you wouldn’t… but if you were stuck at the side of the road with a hole in your piston and had to get home, and there’s a handy dumpster nearby…

This one gets bodge of the year (so far). If you know a better one, send me a link.
10/10 for ingenuity!

 

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.

Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle

Video about the road trip written about in new scooter travel book ‘Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle’ Italy to Istanbul on 400cc Suzuki-engined Maicoletta, and a couple of Lambrettas …by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round… watch out for a review of the book soon!

Run… 90’s Scooter run documentary

A cut above the usual documentary about scooters… avoiding most of the clichés, and featuring Scootering magazine’s Sticky (whatever happened to him?), I don’t know how I missed this Channel 4 documentary ‘back in the day’ but I’ve got absolutely no recollection of seeing this before. Just watch it, it’s brilliant.