Considering just how common overland travel by scooter was in the 50s and 60s, there are precious few books on the subject still in print. ‘Frankenstein scooters’ does not recount a global odyssey, but it does at least begin to redress the literary imbalance and it is brand new, unlike the machinery involved.
There are easier ways to explore Europe than on fifty year-old scooters, but as Martin makes clear, it’s all about the experience. A German Maicoletta (with a DRZ 400 engine) and an Italian Lambretta (with a CRM 250 lump) are an interesting pairing for husband and wife. Their mate Dean is on a stock (and very slow) Lambretta of similar vintage and they even bring along a couple of kids.
This is a book that anyone can enjoy for the journey to Istanbul and for the insights, pleasingly relayed. It’s affable and fun and seems written for a British audience, perhaps primarily a ‘scootering’ one. That’s not a criticism, nor is it surprising, as Martin has worked on ‘Scootering’ magazine for some years, which is also no doubt, why it’s well edited and proofed. The building of the bikes occupies the early pages and the latter part contains a wealth of ‘how to’ info designed to enthuse other scooter owners to just set off and explore neighbouring countries on any machinery that’s parked in the garage.
All together it’s well written and pleasantly engaging, but it’s not long. Of the 192 pages, 45 are of coloured images and then there are a further 15 coloured pictures peppered throughout. I don’t think that matters and I really quite enjoyed just tucking in to a good read that I was able to readily complete without getting side-tracked. There’s always a sense of satisfaction finishing a book which you are then redrawn to, fondly flicking back through a number of times. In fact I used the second pass to look at the pictures, as the words had just led me to turn pages.
Paperback 192 pages Colour images throughout. £9.99
Fingers in Pies Publications