‘From Crystal Palace to Red Square. A hapless biker’s road to Russia’ by Kevin Turner

from crystal palace to red squareThis, the second in the ‘Hapless biker…’ series, sees Kevin Turner’s writing get even better as he recounts the ride on his 636 Ninja from London to Moscow via Scandinavia. He does like a simile, but he can deliver them with such ease and because they are wonderfully crafted, they don’t annoy or cause tension within the text. It’s just a shame there isn’t more text!

There’re only 150 pages of story in this 160 page book and half of those are colour pictures, few of which actually supplement the story. But to wantonly use cliché, it is a rollicking read. No knobbly tyres were harmed in the making of this story and Kevin was only on the road for 3 weeks, but it must be remembered that there is no positive correlation between a marathon journey and a good book.

This is simply entertainment and is every bit as inspiring as reading about a global odyssey, perhaps more so, as this can be everyone’s achievable dream. A 636 Ninja is hardly ultimate touring chic but he used this Kawasaki on the trip simply because he already owns it and there should be no better reason.

From London overland to the stunning fjords of Norway, he then heads east across Sweden, before catching a ferry to Finland, which turns out to be cultural experience like no other. He never pretends to be a hardened traveller and the honest recounting of his experience crossing into (and through) Russia just bolsters his credibility. The conversational naivety, with which he tries to endear himself to the wrong border guards, is just fantastic.

This is a title that will provide a lovely evening’s distraction and will probably make you think very differently about St Petersburg and Lithuania. If only it didn’t cost £14.99.

Paddy Tyson

ISBN 978-1-845846-22-0

Paperback 160pp, £14.99

Colour images throughout.

Veloce Publishing 2014