‘Great Australian Motorcycle Stories’ – a short book review

Great Australian Motorcycle Stories (published by ABC Books in partnership with Harper-Collins, edited by John Bryant).

With a collection like Great Australian Motorcycle Stories (edited by John Bryant) it’s inherently easy to simply pick up the book, flick to a story with an appealing title and start from there. That’s exactly what I did, selecting one from Mick Beltrame about his travels with one or two of his collie dogs on the back of his motorcycles, in which the bond with his dogs is conveyed strongly. I selected this one selfishly because Mick is a fellow member of the Canberra Branch of the Ulysses Motorcycle Club.

Maintaining the canine theme in which the same strong bond is evident, I also read about the famous Tex & Bundy duo, who have travelled over 700,000 kms raising funds for charities, also enabling Bundy to gain the ‘fastest dog in the world’ title (I guess Laika was disqualified, being an exo-atmospheric traveller).

The next story I selected was one by John Bryant himself, covering his earliest days of motorcycling. This one was hilarious, both for his description of his teenage persona, his choice of motorcycling gear, but also his ability to infiltrate the police escort in the procession of one of Australia’s biggest VIP visitors in 1970. You’ll have to buy the book to discover the VIP’s identity!

Most of the stories hale from probably 10-20 years ago at least, therefore there is only one story written by a woman, however it’s a good one; even if the demographics of modern biking now include a larger female representation and many of these women have proven to be much more avid bikers than the author of ‘Granny Annie’s Postie’.

There are human-interest stories galore, the love of bikes and biking naturally, but also a ghost-story and a weird pseudo-scientific metaphysical racing tale set at Phillip Island Circuit. As an avid motorcyclist, I found this book highly readable and with something for almost anyone, not simply motorcyclists. I recommend it. This book review was first posted under the website http://www.foodwinetravel.com.au following a request for the book review from Christine Salins. 


David McIlroy


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