It's pretty obvious from the contents of this blog that I am keen on old photos of regular folks with their motorcycles. The premise of this book is a collection of such images each of which carry a paragraph or two of explanation. The social history of motorcycling is a neglected area, sad really as it is a fascinating subject. Motorcycle history is massively intertwined with the growth of individualism, industrialisation and leisure for the working classes. The way that motorcycles gave regular working people freedom and the ability to get out of cities and enjoy days out with independence. The taste for speed that motorcycles gave. The whole social scene that grew from the myriad of regional motorcycle clubs that once existed and are now for most part forgotten. The role of the motorcycle in youthful rebellion, and that is something that was happening way before rockers in the fifties. As a child I can remember my grandfather telling tales of speeding on his New Gerrard with straight though exhaust in the 1920s and getting stopped by the police. The complaint was that the machine had no silencing and the copper tested it by putting a stick up the exhaust to feel for a baffle. Nicked!
Where this book wins is that beyond the pictures author Roger Fogg has collated, researched and narrated the back story about the folks depicted and the locations. It is an easy book to pick up and dip in to a few of the 160 pages for a while without having to read from cover to cover and should appeal to anyone with even a passing interest in old motorcycles.