I enjoyed reading Frank’s thoughts on the AJS Model 8 in RC171. A bit different from the Ariel he intended to road test, but these little serendipities are what make life interesting.
It immediately brought to mind a book by Roy K Battson, ‘ The Land Beyond The
Ridge’, a lovely, lyrical and elegiac memoir of Roy’s motorcycling life from 1920 on. Its subtitle is ‘Reminiscences of sixty odd years of the finest hobby man can have; motorcycling’. Roy had quite a hard life but eventually an unexpected legacy meant he could buy one last bike. Not the 350 AJS featured, but the 250 model.
He says; ‘And so, once more, and still, even in my late fifties, almost sick with excitement, I took delivery of my new machine. It was a Model 14 250cc AJS and in my humble opinion one of the most beautiful motorcycles ever offered to the public.’ No doubt some rose-tinted specs there, but I guess he was still under the influence of the unexpected legacy! Nevertheless it brought him happiness for about 12 years.
I bought his book when it was first published in 1974 for £2.50 and usually read it once a year at a sitting; it is only 78 pages long. I now see that it is offered on Amazon for £70! It would make a wonderful serialisation in a classic bike magazine and maybe that would be possible in RealClassic? A wonderful memoir of a golden age.
Mike Knowles, member 8882
Yes indeed, that’s an excellent book, isn’t it? We’ve a copy safely snuggled in the RC RChive. But we have doubts about dedicating that many pages in RC to historic adventures; the magazine is intended to reflect the reality of rebuilding, running and riding old bikes today. There are other magazines (so I’m told!) which major on yesteryear, after all. We may wander into nostalgia here and there, but I wonder how subscribers would feel if we left out an owner report or a roadtest or a rebuild feature, to run an historic book serialisation instead? Over to you, gentle readers; tell us what you think… Rowena