Real Classic - - Letters -

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

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