Author Frank Melling’s new book will not teach you a darn thing about how to scramble. Scrambling for Enthusiastic Beginners – How I Survived the 1960s With A Smile is less an oblique primer on motorcycle racing and more the story of what growing up was like for an average English lad in 1950s and ’60s northern England.
A lad who lived, ate, and breathed motorcycles; a time before Japanese bikes took over; a time when AJS and BSA and Triumph were the pinnacles of envy and performance; a time some fans still cherish and, for not only those fans, Scrambling for Enthusiast Beginners seems squarely aimed. It tells a good bit of the story of the British motorcycling scene in the 1960s. Melling tells all. Names, places, dates, and the incredible catastrophe that was British manufacturing during that period.
This charming and truly riveting work opened a window on Melling’s life, as well as the lives of many impoverished lower-class English youths and people of the time. He devotes a good deal of space to what it was like growing up in Warrington, on the River Mersey between Liverpool and Manchester. His self-effacing, autobiographical analysis and distillation that put him on the path of racer, teacher, and writer kept me from a half-dozen other books I was reading or had lined up to read on my Kindle.
Melling describes a life that was far different from what I encountered during those same years as a middle-class kid in the United States. One might gain insight into why there are, even today, still so many fans of that place and that time in history. Melling could be the quintessential example of what were the driving forces of those heady times.
If you are a fan of BSA, Triumph, Velocette, Greeves, Dot, Ariel, AJS, or the many other marques, great and small, Scrambling for Enthusiastic Beginners – How I Survived the 1960s With a Smile is a read for you. If your interest leans toward ’60s British bikes, European racing of all sorts, and you think you know the backstories, you must find a copy to read as soon as possible.
Scrambling for Enthusiastic Beginners – How I Survived the 1960s With A Smile Fast Facts
- Author: Frank Melling
- Publisher: Collie Press
- Format: Paperback
- Dimensions: 6.1” x 9.25”
- Length: 224 pages
- ISBN10: 0952798794
- ISBN13: 9780952798798
Scrambling for Enthusiastic Beginners – How I Survived the 1960s With A Smile Price: £13 MSRP