Riding with the Beast by Ian Mutch

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What would you do if several months into a relationship you discovered that your girlfriend has turned into a Grizzly Bear?

There can be few of us who have not at some point put that question to themselves and some who may actually have had the experience.

In the freezing winter of 1991 London ex ship’s officer turned motorcycle courier Ian Mutch set off for Wales aboard a BMW R100RS with a bear cub on the pillion seat.

The destination was a shivering ice bound caravan in the Wye Valley. It was the year the Wye froze!

This trip was followed by a seminal run to Glastonbury followed by a two-month voyage to Israel via France, Italy and Greece on a Harley-Davidson.

If you have ever empathised with the muted exasperation of Basil Faulty in the face of Sybil’s curt pomposity or experienced unreasonableness off the Richter scale, then you will nod and smile, ‘been there still got the claw marks’.

Others may read between the lines and recognise in the writer’s admissions the explanation for attitudes that passed all understanding.

Running out of fuel in the West Bank – well doesn’t everyone?

Anyone who enjoyed this author’s last book, Lowrider (Five star rated by Bike magazine) and vicariously wallowed in the hilarious misery of that arduous voyage, will love this easy but wince-loaded read.

As the temperature rises and emotional stresses climb they fall among a bohemian group of pilgrims and drifters on a dusty campsite above Jerusalem.

Here we meet Sam the Prophet, David the cynic, Darcy the Donkey, the Tel Aviv Harley club, the man in Olive tree and Her with Teeth and no Teeth. The bear even begins to look normal.

Riding with the Beast costs £6.99 plus £1.50 P&P. Make cheques payable to I Mutch, and send to PO Box 18519, London. E11 4HF.

Marc Abbott

By Marc Abbott