MCN’s top 5 biking books

Feet up, grab a beer, turn the telly off and rediscover the lost art of reading…

Here’s our pick of the some of the best biking books we’ve read in the last few months.

Wayne Rainey: His Own Story
MCN says:
“Written by MotoGP journo Michael Scott, Rainey’s biography was first published back in 1997, but reproduced last year with additional material to bring it up to date. I was always a big Rainey fan – he was one of the original ‘aliens’ along with Schwantz, Gardner, Doohan and Lawson. I was disappointed I never bothered to read the book back then, so I’m pleased I got a second chance with this re-release. I really enjoyed reading about his rivalry with Schwantz and his relationship with Yamaha and Kenny Roberts. Of course, the book deals heavily with his tragic accident at Misano in 1993 (where he became paralysed from the chest down) and the after-effects, which he continues to deal with to this day.”

 

Mick Grant: Takin’ The Mick
MCN says:
“Although I’m a fanatical racing fan, my racing consciousness doesn’t really start until about 1987. I had a decent idea of who Mick Grant is and what he’s achieved in his career, but I bought his autobiography more to read about his involvement with James Whitham in the late 1980s and early ’90s and his life as a team manager – stuff I can relate to. As it turns out the book is fantastic from page one and Grant is a brilliant story-teller, just like his protege Whitham. It’s superbly written, too, with plenty of ‘laugh out loud’ moments as he guides you through his childhood, teens and behind the scenes of his glittering racing career. I enjoyed all the bits I was expecting to like, but found his tales of his early life and racing even more enjoyable and riveting.”

 

100 Years of Motorcycles
MCN says:
“100 years of motorcycling documented in just 300 photos is a
tough task. It’s a task made even tougher when you’ve got the many thousands
of images in the Associated Press archive to sort through. Books like this only succeed if you’ve got the right mix of historical, quirky and funny images and for the first half of the book it’s bang on. The early years are packed with highlights such as Teddy Brown the 23-stone xylophone player onboard his Coventry Eagle, second world war despatch riders with a fag and a brew and the production lines at Meriden Triumph workers co-operative.”

 

Ace Times
MCN says:
“I have seen and read many books on the motorcycling history of the 1950s and 60s. Most of them slot neatly into one or more of the following categories: dull, ill-informed, starry-eyed or amateur. Mick Duckworth’s book ploughs its own furrow, the author bringing a vast knowledge of the times and the bikes to bear on the writing of Ace Times. I’ve spent every spare minute of the last seven days and nights poring over each of this book’s 312 pages, and can gleefully report that you’ll not see a more sumptuously illustrated and presented record of the legendary Ace Café (and other caffs across the country), its clientele, the music, the style, the essence and the truth of rock and roll from the 1930s to the present day. Some of the stories (both true and tall!) told by Ace regulars who were there at the time will even make perfect bedtime stories for your little ones. If there’s any justice in the world this book will become compulsory reading under the National Curriculum.”

 

Shale Trek
“Yeah, I’ve got a passing interest in speedway (I’m not apologising for the pun) and, as a fan, I know you have to cling on to those special moments – as much as football fans cling to England success. I love speedway’s grass roots, earthy, organic feel that once was the preserve of the working man - and maybe still is. Don’t take that wrong. That’s a positive for me! The tired, backwater stadia have a lovely grungy appeal, harking back to the early Seventies when I first ventured to Blunsdon Road to see Martin Ashby and Bob Kilby starring for the Swindon Robins. Speedway, at it’s best, is as good as any professional motorsport you’ll see anywhere in the world but it’s full of foibles and weird rules that can make the sport a laughing stock – even to it’s own band of followers. And that is the vibe you get from reading Jeff Scott’s latest heayweight tome ‘Shale Trek.’ Here’s a fan who clearly loves his sport but isn’t afraid to talk about its shortcomings. Scott’s style is unique and if you want an entertaining read that’s also loosely connected with motorcycle sport then it’s well worth the £20. And if you’ve even a vague interest in speedway, I’ll guarantee you’ll be checking out the fixtures list of your local team to catch up on the action. I certainly have!” 

Get yours at MCNshop.com