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a new book about old motorbikes

May 23, 2014

A good book is hard to find. Chris Price is working on one right now, titled Georgia Motorcycle History: The First 60 Years 1899-1959.  It will feature photos and stories of the early racers, pedal cycle pacers, policebikes, etc. To help offset the costs of publishing rights of the various photos, Chris has started a kickstarter program here.  If you are interested, click the link and think about giving. $40 gets you a special copy of the book and also helps him to pay for the publication.


Looking thought the O.L. Bibliography, I see many books that have been published by the author. Most of these were not money-making projects and the first publishing run was also the last. Then years later the books are in high demand, but are nowhere to be found. Last week I mentioned Rob Saward’s book on my instagram feed and many people excitedly said that they were looking for a copy. The $30 that I gave to Rob the author ten years ago is now dwarfed by the very rare appearance of a copy on ebay for $200. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.





If y’all are interested, there is a bumper crop of new old bike books that have been published by enthusiastic rider-writers in the past year. I have about a dozen that focus on pre WWI machines alone. These are not widely publicized and don’t show up on Amazon’s top 10 lists, but can be purchased for decent prices directly from the authors. Comment below, and I’ll post info soon on the titles and do some mini-reviews.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2014 5:56 pm

    Thanks for posting up about this book!

    I’m interested in these new titles. Please post up as I’d like to read through them.

  2. John Quirke permalink
    May 24, 2014 5:36 am

    This is a novel and good way to move an idea to a reality. I have just become , like the inmate in the lunatic asylum, committed. Although it may be focused on Georgia it is an insight to a social history which has, no doubt, several similarities with many parts of the globe

    • May 27, 2014 8:33 pm

      Thanks John, Im the author and though it started as a project dumpster diving into my local archives, I found the the history of motorcycling culture in Georgia directly paralleled that of the rest of the country. In many ways the book has moved past the story of Georgia’s Motorcycling history and become an account of how the motorcycle came to be in America. Thanks for the kind words and interest

  3. May 25, 2014 12:09 am

    I am interested Pete…

    • May 25, 2014 8:20 am

      give it a shot Howard. If he doesn’t get the full amount via Kickstarter, then nobody pays anything. So there is very little risk.

  4. Lindsay Brooke permalink
    May 26, 2014 5:00 pm

    Those of us who are deeply interested in the history of motorcycles and motorcycling can’t have too many books on our shelves–particularly those that are as well researched and valuable as I’m sure the Georgia history will be. Having written three books on Triumph’s history, all for a major publisher, I can attest that there is indeed no money in book authoring for niche topics. This endeavor is a total labor of love, and it’s best to have an understanding spouse.

    The current business model for both bike and car books is totally broken, with room for only one party (the publisher) to make a profit. And if the author is also the publisher, he/she must absorb quite a cost burden all the way through the printing and marketing stages. Perhaps the Kickstarter/crowd sourcing approach is the future for those of us who have stories to tell and details about motorcycles, people, and places to share. Thanks, Pete, for making OL readers aware of this project, and best wishes to Chris Price.

    • May 27, 2014 9:07 pm

      Lindsay, I’m the author and I just wanted to thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. You are right in that this project has become a complete labor of love and that much to my wife’s dismay, it is more of an investment than a payoff. Being a book that tells a story through photographs licensing and quality are the name of the game, both of which are quite pricey. I chose to go with a crowd funding approach given the initial narrow scope of the project, and because it provided me a way to setup and secure preorders with no risk to either the backers or myself. I didn’t want to setup preorders from my website only to have 50 books paid for and have to find the other $4,000 dollars just to make the 50. However, It is a very nerve racking approach in that it is all or nothing, so proactive and creative daily marketing becomes the main challenge. If the book were not based on photographs I would have explored print on demand services as they would have allowed me to bypass the need for large quantity printing and large price points which I think offers a pretty nice option for more narrative based books. Thanks again for the well wishes.


  5. Alan Comfort permalink
    May 27, 2014 3:40 am

    Hello Pete, The spring opener sounds like it was a grand success. I was hoping that you might be able to identify this mystery engine. I am thinking Ner-a-car or some other early two wheeler. There is a good chance the this will find its way to my shop. Regards, Alan

    On Fri, May 23, 2014 at 3:54 PM, Occhio Lungo

  6. June 3, 2014 2:29 pm

    Hi Pete,
    Although I am on the other side of ‘The Big Pond’ I am interested to read about any newly published Motorcycle books. Please post a listing when available, and also any reviews of such books.
    Hope you enjoyed our recent ‘Pioneer Run’, and that you didn’t suffer any machine problems. I will have to look at my video, and see if you are on there.

  7. Bob Morrill permalink
    July 26, 2014 8:12 pm

    Just ordered my book. And Pete I would like to know more titles please.

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