Reading Speed

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Posted in Journalism by readingspeed on April 7, 2009

Kevin Cameron

Motorbooks ISBN 0-7603-2727-0

Being a motorcycle journalist is rather like being a podiatrist. You have the trappings of the profession, even a measure of respect but ultimately you are not doing the journalistic equivalent of a corneal transplant you’re just shaving bunions. There are a few honourable exceptions to this generalisation and Kevin Cameron is the prime and luminous example.

He has written for Cycle World magazine for over a quarter of a century. His offerings started on the subject of racing, slowly transformed into a regular column on technical matters before eventually becoming a more general yet profound meditation on the nature of motorcycles and our emotional relationship to them. This book is a collection of Cameron’s best work grouped into loose themes.

The writing is uniformly strong throughout the book and I feel it would be a disservice to identify any particular section as stronger than the other but I particularly enjoyed his descriptions of life as a mechanic in the dying days of AMA two stroke racing in the 70s. Not only are the technical minutiae of preparing a KR750 for a race present in immaculate detail but the quiet desperation of budget constrained privateer racing is recorded with an authentic fidelity never seen in any other book.

Cameron is an excellent writer who, had he chosen a different obsession in life, could have scaled the heights in any other journalistic specialty. He not only has an outstanding gift for articulating technical matters in a precise style but also excels at communicating the intangible and abstract facets of the motorcycling experience.

RS Rating: 10/10