Colin Turbett

Social History, Social Work, Bikes …. and Socialism

Bikes and Me.......

I started with bikes in my mid teens in 1969-70 and over the next few years owned a succession of worn out very cheap British bikes: BSA C15 and C12, Panther 350 (4 stroke) and 600, Velo 500 Venom, AJS 350 until moving to Scotland in 1973. A year or so later I got a Sunbeam 500 from Lloyds of Hamilton and had a few good years on this until letting it go (in pieces) about 1978. Eleven bikeless years followed until continuous bike ownership started again in 1989 (a BSA Gold Flash 650cc). I've since got through many more "classics" and started on "modern bikes" with a 1969 Honda CB450 in 1995 or so. Several bikes later I currently have a KTM Duke 690 and a Dnepr 650 that is yet to get on the road. I also have other bits and pieces that may come together some day. All my bikes (apart from the very modern ones) have involved restoration as well as maintainence. I was and remain a rank amateur when it comes to restoration - but I enjoy it and will try most tasks. Writings in this area (including the USSR Motorcycles one discussed on another page) have come about because I was interested in subjects for which reading did not exist in the way I wanted - so I tried to fill the gaps....

16 and Daft.....

Olga Kevelos - "Playing With the Boys"

Olga in 1954

Playing With The Boys, Olga's biography was published in 2017 - the result of a year or two of research and interview. I wrote the book because such a fascinating and full life needed some kind of record. I can only hope I did it justice. Anyway, of a small print run of 250, none are left (April 2020) and reviews were all favourable. A few regrets: the format A4 landscape, was not the best; self publishing proved difficult due to marketing issues - advertising costs are prohibitive! I have also learned more about Olga since the publication - mostly through conversations at the Classic Dirt Bike Show in Telford which I attended to sell the book in 2018 and 2019. A number of errors have also been pointed out which I would love to see corrected in a revised edition. Alas - this seems unlikely - Olga's life is regarded as too niche by the publishers I have approached. So it is what it is................ and now sold out.......

For the record Olga's life was something of a 20th Century journey: middle class Birmingham girl who enjoyed a comfortable and rather bohemian upbringing; teenage fascination with Errol Flynn and pirates; wartime service on the Grand Union Canal; post-war introduction to motorcycling and success in competition in the late 1940s and 1950s; pub licencee and Mastermind contestant. Olga also had a healthy sexual appetite and conquered many of the men in the sport in her day - including a few well known characters. Whilst no feminist she was fiercely independant and used to getting her own way. All in all an interesting character!