Review from South Oz

The September 2008 edition of ‘Centrestand’, a publication of the Motorcycle Riders Association in South Australia, contained the following book review by Harald Lindemann.

Centrestand book reviewGreg Hirst has been a significant figure in Australian motorcycle politics for a long time, his work with the NSW Motorcycle Council over the years is probably where most of us know him best, but other aspects of his life are just as significant.

He has now written his story, a mixture of personal and political, but mainly a no bullshit story about biking in all of its aspects and shows how the strength of an individual can make a difference.

It is however, mostly a personal story. Greg presents us with his life which is centered around a passion for riding. He surrounds his other passions – his family, his commitment to a fair go for motorcyclists, his compassion for the down and out and his Christian faith with his motorcycling experiences, none of them incompatible with any of the others.

As a biker I identified with a lot of what he relates about the motorcycling lifestyle; the bikes, the rides, the characters, the camaraderie, the generosity, the acceptance that is found within motorcycling circles. The book is full of stories that illustrate this. Sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, sometimes heartbreaking, but always close to home, and like most bikers he occasionally repeats an anecdote. He has also come up with a few original aphorisms. My favourite when talking about bike reliability or the weather is, “Wishful thinking is a common trait amongst bikers.”

His life has been one of extraordinary energy and activity and this especially comes out when he talks about his work with the homeless and the people, both famous and unsung, who helped him along the way. This is a trip down memory lane, remembering the important times, both good and bad and like at all campfire meetings the life story comes out in bits and pieces leaving it up to the reader to connect the dots.

I expected the book to provide more of an insight, from a particular viewpoint, into the development of motorcycle politics in Australia, but so much of what could have been gets diverted by the personal story. I guess for that we will have to wait until people like Damien Codognotto and Peter Mount decide to weigh in and tell their stories.

If you want a copy check out his website at ‘.