The Rugged Road -
by Theresa Wallach
Dimensions (in cm): 24x16x13
150 pages, B&W Photos and Illustrations
Panther Publishing (UK) for £16.00; or with VHS Video £28.00 and with
NTSC Video £32.45.
webBikeWorld.com Book Review by Lori B.
I'll have to agree with the summary of this book printed on the back cover:
"this is quite simply the most amazing motorcycle journey ever told and a
revelation to today's traveler".
I have no idea in the world why this book isn't
better known, not only in the world of motorcycles but with adventure lovers
Talk about adventure! Think about the guts, skill, bravery and
determination it took for two women to ride an early 1930's, 600cc Panther
motorcycle with a custom-fitted sidecar and a trailer through the entire
length of Africa -- in 1934!
And they didn't take the straightest route, either. They went from
Algiers, through the desert, to Kano, Nigeria, then east to Kampal in
Uganda, to Nairobi, then down to Victoria Falls, Pretoria and on down to
Sound exciting? Well how about this -- they did it without GPS (of
course), telephones, a sextant or even a compass! For 7,500 miles!
Motorcyclist or not, The Rugged Road is a must read. Theresa Wallach
must be one of the least-known but most influential motorcyclists ever.
Born in England, she came to America in 1947 and imported motorcycles and
taught motorcycle safety. She was one of only three women to have
lapped the old Brooklands circuit at over 100 MPH. She also held
a degree in engineering and worked as a dispatch rider and engineer in World
Wallach was a female pioneer to be sure; much like Fay Taylour, a heroine of
another type, as we discovered in our review of what could be considered as
a companion book to this one, Fay
Taylor: Queen of Speedway, another Panther Publications book that has
been brought to life from obscurity for our reading pleasure.
Her parents were aghast at her love of motorcycles and only discovered that
Wallach actually owned one when she became tired of hiding it and finally
parked it in the garden for all to see. The Africa trip was decided on
a lark, when Wallach's friend Florence Blenkiron was trying to figure out
how to get to South Africa in 1934.
This was during the era of a colonial Africa that was much different than
today. And it wasn't much earlier that most people thought only a
camel was suitable for crossing the northern African deserts. It
wasn't until just 1933 that a car was used to access these areas. The
motorcycle trip was to be the very first time for a two-wheeled vehicle to
travel the entire length of the continent.
This book was almost not to be -- Wallach was in her late 80's when she
started the final manuscript, and she died at age 90 before the book was
sent to a publisher. Great thanks goes to Barry M. Jones, whose hard
work put together all the missing pieces for the final version.
There's actually a companion video for the book; I haven't seen it but it's
a 35 minute silent film taken directly from 16mm movies shot by Theresa
Wallach during the adventure.
This is certainly one of the most interesting historical motorcycle books
any of us have seen at webBikeWorld. It's available at Motorsport
Publications in the U.S.A. for $29.95, which is a bargain because I've seen
original editions listed for as much as $145.00 in antique bookstores.
This is a great story that I bet not many motorcyclists are aware of, and
it's highly recommended!
The wBW Rare
Motorcycle Book Review Series:
Grace and Grit: Motorcycle Dispatches From Early Twentieth Century Women |
Triumph Bonneville: Portrait of a Legend |
60 Years of MotoGP |
Hold ON! by
Stan Dibben |
Classic Motorcycling: A Guide for the 21st Century |
Road by Theresa Wallach |
Exotic Motorcycles by Vic
- Queen of Speedway | Fifteen
Times by Giacomo Agostini |
Racing Motorcycles, Famous Racing Motorcycles and Built for Speed by John Griffith
Great Motorcycle Legends by Richard Renstrom |
by L.J.K. Setright |
of the 1930's |
Tuning for Speed by Phil Irving
Racers by Mike Clay |
for Speed by Phil Irving |
World Champion Road Racer | More wBW
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