"From my mother I learned to write prompt thank-you notes for a variety of occasions," Melissa Holbrook Pierson writes. "From Mrs. King's ballroom dancing school I learned a proper curtsy and, believe it or not, what to do if presented with nine eating utensils at the same place setting.... From motorcycles I learned practically everything else." Pierson, an intellectual New Yorker, is open to her own contradictions--she is bold and fearful, a motorcycle-crazed poet with a Ph.D., and these seeming incompatibilities are what make this book so good. She can write equally well about the visceral pleasures of riding and about the pains of heartbreak or her own displeasure with her fears.
This is the motorcycle memoir for those who are sick of memoirs--or motorcycles. It is a book for people who don't know what the big deal is about riding, or why the Guggenheim Museum in New York, in a swirl of controversy, would exhibit motorcycles as works of modern art. "Riding on a motorcycle can make you feel joyous, powerful, peaceful, frightened, vulnerable, and back out to happy again," Pierson writes, "perhaps in the same ten miles. It is life compressed, its own answer to the question, 'Why?'" --Maria Dolan
It's too bad that people with little interest in motorcycles will generally not be the ones picking up this book to read. Although motorcycle diehards will find their convictions confirmed here, motorcycle know-nothings perhaps could benefit the most from its unabashed pages, gaining the inspiration to try their hand at motorcycling down the open road. The author's 10-year love affair with motorcycles informs this extended homage to the thrills and chills of this exciting vehicle. Only 7 million Americans ride, Pierson cites; but they are a dedicated few, who seek no greater pleasure than being ensconced on a motorcycle, head down, wind roaring in their ears, "the road, constantly turning, constantly offer[ing] up the possibility of something unexpected around the bend." The author appreciates its dangers, but she hopes her reader appreciates the feeling of freedom that time spent on a motorcycle can provide. Discussions of motorcycle history and racing round out this buoyant book. Brad Hooper
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.