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The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles

The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles
Author: Melissa Holbrook Pierson
ISBN 13: 9780393318098
ISBN 10: 393318095
Edition: First Edition
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: 1998-05-17
Format: Paperback
Pages: 240
List Price: $18.95

"This book, a polished, winding meditation on the theory and fractiousness of motorcycles, celebrates both their eccentric history and the wary pleasures of touring."—The New Yorker

Publishers Weekly

People who ride motorcycles live in another world, where the line between life and death often is as blurred as the center line whizzing by beneath the foot pegs. "On a bike," Pierson writes in her first book, "I am hurtling toward what I imagine is a fearful future, but I am using a fearless means to do so. It's odd as hell." Odd, too, is this book. But that's what makes it a precious piece of literature, an ode to a way of life dismissed by most worthwhile writers. Pierson's cultured yet personable and honest style will hook both enthusiasts and readers who've never even sat on a motorcyclelet alone know the difference between a Honda CBR and a Honda CRX. Pierson, a longtime Moto Guzzi rider, weaves autobiography, travelogue, motorcycling history and social commentary with delicious descriptions of the pre-ride ritual, cruising in the rain, the camaraderie of female riders (her husband, the writer Luc Sante, does not ride) and the significance of a wrong turn that leads to a cemetery at the end of a deserted cul-de-sac. The author has stared death in the face more than once, and she understands why medical professionals call her preferred means of transportation a "donorcycle." Butlike so many of America's seven million or so riders she just can't seem to permanently park that mystical machine. After reading this book, you'll know why. Photos. (Apr.)