The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing: Long-Distance Motorcycling's Endless Road by Melissa Holbrook Pierson | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing: Long-Distance Motorcycling's Endless Road

The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing: Long-Distance Motorcycling's Endless Road

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by Melissa Holbrook Pierson
     
 

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“Pierson is an even better writer than she is a rider.”—Boston Globe
“World’s Toughest Motorcycle Riders”—long-distance motorcycling is not a pastime but an obsession. In this candid, eloquent, sharply observed book, Melissa Holbrook Pierson introduces us to this strange endeavor and the men and women who live to ride

Overview

“Pierson is an even better writer than she is a rider.”—Boston Globe
“World’s Toughest Motorcycle Riders”—long-distance motorcycling is not a pastime but an obsession. In this candid, eloquent, sharply observed book, Melissa Holbrook Pierson introduces us to this strange endeavor and the men and women who live to ride impossibly long distances, eating up road, almost without cease. And who find it nothing but fun.
Perhaps the most determined of them is John Ryan, a magnetic, enigmatic man who loves nothing better than breaking records of amazing distance—at no small risk to himself and his health. But why? Pierson, who rediscovered the joys of motorcycling in the midst of a personal crisis, puts on her helmet and joins Ryan in his element in order to understand his singular desire and discipline, his passion and his obsession.The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing offers an intimate glimpse of an unusually independent yet supportive community as well as a revealing, unforgettable portrait of its most daring member. In electric, pitch-perfect prose, Pierson gives us rare insights into not only a subculture but also the deeply human craving for something more that drives it.

Editorial Reviews

Bikeland
“Good motorcycle books don’t come along often enough. Books that take you to motorcycle netherworlds and make you look differently at life are even more rare.”
Victor Cruz - BMW ON Magazine
“Written in beautifully expressed prose, The Man offers by the bucket-load brilliant insights into what drives and motivates motorcyclists of all stripes…. Pierson does a wonderful job at getting to the heart, the principles that define the joy of motorcycling…. An absorbing, sanguine story that will be talked about for years to come, if not forever.”
Albany Times Union
“[The book’s] deeper concern is with reinventing the self at midlife . . . and the way that an avocation—even one that seems incomprehensible to outsiders—can give life meaning.”
Susan Richards
“Eloquent and probing, Pierson brings us back to the future with the reawakening of her love for motorcycles. Her riding days long dormant, Pierson credits meeting and befriending the charismatic distance rider, John Ryan with guiding her back to bikes and in the process, reminding her of who she is and what makes her sing. A beautiful story of passion and reclamation for anyone who has ever lost the way.”
Publishers Weekly
Pierson's (The Perfect Vehicle) marvelously engaging account of her resumption of long-distance motorcycling after years of hiatus proves pure pleasure for the aficionado. A divorce (from writer Luc Sante), along with persistent goading by a new acquaintance, a revered member of the elite Iron Butt Association (IBA), John Ryan, prompted this 50-something former rider to consider getting back on the bike,. Ryan sponsored Pierson's initiation— the grueling SaddleSore, a 1,000-mile journey from Erie, Pa., to Spartanburg, S.C., in under 24 hours. He acted as her "portable witness,” showing her the ropes, such as refueling in four-minutes tops and eating while "on the slab.” Pierson infiltrates this select, loyal group of long-distance riders, like those determined numbers who join the periodic Iron Butt Rally, the 11-day, 11,000-mile trek that crisscrosses the American continent (including Alaska), and during which the riders gain bonus points the more remote their GPS tracking. Long-distance trips are punishing ("this near to hellfire”), requiring superhuman reserves of self-discipline, stamina, and sleep deprivation, and Pierson continually marvels at why people like Ryan do it. Her stately, lyrical prose, profound respect for the machinery, and sympathy for the extreme adventurers will transport even the most unlikely readers. (Oct.)
BMW ON Magazine
Written in beautifully expressed prose, The Man offers by the bucket-load brilliant insights into what drives and motivates motorcyclists of all stripes…. Pierson does a wonderful job at getting to the heart, the principles that define the joy of motorcycling…. An absorbing, sanguine story that will be talked about for years to come, if not forever.— Victor Cruz
Kirkus Reviews
In an odd, misguided combination of marriage memoir and stunt journalism, motorcycle enthusiast Pierson (The Place You Love Is Gone: Progress Hits Home, 2006, etc.) follows two narrative threads--the road to and from her divorce and story of an obsessive long-distance-riding group called the Iron Butt Association--on a journey to...nowhere. While it's a sad tale, the reporting of the author's crumbling relationship is well-worn territory. As for the Iron Butts, the center of that thread is John Ryan, the most obsessive of the obsessive, a man who would choose his motorcycle over anything. Though Ryan is a colorful character, as a subject he's worthy of a magazine article rather than an entire book--much of his story feels like filler. As the story jumps back and forth between anecdotes that don't quite connect, the author struggles to give the narrative context, but the book ultimately feels as if it has no anchor. Eventually, the author resorts to explaining the purported purpose of the book: "I realize, with a start, what this book is about: Death. Not motorcycling, but death. Or, rather, motorcycles as life force and death force at once: the game played so we can safely approach the end, in which one side is squashed by the other." Unfortunately, Pierson fails to meet her lofty goal; the book doesn't adequately mine such Big Themes. While journalists such as A.J. Jacobs and Stefan Fatsis have managed to make their off-kilter passions at once charming and compelling by utilizing humor and heart, Pierson's self-indulgence and pretention make it difficult to join her on this literal and figurative journey. A lack of focus, an often-cold tone and the less-than-exciting parallel narratives make this slight road memoir a sleepy ride.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393344127
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
11/19/2012
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
1,107,399
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Melissa Holbrook Pierson is the author of The Perfect Vehicle, The Place You Love Is Gone, Dark Horses and Black Beauties, and The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing and The Secret History of Kindness. She lives in Shokan, New York.

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The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing: Long-Distance Motorcycling's Endless Road 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As one of the sub-culture Ms. Pierson write about I very happy that she is riding again and writing about it. If you love motorcycling of any type you wll enjoy the book immensely. If you are one of those that really feel only those eccentrics, or fringe elements, or folks with a death wish would ever chose to ride a motorcycle you will find this a challenging, difficult read. But, for all of us who find them to be "the perfect vehicle", this will be a more in depth look at riding, and riding what must seem incredible distances. I fall into that category that rides cross country vast distances. She nearly perfectly writes of the joys and self realizations that are the major part of why we undertake these journeys. My hope is she writes at leasr one more volume. One would speak to and about those of us aho have engaged in any of the many forms of motorcycle racing. Then another about the obsessive complusion to find and restore to perfect condition those motorcycles that are 50, 60, 70. And even older. Keep riding Melissa and keep writing, two things you do exceptionally well. Tom David, at 71, I fall into all three sub sets, LDR, racer, and "old bike nut"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book for my son as he owns 2 motorcycle and has driven cross country. He thought the book really gave a realistic view of life on the road. While reading ( only took him 2 days) he would laugh and then share that part with me. He has suggested I read the book so I would understand how he feels about motorcycles.