The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles

The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles

by Melissa Holbrook Pierson
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Overview

The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles by Melissa Holbrook Pierson

"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
In a book that is "a must for anyone who has loved a motorcycle" (Oliver Sacks), Melissa Pierson captures in vivid, writerly prose the mysterious attractions of motorcycling. She sifts through myth and hyperbole: misrepresentations about danger, about the type of people who ride and why they do so. The Perfect Vehicle is not a mere recitation of facts, nor is it a polemic or apologia. Its vivid historical accounts-the beginnings of the machine, the often hidden tradition of women who ride, the tale of the defiant ones who taunt death on the racetrack-are intertwined with Pierson's own story, which, in itself, shows that although you may think you know what kind of person rides a motorcycle, you probably don't.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393318098
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/17/1998
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 563,793
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About 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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Perfect Vehicle: What It Is about Motorcycles 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an ode to the charms of riding a motorcycle. If you call them "donorcycles" you will still enjoy this view of the passion and soul of a literate and expressive writer's experience riding the open road. A friend recommended this book, and at first glance, I thought it was too florid, too emotional, too over-the-top. I revisited the free preview, bought the full version, and finished it in a marathon read: Pierson will sneak up on you. Her passion's there for all to see, and she's not shy about literary references, but it all works together so well. If this has made you curious, but you've got doubts, do NOT start with a read of the foreword. It is a first-person story, rich in detail and sensations, and really amazing. (The part about seeing your lover riding alongside--so close, and yet so very far--is what I remember every time I ride with M.) I make this suggestion--skipping the foreward as a preview--because it's quite different from the rest of the book, and a real pleasure to come to AFTER reading the rest. For you who might prefer a little emotional distance to get into this book, pick a later chapter to help your decision. For you who've sensed the intense emotions that motivate someone like me to put on 10+ pounds of armored nylon at 95 degrees, just for a commute home, then launch right into the foreword, and drink deeply. This is a great read, if you're bike curious, you'll be motivated to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course and know once and for all if you want to ride. If you're utterly against all things motor+cycle, this book will give you an entertaining insight into how rational people can do something you think is crazy. And if you're already a 100k+ rider for decades, this book'll have you smiling and thanking Pierson for her style and skill. One final Post Script to those who think we-who-ride are crazy: Pierson wrote a fabulous piece in the MoMA book on their motorcycle exhibit. She focused on the concept of "eustress" which is the exact opposite of distress. You might want to read wikipedia's entry on that word, it explains a lot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Any time wasted on reading this pathetic, whining schmaltz is time you'll never get back. Being a rider of 25 years, I was hoping to find insight into a person's, particularly a woman's, reason for riding, but all I got was a poor little spoiled rich girl's wailing about Mummy not understanding her desire to ride and being dumped by various guys. Every single description in the book is way too flowery, dawdling and plodding - to the point I actually threw the book across the room out of frustration. Three pages to describe some insignificant, forgettable point! MHP, just get to the point already! Geez! I finished the book, but it was the single most painful read of my life. I literally burned the book in my driveway. Garbage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A wonderful piece of literature. From how to where to why, she covers it all with a unique style and perspective. I can't read this book without getting a deep itch to get out and ride! I've given away several copies as gifts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pearson made me think about, and understand, why I ride. Her love of motorcycling shines on every page. This book is also a homage to Moto Guzzi. That passion itself is part of motorcyling's mystique and - each to our own brand - part of why we ride. The first page delivers a biker's preparation to ride in fascinating detail and left me a dilemma: turn the page or reach for my bike's keys...the book won
Guest More than 1 year ago
Worth reading for the first half--full of clever allusions and parallels that you don't have to be a Classics major to appreciate. Gets a little chick-ish in the latter half--a very fearful woman is our authoress. Barring her European adventure, the last half of the book we are tag-teamed by her fears and a Cycle-World-esque advertisement for Moto Guzzi. The best book I've read about motorcycling, but sadly the biggest fish in a small pond (better make that parking-lot puddle.)
Guest More than 1 year ago
My love of motorcycles goes back thirty-eight years, so this is a biased review. I opened 'Perfect Vehicle' with low expectations, expecting fluff. I found instead a life as affected as mine by street-legal two-wheeled g-force generators, and by 'the long ride.' Pierson writes beautifully of her intense times in the saddles of her Guzzis, but more importantly of the human interactions surrounding those times. Thanks for a good read, MHP, and if you happen to read this review, I've a first-edition copy that needs your autograph.