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Here are the pleasures and perils of compulsive long-distance motorcycling—and one man's mission to outride everyone else.
For the 50,000 members of the Iron Butt Association—also known as the "World's Toughest Motorcyclists"—long-distance motorcycling is not a pastime but an obsession. These men and women push the limits of human endurance, often in rides of more than one thousand miles a day. Perhaps the most determined of them is John Ryan, a diabetic and a man who even in late middle age loves nothing better than riding impossible distances at no small risk to himself. But why? Melissa Holbrook Pierson, herself a longtime motorcyclist, chronicles the gratifications of long-distance riding as well as the challenges and solitude that accompany it. In seeking to understand why people strive so mightily to reach a goal with no reward other than having gotten there, Pierson gives us an intimate glimpse of a singularly independent yet supportive community and a revealing portrait of its most daring member.
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.
Starred Review. Pierson’s marvelously engaging account of her resumption of long-distance motorcycling after years of hiatus proves pure pleasure for the aficionado…. Her stately, lyrical prose, profound respect for the machinery, and sympathy for the extreme adventurers will transport even the most unlikely readers.
— Publishers Weekly
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 - BMW ON Magazine
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.
— Susan Richards, author of the bestselling Chosen by a Horse