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Big Sid's Vincati: The Story of a Father, a Son, and the Motorcycle of a Lifetime Hardcover – April 30, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Hudson Street Press; First Edition edition (April 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594630534
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594630538
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,142,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"If you believe it is possible to fall in love with a motorcycle, you will love this book. It's a guy's romance novel with mystery, adventure, and real passion."
-Jay Leno

"I don't think you need to be a motorcycle enthusiast to lose yourself in this book. It is an open- handed classic about living and love, with a heart as big as a Vincent V-twin engine."
-Mark Knopfler, musician and former Dire Straits frontman

"First of all, while this is a book chock full of interesting mechanical wizardry and a tribute to a true legend in motorcycling, calling it simply a "motorcycle book" is a bit like calling Field of Dreams simply a "baseball movie." Because in this remarkable tome, father and son learn a lot about life and each other while creating a dream come true motorcycle."
-Greg Harrison, Antique Motorcycle, www.antiquemotorcycle.org

"Every motorcycle has a story. The Vincati is an extraordinary one and Big Sid's Vincati seals its place in motorcycle history."
-George Barber, The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum

"A heartfelt and beautifully written story of a family and the meaning of motorcycles in their lives--and the meaning of one particular bike that brings a father and son back together during difficult times. The enthusiasm is dangerously contagious; it'll make you want to go right out to the garage and restore your own bike--or build one."
-Peter Egan, journalist and columnist for Road & Track and Cycle World

"Motorcycles are many things. Obsession; thrill; the church at which a certain tribe worships. But did you know they are a solace, too? In joining two of the greatest machines ever conceived, Matthew Biberman and his father made something greater than any single bike: a transcendent story about machines that is really about love."
-Melissa Holbrook Pierson, author of The Perfect Vehicle

"If you can come away from this book--this opportunity to see up close what Sid Biberman and his son are made of, without a new respect for how a piece of machinery can come to life and take along with it the lives of a family, you didn't pay close enough attention. A beautiful story."
-John Healy, editor, Vintage Bike magazine

"The average American male spends half a lifetime making peace with his father. Big Sid's Vincati describes how a quest to reconstruct one mythic motorcycle can wildly accelerate that process. A rewarding read for anyone who's ever loved a man, or a motorcycle."
-Aaron Frank,editor-at-large, Motorcyclist magazine

"There are precious few well written motorcycle books; this is one of them. It's the human stories behind each machine that make them fascinating. This is a great tale that will resonate especially with people like me, whose love of motorcycles was sparked by family."
-Hugo Wilson, Editor, Classic Bike

"A splendid motorcycle tale about unlikely things coming together: an imperfect past with an uncertain future, a professor of Shakespeare with a mythic speed-tuner, and a stylish Euro-bike with the most iconic motorcycle in the world."
-Fred Haefele, author of Rebuilding the Indian

"There are few times when a man has a passion for a machine like Sid Biberman has for Vincents. What makes Big Sid's Vincati especially beautiful is that in this case, the son has taken the time to write down that love in words for others to appreciate."
-Denis Manning, BUB Enterprises

"By no means just for bike nuts, this is an absorbing and often poignant story. Matthew Biberman paints a sensitive and touching picture of his father Big Sid, a man with a remarkable empathy for quirky machines."
-Mick Duckworth, journalist and author of TT100 and Ace Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

MATTHEW BIBERMAN teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Louisville. He also works on Vincent motorcycles in his garage with his father, “Big Sid” Biberman.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
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13%
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See all 38 customer reviews
I really intended it to be a book for my husband, although I knew I'd need to read it as well.
Novel Bookworm
It really is a heartwarming tale of a son and father bonding over a unique motorcycle project and figuring out their places in relationships and the world.
Nathaniel R. Mccord
Sid and Matthew Biberman's life stories started as being very different and ended up in many ways, being very similar.
Eugene F. Espinosa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Novel Bookworm on May 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In 2005, while surfing the `net, I stumbled upon an upcoming movie called, The World's Fastest Indian. I mentioned the movie to my husband, an inveterate motorcyclist, and suggested we see it. This was intended to be one of those Grand Gestures, one of those things wives do to be nice, not because we actually want to do the thing. So much for Karmic Brownie Points...The World's Fastest Indian is one of my all time favorite movies.

With the same intentions, after reading about Big Sid's Vincati, I managed to snag an early copy for myself. I really intended it to be a book for my husband, although I knew I'd need to read it as well. Once again, I thought I was doing something nice for my husband. And once again, so much for Karmic Brownie Points...

Big Sid's Vincati, The Story of a Father, a Son, and the Motorcycle of a Lifetime is the story of a renowned motorcycle mechanic and his son. Big Sid suffers a heart attack, and like many heart patients, loses his interest in life. His son, Matthew, impulsively suggest they build a motorcycle together. A hybrid, made up of an old Vincent and a Ducati. Vincent motorcycles were produced in Britain from 1928 to 1955. For decades Big Sid was THE guy to see for anything Vincent in the United States. Matthew had taken an entirely different path in life and is a Shakespearean professor.

Authenticity is added to the story by the author as he explores the younger years of Big Sid. He is unsparing in the descriptions of Sid's father, the conflicts of Sid's life and how these shaped his own life. While ostensibly the story of motorcycles, the book speaks more to the relationships between fathers and sons. At times it was as if I was reading about my own husband and his father. Through it all runs the thread of the rides.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Eugene F. Espinosa on June 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Art Carey, a superb writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer once wrote:

"Part of the attraction (of men to cars and motorcycles) is beauty. It's a form of art appreciation. For many men, a car (or a motorcycle) is sculpture on wheels. On a deeper level, the thing is not the thing. The object - in this case, a car (or a motorcycle) - is really a pretext, a symbol, a medium. It's a token of romance, an instrument of nostalgia, reminding men of an earlier era, of youth, first loves, fathers and friends. It's a bulwark against the passage of time, the inevitability of loss"

Big Sid's Vincati is a story of how a father and a son created an object, a motorcycle, that helped them overcome an estranged relationship. In the process of creating a special motorcycle (a Vincati), Matthew and Sid Biberman transformed their relationship with each other. The Biberman's Vincati is their bulwark against the passage of time and the inevitability of loss.

This story is about how two men created a motorcycle that will stand as a symbol of love and healing between father and son. This is a story of how a thing (a motorcycle) is much more than a thing.

Sid and Matthew Biberman's life stories started as being very different and ended up in many ways, being very similar. First it is important to know about Sid Biberman.

Sid Biberman is known as Big Sid because he was a 6 feet 5 inch hulk for most of his life. Big Sid had a very difficult childhood, and an abusive father. Big Sid was unable to attend college and had to work very hard a good portion of his early adulthood as butcher under his father's iron will. Sid had to work hard overcome the emotional abuse he received from his father.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Atlanta Reader on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I've ridden a few, but I've never owned a motorcycle. And I've certainly never worked on one. But I do have a father and I have spent a lifetime working on that relationship. And now I am one as well. And I think that's what this book is about: a father and son who are thrown back together out of necessity, and who learn to appreciate each other. The author is unsparingly candid about some of the most intimate moments in the most important relationships in his family. I think the honesty would resonate with anyone who has tried to understand his own father or tried to be a good one himself.

For the technically inclined, there are detailed specs in the back, but I found that most of the "tech speak" in the heart of the book served more as a frame that gave the story structure. Not to take away from its authenticity, I just wouldn't want those of us who aren't gear heads to think this isn't a book for us. It truly is a book for anyone who has or is a father.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Saunders on June 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I should say upfront that I am not all that interested in motorcycles. I've only ever ridden once or twice in my life, as a passenger. However, I am interested in the ways in which people invest particular objects - stamps, dolls, comic books, old vinyl albums, motor vehicles - with mythical significance, as a way of making sense of their lives, and of coping with its struggles and disappointments. Biberman has a deep understanding of this psychological process, and has written a remarkable memoir that can be enjoyed by motorcycle enthusiasts and neophytes alike. The bike in this honest and moving book is a lot more than a slick mode of transportation. It is more even than the source of a rekindled relationship between a father and son. Big Sid's Vincati symbolizes the creative urge, the desire to make a mark in the world, to be something more than merely ordinary. Highly recommended.
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More About the Author

A professor of English at the University of Louisville, Matthew Biberman is the author of the memoir Big Sid's Vincati and the study Masculinity, Anti-Semitism and Early Modern English Literature. WIth Julia Lupton and Douglas Brooks, he is the editor of the essay collection Shakespeare After 9/11. With Sid Biberman, he is the author of Vincents with Big Sid. He splits his time between Louisville and Bratislava.

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