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


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The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing: Long-Distance Motorcycling's Endless Road + The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 191 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (October 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039307904X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393079043
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #704,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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)

“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)

“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)

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. She lives in Shokan, New York.

More About the Author

Melissa Holbrook Pierson should have known she was destined to become a writer ever since she was a kid hiding in the branches of the maple tree, writing action-filled stories of escape and ignoring her mother's cries to come down out of there. She largely resisted the knowledge until after college, when she realized she was unlikely to become a professor of literature, an avant-garde film director, or an art critic. Her first "book" was a ghost-writing assignment about fashion and packing light for travel, although she had never done such a thing in her life.

When she discovered motorcycling in her mid-twenties, though, she realized she had a calling: writing about human passion. Her first book, in 1997, was The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles. The next, about women and horses, was Dark Horses and Black Beauties. This was followed by The Place You Love Is Gone: Progress Hits Home, her lament of rapacious overdevelopment.

And now, this coming October, she returns to the territory of her first book with The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing: Long-Distance Motorcycling's Endless Road, an exploration of obsessive riding by way of one of the most extreme practitioners of it, world-record-holder John Ryan. All her books have been published by the esteemed independent publisher W. W. Norton.

Customer Reviews

I highly recommend anyone who wishes to live fully read this book.
Writergal2
It is also impossible to explain to the average person, and even the average biker, why some of us riders like to ride Iron Butt rides, and participate in rallys.
eldouble
I'm glad I read this book but there are chapters in the book that you just want to skip.
Frank Villasenor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By eldouble on October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I rode submarines in the Navy, and it is impossible to explain to the public what we did when out to sea. There is way too much technology, process, and emotions involved to sum up to the regular Joe what its like spending months away from the real world. For that reason I recommend "Big Red" to read to friends and family. It is also impossible to explain to the average person, and even the average biker, why some of us riders like to ride Iron Butt rides, and participate in rallys. 1000 miles in one shot for a Saddle Sore 1000. Driving to 5-20 random places just to get a photo, and come back in a rally. Riding 300 miles to meet a few riders for lunch, then ride home. Why do we do it? For many riders, the motorcycle is just a talking point. For LD riders, the ride and the journey is the talking point. The only reason we talk about bikes is to razz the ones that break and keep us from riding more. I bought this book thinking it was a biography of John Ryan, which it is not. I was almost disappointed in that fact. But the more I read, the more I realized this book was a first hand look, and a second hand telling of two people's obsession with riding motorcycles. The author's re-introduction to riding and her introduction to the long distance riding community (cult) is right on par with my experiences. I felt she was telling my story. But she used her friend John Ryan as her focal point on what extreme long distance riding is and why we do it. I think her experiences are on par with many LD riders. And her emotional connection with riding and the riding community is right up there with many in the community. If you want to try and understand why we do what we do, this book my help. If you already understand what we do, then you will appreciate to story of someone else with the same twisted involvement in the distance riding community. This is now my go to book, for anyone who asks "Why did you do that?"
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Melissa Holbrook Pierson loved motorcycles and then didn't ride for 11 years. Ultra long distance rider John Ryan gets her back on a bike and the result is this book. It describes the Iron Butt Association the building of miles - 1,500 miles in 24 hours among other destinations traveled.
This would be a minor ride to John Ryan, who has traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Key West, 5,645 miles in 86 hours, and 31 minutes. Pierson describes long Iron Butt rides, the people who ride, and her motorcycle in almost a stream of conscious style. There is not much detail or even descriptive passages; but if you are not aware of this motorcycle culture, perhaps this will make you understand.
She describes the rules and requirements, the hazards, the toll on the mind and body that these rides can take. Contrary to what many might believe, Harleys are not the bike of choice for long distance rides

Who hasn't wanted to head off for the horizon, see how far you can go, have the wind in your hair and face. Only some will know and identify the feelings Pierson expresses.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jerome Garfunkel on November 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second book by Pierson that I've read. Her first book, The Perfect Vehicle, is one of mine and my wife's favorite books. No one "humanizes" the motorcycle and the motorcycle rider better than she. My wife and I took Pierson's book on a cross-country motorcycle ride and read portions to each other aloud each night. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James A Owen on January 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book really uncovers the depths of what it means to ride long distances and be part of a community that epitomizes the rugged individualist yet is so closely connected. Thank you Melissa for sharing John with us and his ways that many never knew. His star burned out way too soon.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Lesiak on October 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was given this book by a coworker and fellow motorcyclist. It was an excellent book about both John's and the author infatuation and love for motorcycles.
Unfortunately it seems that John Ryan has died:
[...]
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Adam Novitt on October 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The world of motorcycle books is dominated by cloying Harley Davison ephemera and, to a much lesser extent, the world of racing. Here is a book that takes close examination of the long distance riding community through one of its most extreme examples, John Ryan.

If you've ever wanted to do an Ironbut certification ride, are a member of the ADV forum or just wanted to take a really really long ride, pick up this book. Even more so, if you are an ironbut member or have taken a really, really long ride take up this book and take a look at the psychology and social structure that drives us to do these things.

The prose will be instantly familiar to anyone that's read, a Perfect Vehicle or other of Pierson's work. It is at one incisive and very reflective and personal. it's a quick read, but none the less a real examination of why motorcyclists ride.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey D. Kenyon on April 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book in fits and starts: some of the tales of riding (her own, and of John Ryan's) are captivating, but I think that the parts where she waxes philosophical could stand some tightening. Perhaps it's simply the book's wandering focus: stronger in the more journalistic areas describing the long distance riding community (and John Ryan's place in it, and her own participation), weaker in trying to convey why they do it.

But enough of this chat. My ride later this week from Colorado up to the Black Hills of South Dakota awaits. This was a great book to read to get in the mood to knock out some miles.
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