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The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing: Long-Distance Motorcycling's Endless Road Hardcover – October 3, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

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)

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition, 1st Printing edition (October 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039307904X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393079043
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,355,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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By Jerome 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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read Pierson's first book a couple years ago, and Endless Road is as well written and colorful as The Perfect Vehicle, I was about 3/4 thru this before I learned that John Ryan had died in a motorcycle accident a couple years after this book was published. This fact made reading the last part even more engaging - getting deeper into the person Ryan is, his strength brought down by a physical weakness. I have a couple people in my circle who are long distance riders, another who lost his life at a young age during a rally, and another one of the most incredible men I've met - Terri Hammond, who was the host if the Moonshine Lunch Run--a ride that attracted the LD community for a weekend of festivities in a tiny town in Southern IL. Passenger pegs down for those whom we've lost, and thanks for sharing this incredible story of a man you knew for such a short time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's very hard for me to write this, because I'm still not over the fact that John Ryan isn't on the Earth anymore. But, Melissa's book is excellent. For someone, who had little interest in the motorcycle world, it is quite a testament to Melissa's writing that I have read the book twice. I identified with Melissa's story. We both have sons and at the time of the first reading I was separated from my husband, she was recovering from a divorce. We are close in age. I understood her fears.

The second time I read the book, I was grieving John's death and feeling such regret that we had never met.
I guess, I'd say the book has a lot to do with grief, and life and of course motorcycles, but that is a metaphor. I saw what I needed to see each time I read it. Thank you, Melissa, for writing such a beautiful book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a motorcycle rider and writer, and one who writes and publishes articles about riding, Pierson is inspiring and intimidating to me. Her first book, "The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles," is one I read, re-read and continually recommended to my riding (and non-rider) friends. When I saw this, I ordered it immediately and read it the weekend it arrived. There is a lot to like and recommend in this book but to me her descriptions of people, things, weather and just about anything are so incredibly well crafted, it is like you could put them to music. Simply amazing. If riding motorcycles has touched you at all, you should read this book.
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