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

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  42 ratings  ·  18 reviews
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
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ebook, 208 pages
Published October 3rd 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Richard
Feb 21, 2012 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle-aged folks, motorcyclists
Recommended to Richard by: My mother, oddly enough
Another brief review notes that Pierson’s book is somewhat disjointed. There at least three books here, and she only really does limited justice to one.

The book is ostensibly about obsessive long-distance motorcycle riding. Not touring, per se, but the “sport” that involves extreme endurance — the ability to pilot a motorcycle despite sleep deprivation. Even in the most obscure competitive passions, there will be an elite, and the focal point of the story is one of them: John Ryan. What he does
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Alex
Pierson writes really well about motorcycles. And this was a fascinating take on long-distance motorcycling. Pertinent too, in that I'm planning my own trip. She writes soulfully about riding, which makes a lot of sense to people who ride, but I'm guessing this book would only interest a small niche. She contrasts her own return to riding (she gave it up for a decade) with the story of John Ryan - one of the giants of long-distance motorcycling, and one of the primary reasons she got back into b ...more
Bern J
For motorcyclists the summer of 2009 was unusual. In addition to John Ryan's epic ride from the Prudhoe Bay, AK to Key West, FL in record breaking time, BMWMOA (BMW Motorcycle Owners of America) and BMWRA (BMW Riders Association International)held their annual rallies on consecutive weekends and only a few hundred miles apart. The MOA rally was held in Johnson City, TN followed by the RA rally in Canaan Valley ,WV. Coupled with a week long rolling rally connecting the MOA & RA rallies, few d ...more
Rich
"...and I find a line by Helen Keller: 'Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.' How about the danger to my son of living with a perennially pale, soppy mother? Better to have an animated one joyous for a brief while than to be saddled with the weight of an unhappy presence in the house for extended years." -174

"My body clock, after years of regimented risings in advance of my child's school-bus arrival, was set to get irre
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Matt
Wow. Ever want to ride 1000 miles in 24 hours? How about Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Key West, Florida. 5200 miles in 96 hours! I had no idea such things were possible. This a great story not only about John Ryan, long distance rider by nature, but also about the author, who, after a long absence from riding, realizes that motorcycling made her a better person.
Stacy Bearse
Inspirational parts. But I found the main character to be churlish and immature, which distracts from the narrative.
Keith
A bit scattered, as if she had two books in mind, neither of which was fully baked.
Jack
I bought this book because John Ryan, the subject of the book, recently passed away due to a motorcycle accident. (At least he went out doing what he was very passionate about.) I had never heard of him, even though I ride motorcycles, BMW's at that and had even attended the same rally in TN that he did and is mentioned in the book. Long Distance riding interests very much, but although I have some long days on a bike, I could never hold a candle to Mr. Ryan's accomplishments or his Iron Butt br ...more
Mark
It may seem that this book has a limited audience, but I think many readers, even those that do not ride motorcycles, can find interest and even inspiration it this book. The author is a middle-aged woman who returns to motorcycling after a lengthy period away from bikes and a recent divorce. Throughout the course of the book she describes her reunion with riding and the community that goes with it. Woven through her personal narrative is her friendship with John Ryan, king of the long distance, ...more
Hunter Marston
Felt like a cheap thriller and feel-good book from the self-help section and in the tradition of Zen & the art of... But it was eminently enjoyable, quenching in some small way my thirst for motorcycle riding this winter. Yet I can't help but get the impression that Pierson is more a journalist than a motorcyclist. Though she is obviously entranced by motorcycling, she seems to passively receive a motorcycle, fully repaired for her, drops it more than once, and generally doesn't engage in an ...more
Siouxzy
This book tells an amazing story not only of JOhn Ryan- legendary Iron Butt rider (who died in a motorcycle accident not long after this book was published) but also of the author, Melissa- and how she got back into motorcycling after some life issues out that part of her on hold. Melissa has a way with words that creates such vivid images in my head. Every book I have read by her is one I keep on a shelf- and return to time and time again.
Kristen
This book seemed to head in two different directions throughout, but it served its purpose in telling a story of a middle aged woman finding her passion again through her idol John Ryan. I found it particularly inspiring because I have been interested in long-distance riding (however a scenic junkie as well), having my first cross-country bike trip when I was 17 - a week after getting my license. I got into an accident on my second, near the Tail of the Dragon, leaving me bikeless and longing to ...more
JDK1962
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
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Ian Macintosh
Kind of rambling, lots of big words for no good reason, but paints a very enticing picture of long-distance riding.
Rebecca
This was a GREAT book about people who do serious long distance motorcycle riding. There were many things to think about and tons of great quotes. I enjoyed this so much more than Holbrook-Pierson's first book. This one was so beautifully written and the words twisted and turned much like the beloved roads she described. A great read for anyone who rides.
Du
I would not think about riding a motorcycle round the block much less for one thousand miles in one day. The author clearly loves to ride and her story is fun. She conveys her love of riding and the subjects dedication to riding with a real fun zest. I wasn't too up on the jargon, but didn't find that to be a drawback, instead I found it fascinating.
Dave
If you are curious about long distance riding then this book is a good place to start looking for answers. A quick read which was interesting and engaging.
Michael
Wow. This will all take some time to consider.
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Melissa Holbrook Pierson is the author of the acclaimed Dark Horses and Black Beauties, The Perfect Vehicle, The Place You Love Is Gone, and her newest book, The Man Who Would Stop At Nothing was published in the fall of 2011.
More about Melissa Holbrook Pierson...
Perfect Vehicle The Place You Love Is Gone: Progress Hits Home Dark Horses and Black Beauties: Animals, Women, a Passion The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing: Long-Distance Motorcycling's Endless Road The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs Learn

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