The Perfect Vehicle: What It is about Motorcycles
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The Perfect Vehicle: What It is about Motorcycles

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  164 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In a book that is "a must for anyone who has loved a motorcycle" (Oliver Sacks), Melissa Pierson captures in vivid, writerly prose the mysterious attractions of motorcycling. She sifts through myth and hyperbole: misrepresentations about danger, about the type of people who ride and why they do so. The Perfect Vehicle is not a mere recitation of facts, nor is it a polemic...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 1st 1997 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1997)
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My boyfriend gave me this book to read, saying it was what made him love motorcycles. Reading it made me want to ride too. It was surprisingly well written too--almost poetic in places.
perfect description of the feeling of being "one with the bike." great writing style and good anecdotes. the author definitely has a handle on motorcycle history and manufacturers and was able to intertwine that with personal experiences.
Unless you're into motorcycles, I don't recommend this book. But if you have a husband who is into motorcycles, he'll probably want you to read it.
Imperial Black
She absolutely nails the reasons why one rides. Her opening is pure poetry.
Due in part to my AOOCD (Adult Onset OCD (which, parenthetical within a parenthetical, is not a real disorder)), when I get hooked on something I voraciously consume all there is to consume about it until I have exhausted that particular interest and move on (I think that's exactly how viruses work, actually). Lately, that topic has been motorcycles. I now own not one, but two motorcycles (anyone interested in a 1996 Yamaha Virago XV250 in near mint condition?). And, since it's winter, and I can...more
Facets of a woman's life as reflected in her connection to a motorcycle and the act of riding one. Melissa Holbrook Pierson is not a biker; she's a young woman who becomes intoxicated by the idea of her motorcycle, even as the reality of its obscure leaks and breakdowns frustrate her.

The book contains lots of obscure ephemera about the history of motorcycles and their (often female) riders. But it is Ms. Peirson's brief descriptions of boyfriends, lovers and fellow riders that are the most memo...more
I got my car and motorcycle licenses in 1978 - I've never owned a car. So, with my credentials as a die-hard motorcyclist established I'm bound to admit that most books on the subject should never have been printed. Few who can write bother with motorcycles, and few who ride can write in any engaging way. MHP has the gift of both skills. I even managed to ignore/forgive the occasional rambling forays off into the bushes of her love-life. :-) A stunning read with a touch of poetic craft in places...more
Hunter Marston
I had read Pierson's more recent motorcycling book, The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing, first before reading this. While I enjoyed reading her newer book, I didn't really think it was quality. I also misjudged Pierson: she makes herself sound mechanically illiterate in "The Man Who..." but she reveals a deep knowledge of and appreciation for motorcycle mechanics in this older book, published more than a decade ago. I have to say I enjoyed this book much more than her newer work.
This is a great book that put forth the idea that the motorcycle is the ideal vehicle for human transport, and indeed when I read it I completely agreed. However I have some problems with that now and that is why I challenge the bicycle community to put forth a book that argues that the bicycle is "The Perfect Vehicle". I still feel that if people here in the U.S. would use motorcycles much more that we would be much better than where we are now, over SUVers.
This is a collection of loosely connected essays, reflections, and personal stories about the author regarding her experiences as a motorcycle rider. I fould it interesting, but more so in some parts than in others. Less so when the author tried to wax philosophical...
This has been a favorite motorcycling book for quite a while.
Melissa brilliantly captures the excitement and adventure of
being a motorcyclist and shares it in this book.

Every motorcyclist or person who thinks about being a motorcyclist
should read this book.
David Klopp
Book is about how the author came into riding motorcycles and a few of the rides she went on. Unfortunately, about 1/2 the book is about the history of motorcycles which I found to be very boring and I skipped most of these sections.
May 05, 2008 Brooke is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently reading this book, because it was a left over thing from my ex. It's under my skin, sort of a modern day "Zen and the Art" though it's from a woman's point of view. Lots of stuff about her boyfriends.
This books is written from the point of view of a female motorcyclist and describes perfectly the mystique of the two wheeled vehicle. It's well written and could be enjoyed by people who many not even ride.
Interesting insights into the love of riding. We'll written, intelligent approach to the sport. Almost, but only almost, made me want to buy a Moto Guzzi! Good read. Great read if you are a rider.
Garrett Smith
I bought a copy on the ipad to read, then I bought hardback to go on my bookshelf. First time I have ever done that. If you love riding, you should read this book.
Sep 10, 2007 Dax rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the significant other
Shelves: motorcycles
The opening of the book always makes we want to go out to the garage and fire up the bike. Winter is approaching, I may have to read this book again.
Johnny T
Good romanticized reading about motorcycles. Not a romance, just about motorcycles :)
Margrethe Lauber
Excellent reinforcement of my own passion for two wheels.
Not really an interesting subject for me.
Will Alarid
One of the few two-wheeled books worth reading.
Mike Turner
You gotta love motorcycles!
Brandon Milam
Brandon Milam marked it as to-read
Sep 08, 2014
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Aug 29, 2014
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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...
The Place You Love Is Gone: Progress Hits Home The Man Who Would Stop at Nothing: Long-Distance Motorcycling's Endless Road 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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