Does riding ever get old? For a lot of us, Melissa Holbrook Pierson’s book “The Perfect Vehicle” is a perfect record of how we felt about motorcycles in the rush of those first few seasons. Now, 35 years after her first ride, I talk to the author about what time does to – and for – that relationship, how it feels to be “riding toward the end”, and what motorcycles can bring to your life even after they’ve saved it. Passionate and insightful as ever, Pierson’s story shines an inspiring light on the road ahead for, as one critic put it, everyone who ever “loved a motorcycle”.

Show Notes

My Ducati, the day we met. Sorry, baby… it’s not you, it’s me.

In fact, I did sell my Ducati, shortly after this episode dropped. I wrote her a farewell letter, which you might find amusing. It’s on

If you don’t know Melissa Holbrook Pierson’s work (and assuming you’re a motorcycle person), start with “The Perfect Vehicle: What It Is About Motorcycles”, and then read “The Man Who Would Stop At Nothing”. You can get to know her a little better at her web site, where she also shares some more of her writing on our favourite subject. Here’s the rather more formal introduction to Melissa as an author. You’ll enjoy Anthony Swofford’s description of her literary voice. I’m sure she did, and I know I would.

“This book, a polished, winding meditation on the theory and fractiousness of motorcycles, celebrates both their eccentric history and the wary pleasures of touring.”―The New Yorker

As far as I can tell – I should have asked, I guess – Melissa is not on Instagram. However, she does have a presence on Facebook. Here’s her page for “The Man Who Would Stop At Nothing.”

In our conversation, Melissa graciously avoided naming a favourite book, but was pretty clear that this one meant a lot to her: Robert Edison Fulton’s “One Man Caravan.” Here’s a nice piece on this proto-adventure rider from Revzilla. Otherwise, there doesn’t appear to be a single repository for this man’s remarkable story, so I’d suggest you simply buy the book and discover it for yourself. That’s my plan.

Finally a big thank you to the very talented Cadence. Ross Lynde was quick and generous to respond to my request to excerpt “Still Crazy After All These Years”. You can find out more about the group here, and Ross had some suggestions for new fans: Our newest album “Home” (2018) featuring all Canadian composers.  Listen on Spotify or iTunes.  Includes David Clayton Thomas singing lead on ‘Lucretia McEvil’.  Cool sand art video of our version of ‘The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald’:  click here

David Clayton Thomas? Lucretia McEvil? I’m in.