She’s a Bad Motorcycle – Writers on Riding book50
edited by Geno Zanetti
275 pages, $16.95
Thunder’s Mouth Press, copyright 2002
646.375.2570

 by Sev Pearman

This month’s moto-book selection is not for the indecisive. “She’s a Bad Motorcycle” is a literary buffet line. As you look at the contents, your mind spins with enticing choices.

Should you flip to Fulton’s “One Man Caravan?” or jump to Holbrook-Pierson’s delicious “The Perfect Vehicle?” Like that kid in the candy store, you are giddy with literary glee. MMM readers risk verbal overload, and a cash-draining trip to the bookstore.

Editor Zanetti has assembled an impressive collection of motorcycle-themed writings. Whatever your interest, there is something here to please. If you are into the 1-percenter lifestyle, selections from Sonny Barger, Hunter S. Thompson and the Pagans will please. Distance riders will appreciate the inclusion of “One Man Caravan” and Ted Simon’s “Jupiter’s Travels.” A chapter from Holbrook-Pierson’s excellent “The Perfect Vehicle” is an obvious inclusion.

Two books new to MMM’s research staff are excerpted as well. Former singer of The Animals, Eric Burden, beautifully writes about our favorite bad-ass Steve McQueen, desert riding and the simplicity of life 35 years ago. Peter Coyote (MMM wonders, the actor?) recalls time shared with the Hell’s Angels in San Francisco in the late 60’s. Coyote’s text achieves a balance between the Angels’ demonization in mainstream press and their mindless glorification by Hunter S. Thompson and other writers. Look for reviews of “Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood: A Memoir” and “Sleeping Where I Fall” in upcoming MMM issues.

Two obvious classics are included. How many riders a generation ago were inspired to two wheels by Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?” Am I the only guy in high school who secretly read S.E. Hinton’s “Tex?” C’mon, admit it; Mickey Rourke is way cooler in “Rumble Fish,” another S.E. Hinton story, than he is in “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man.” But we are off the subject…

Geno Zanetti has assembled an excellent collection of motorcycle stories and themes. If you’ve ever wondered why a loved one rides, there is a piece in “She’s a Bad Motorcycle” that may provide insight. Simply, this is an excellent representation of motorcycle writing. It is an inspired collection, and MMM gives it four out of four cylinders. Recommended.

Verdict:

Book Shy – There is something in here for everyone.

Casual Reader – The perfect book to justify a new bike purchase.

Serious Rider – The excerpt from “One Man Caravan” is reason enough…

M.M.M.

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