An enthralling collection of motorcycle-related writing.
Robert Pirsig, in his groundbreaking Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, wrote about the relationship of rider and machine, the fact of 'seeing deeply into the nature of things by direct experience'. T.E. Lawrence described 'the lustfulness of moving swiftly', the sensation of feeling 'the earth moulding herself under me . . . heaving and tossing on each side like a sea'.
Not all the contributors to this exhilaratingly high-octane collection are quite so lyrical or mystical. Hunter S. Thompson concludes his review of the Ducati 900 Supersport with a brutal comparison: 'A fool couldn't ride the Vincent Black Shadow more than once, but a fool can ride a Ducati 900 many times, and it will always be a bloodcurdling kind of fun. That is the Curse of Speed which has plagued me all my life. I am a slave to it. On my tombstone they will carve, IT NEVER GOT FAST ENOUGH FOR ME.'
Men don't have the monopoly on mufflers or power-to-weight ratio. Melissa Holbrook Pierson, Lois Pryce and Theresa Wallach have full-throttle tales to tell. There are even poems by Ted Hughes and Thom Gunn about the pleasures and perils of riding this awesome machine.
For the fanatic and even the armchair traveller, Neil Bradford's collection of motorcycle writing, Sons of Thunder, makes the most persuasive case for the unique excitement and emotional experience offered by one of humankind's greatest inventions.