Let’s face it.. It’s still hot as hell here in Central Texas, forcing any rational person out of the garage and on to the couch. Well, as long as we’re all being sequestered indoors until Fall arrives, we might as well use that time to catch up on summer reading.
Honestly, most automotive “journalism” is booorrring. It seems a typical article about a car, motorcycle, or associated activities consists mostly of statistics… 360 horsepower, redline of 7,500.. blah, blah, blah. That’s why it is so refreshing to encounter a true, bonafide writer hiding out there in the automotive journalistic junkyards.
I have discovered 3 excellent writers whose work has kept me spellbound, and want to share them with my own readers:
Peter is one of those few writers whose work encompasses both the automotive and motorcycle worlds. A longtime monthly columnist in Road & Track, as well as Cycle World magazines, he has in recent times moved on from his monthly duties, to concentrate on publishing his collections of articles books under the title(s) “LEANINGS”.
A recent perusal of reader reviews of Peter’s latest book “Leanings 3” revealed that 96% of all reviewers gave a full 5 star rating (hmm.. that compares pretty favorably with the Bible, which only earned a mere 76% 5 star rating). Just dig into a few paragraphs, and you will understand why. In addition to a natural talent to turn the most mundane subject into a nail-biting cliff hanger, Peter brings to the table an inordinate wealth of experiences upon which to base his craft. He has worked as a mechanic, and traveled all over the world in all manner of vehicles, from 2 wheels on up.
The books, as mentioned, are a compilation of Peter’s articles from the various magazines he has contributed to over the years. I love this format.. it lends itself well to my “20 minutes of bedtime reading before zonking out” modus. I can usually complete an entire article in its entirety before signing off for the day.
Trust me, even if you have no interest in cars, motorcycles, or other machinery, you will find Peter’s work to be infinitely intriguing, provocative, and entertaining. Once you read one of his books, you’ll be looking for the next in the series. Available, of course, on Amazon and other common portals.
Ted Simon – Jupiter’s Travels
There are literally hundreds of books written about adventure motorcycle travel, most consisting of daily journals of poorly written trivia. Not so Jupiter’s Travels..more than 45 years after its first publication, this superbly crafted account of the author’s 4 year global circumnavigation on a motorcycle still remains the seminal work of this genre.
Simon struck off from London in the 1970’s on his epic journey around the world, riding a brand new (at first) Triumph Bonneville (when most of us today wouldn’t trust a Triumph more than 50 miles from home). His account of his journey extends far beyond just a narrative of his adventure. More importantly, he gives the reader an in-depth geopolitical glimpse of foreign and exotic locations most of us could never dream of visiting. The book is huge (some 450 pages), but superbly crafted in a way to keep the reader’s attention from page 1 to the end. Readily available from any of the online book purveyors.
Foster Kinn – Freedom’s Rush
Another slant on adventure motorcycling is chronicled by Foster Kinn, referred by some as “The Mark Twain of the biker world”. Foster is a Harley guy with a sensitive side (a lifelong musician and composer, scoring music for a number of well known films and other platforms). His travels, and travel writing have been concentrated more around the continental U.S. with occasional forays into Canada and Alaska.
The writing is fresh, introspective, and thought provoking, and his adventures are into locations that I can actually see myself venturing (as appealing as it might be, I don’t see myself biking into Zimbabwe in the foreseeable future).
In addition to his formal books (I’ve learned his real name is Dwight Mikkelsen, writing under the pen name Foster Kinn), Foster (or, er.. Dwight) publishes a very active blog where he posts short accounts of his contemporary travels. You don’t even have to buy the book to sign up for his regular email/blogs which I have found entertaining.
Visit www.fosterKinn.com to sign up for the free email blog, and/or to purchase the book, where you’ll be cutting out the middle man (Amazon) and insuring the full book fee goes right to the author.