Leanings: The Best of Peter Egan from "Cycle World"

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Book by Egan Peter

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Since his work first graced the pages of "Cycle World" magazine in 1977, Peter Egan has taken his readers on one unforgettable adventure after another. Whether riding along the Mississippi River to New Orleans for a tin of chicory coffee or flying to Japan to test-ride new Yamahas, Egan's insight and gift with words makes every journey a unique and fascinating experience. Available in paperback for the first time, "Leanings "is a collection of Egan's favorite feature articles and columns from "Cycle World" magazine. Included among the twenty-one feature articles are Egan's first feature for the magazine, a story about his and his wife's cross-country trip on a British twin, his journey on abandoned Route 66, a history of the motorcycle jacket, and his visit to the fabled Tourist Trophy race on the Isle of Man. A selection of twenty-seven columns are also reproduced here, covering a wide range of subjects, from the nearly lost art of the kick-start, how to survive not being able to ride for an entire Wisconsin winter, and a look back at the motorcycle crash that nearly killed the great Bob Dylan. For added perspective, each feature article is preceded by commentary from the author. This is an unforgettable collection of the works of a master writer whose simple adventures of life remind us all why we love to ride.


After reading this book I wanted to quit my job and become a motorcycle journalist, and I don't even own a motorcycle yet. Touching, funny and informative Leanings is a collection of the columns and features that Egan has written over the years, including travel pieces on motorcycle trips to the Isle of Man, Mexico and New Zealand that will make you want to pack up and go and informative and humorous articles that answer questions such as 'How many motorcycles do you need' and 'should you buy a British motorcycle'. Now more than ever I want to buy a motorcycle...DW rauum...If you are the least bit familiar with Cycle World Magazine you'll instantly recognize Pete Egan's name. His column has always been the first thing I turn to every month. Some times it's just so so but more often than not it's an outstanding piece of literary art. The same can be said for this book. Every page is a joy but towards the end it starts to be a little repetitive. But when the stories are this good repetitiveness isn't that big a problem. Pete is a rare individual, he's a gifted writer with a background made for storytelling. He's a true motorcycle enthusiast that finds the same beauty in a Honda Benly 150 Touring as a Harley Ultra Classic with a deep love of British bikes (especially old ones). Where the gift comes in is that while his subject is motorcycles he's really writing about passion and life. The story of his adventure with his friend across Canada is surprisingly moving even for this great collection. In the sixties Pete and a college pal went on an investigation into Canada as they considered dodging the draft. The terrible time they had and the warm welcome by family and friends when they returned convinced Peter not to throw that all away. As a result he did a tour in Vietnam. As with most of his experiences it was his love of a motorcycle (a Triumph) that helped him make it through Vietnam. This guy has done it all and writes about it with great detail. It's great to read articles dating from the seventies and early eighties. Pete was riding Route 66 before it was turned into an historical tourist attraction, all but gone. He was drinking Guiness before most people had heard of it. He's been married for 30 years or more. Several readers of Cycle World have accused him of making up the perfect wife, if you read this book you'll understand why. And he has been riding bikes through the ups and downs in ridings popularity. Peter Egan is to motorcycle journalism what Ernie Pyle was to war reporting. This guy has done it all and writes about it so well it's never a chore to read his stories. I don't want to sound like I'm trying to oversell this book but if you are the least bit interested in motorcycles and travelling this is a must read. It's a shame he hasn't expanded to a wider audience. He is in the top five on my list of fantasy dinner party guests and this is a heck of a collection...Brain Glass ...has aggregated his favourite articles into an anthology. The motorcycle enthusiast includes a collection of 27 columns and 21 feature articles that tell of his simple adventures on the open road. --AutoWeek, October, 2009....I own a lot of books about motorcycles, from Hell's Angels to Proficient Motorcycling. But more often than not, I pull Egan's Leanings off the shelf when I'm in the mood for a quick fix. Egan writes well and with insight, but without the pseudo-philosophical B.S. of Persig et al. This is a collection of aricles with the earliest dating back to the 70s, so some observations are a mite dated, but Egan captures the experience of riding (and buying, and fixing, and being stranded) so wonderfully, that I enjoy reading every word in this book. Egan has a good sense of humor that runs as an undercurrent through most of his writing. Leanings is like having a tray of your favorite appetizers at hand! --whitehorse gear, November, 2009

An entry from left field, because it's far from being a book extlling the virtues of American motorcycles, but is a compendium of assorted ramblings from the pen of an established columnist on Cycle World magazine, and for the sheer joy of Anglophile Peter egan's passion for motorcycleing, it's well worth a punt. Through a series of features and columns, you grow to feel you know the author by mid-way through the book, thanks partly to a simple writing style that lacks for nothing in its ability to describe a situation, location, or time, but also for the breadth of his experience. It dosen't matter if he's recounting his youth, reliving his pilgramige to the Isle of Man TT Races, justifying keeping his old helmets, or getting excited about one of the many motorcycles that are special to him, he writes in an easy style with an obvious love of language, but not being too showy about it, which makes for very easy reading, and the inevitable Americanisms inevitable. It's a book that invites you to dip in at random, picking out a short story or a shorter column according to time available, and one of them will strike a chord that will ensure you finish the book. For me, it was a search for a lost highway, Route 66, now almost entierly replaced by a series of interstates, but which have left large stretches of America's most famous road intact - often following the natural contures of the land - while the modern blacktop soras overhead, taking the shortcut, leaving the ghosts of towns and communities to their bypassed tranquility. Now there's a roadtrip: motoring west, dodging wildlife that has grown accustomed to the lack of traffic, and trees that have grown up in the gaps between the sectional concrete that compromsied much of the old road. But that's one of many engaging stories. Highly recommended reading for anyone with an interest in motorcycling of any kind. --American-V, December, 2009

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