The Best of Peter Egan

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Oct 2018

Member Reviews

I was not familiar with Peter Egan and his writings so I enjoyed reading this book.  All of these essays have been printed before and are presented here in chronological order. Many of the columns combine travel writing with motorcycles.  The essays are very easy to read and often include some laugh out loud moments.  If you are new to Peter Egan's writing this is a great introduction.  Enjoy the open air arm chair traveling.
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I love the Publisher’s Note on “The Best of Peter Egan: Four Decades of Motorcycle Tales and Musings from the Pages of Cycle World” by Peter Egan, so will share it here while granting this very fine and fun book a 5/5!

“The Best of Peter Egan offers a ‘greatest hits’ collection of Egan's motorcycle musings from the past four decades, delivered in his signature, wise but amusing, style. Peter Egan's writing invites you to pull up a chair, pour a little scotch, and relax while he shares with you his tales from the road, his motorcycling philosophy, and his keen observations about the two-wheeled life.

“For some forty years, Peter Egan’s columns and feature articles have been among Cycle World's most anticipated monthly content. Egan's legions of fans know they will gain a fresh perspective on motorcycling from each of his articles.

“Drawings from motoring artist Hector Cademartori beautifully illustrate Egan’s musings. This is an unforgettable collection from a master writer whose simple adventures of two-wheeled life remind us why we love to ride.”

Pub Date 09 Oct 2018   

Thanks to Quarto Publishing Group – Motorbooks and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are fully mine.

#TheBestOfPeterEgan #NetGalley
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The Best of Peter Egan: Four Decades of Motorcycle Tales and Musings from the Pages of Cycle World by Peter Egan is the magic of motorcycling. Egan is an American writer specializing in automotive and motorcycle journalism — widely known for his monthly car-related column, "Side Glances," in Road & Track magazine as well as his monthly motorcycle-related column, "Leanings," in Cycle World magazine — as well as road tests and occasional features in both magazines. Egan's columns are chiefly autobiographical and anecdotal. He has written extensively about road trips, including detailed accounts of the failings of the vehicles, interactions with the people he travels with and those he meets.

I was sixteen when I bought my first motor vehicle. It was a nonrunning 1968 Triumph Trophy 250. I continued to ride motorcycles for the next thirty years before giving it up for the corporate look and sensibility. Before giving it up, I spent several years as a motorcycle mechanic while finishing college and graduate school. From my early years of riding, I was a reader of Cycle World, and it did take me a little while to discover Eagan's column, I read Cycle World for the pictures. However, once I started, I was hooked on his writing.

If you don't ride, it's hard to describe the feeling and experience of riding. "If I had to explain, you wouldn't understand" is a familiar refrain from motorcyclists and bikers. The thing is, Peter Egan can explain it, and you will understand and find the experience enjoyable. Egan's attachment to British motorcycles really appealed to me. I owned five Triumphs and a BSA. With ownership of a British bike, one gets to enjoy all the charm that comes with the bike like its uncanny ability to know when you are at the midway point between home and your destination to suddenly stop running for undiscoverable causes. Egans published his first story in Cycle World is about a trip to the west coast on a Triumph with his wife. Anyone who owned an old Triumph knows how the journey ends. He was told he should have ridden a BMW instead. He said it would not have been the same. BMW did not offer the challenge. I owned three BMWs and will attest to their supreme dependability, but the machine is so refined that it sometimes doesn't feel like a motorcycle.  As Egan would later say, after selling that story to Cycle World, would Cycle World have bought a story titled, "Young Couple Successfully Reaches West Coast on Reliable German Motorcycle”? 

I could also relate to Egan's stubbornness. Lousiana chickory coffee too expensive in Wisconsin? Ride down to Lousiana and pick up it up your self. This trip was less eventful on a Honda but mission accomplished. When you ride a motorcycle, you have a unique ability to justify trips that are really not in your best interest. I once rode 60 miles on a Triumph in 20 degree (-7C) weather to take my LSAT; not one of my best decisions, but a good story nonetheless.

Egan's writing over four decades includes some great motorcycles (many of them British) and some trips that inspire tourism. The reader is taken to the Isle of Man and Ireland. There are also maintenance tips including how to change your oil without making a huge mess of it.  Over this last year, I came back to motorcycling, and I was surprised to see that Egan wrote about my current motorcycle a KLR650 (then KLR600) in the 1980s.  If you can only have one bike, get one that can do most everything you need.  Perhaps that bit of advice stuck with me all these years along with it being easy on maintenance, carbureted and not fuel injected, and not screaming for flashy accessories and modifications.  Still, that does not keep me off of Craig's List or researching another bike.  Do I need another motorcycle? I'll let Peter Egan explain that.

Available October 9, 2018
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