101 Road Tales by Clement Salvadori,
illustrations by Gary Brown,
published by Whitehorse Press.
hardcover, 383 pages
Been there, done that, and, if you’ve ridden for a number of years, probably so have you. If you can’t relate to a least one or two of these tales either you’ve never straddled a saddle or you’ve been riding on some other planet.
Clement is America’s foremost motorcycle-touring journalist and the big man in a beret has covered more miles than 99% of the riders on the road. Naturally, he has tales to tell. This book is a compilation of 101 editorials that were written between 1988 and 2007. Plucked from Rider magazine, they’re presented in chronological sequence, but can be read in any order. In fact, selecting columns at random is highly recommended.
Yes, I have my favorites, such as “Nasty Roads,” which reverberates to my personal concept of what riding is all about. Then there are those, like “Tiltmeter,” which should be required reading for all motorcyclists. Some are a bit preachy – “ZPG vs. EPA” for example — while others are philosophical, informative, or just plain good old road tales. There are even a few that aren’t specifically about motorcycles, but they’re still good stories and so the author is forgiven.
This is a hardcover, which might go against Clement’s preference for always carrying a book on his journeys, but it seems quite appropriate on a bedside table or next to the computer where a few precious minutes can be stolen during a busy day. I would prefer it to be a paperback, all the easier to stash in my saddlebags or laptop carrying case, but nicely bound it does make an excellent gift.