Your Sport Touring Motorbike Fix

B. KrauseFeb 28, 2024TranscriptCommentShare

Our FTC disclosure's magnum opus awaits here ...

Melissa Holbrook Pierson

Robin & Brian sit down with the author of "Perfect Vehicle", "Man Who Would Stop At Nothing" and "Secret History of Kindness". Music by Otis McDonald. Download our feed here.


As legible as we are intelligible ...

Robin: Our guest for this episode, it's been a long time coming. Efforts to have her on the show and her polite responses about scheduling conflicts actually inspired confidence in us where approaching any or all guests are concerned. Thanks to her busy life, we've felt more comfortable reaching out to other heavy hitters such as her and a windfall of great interviews are the result. I feel we owe her for that. An unconscious lesson in eventually easing the tension when approaching other eventualities. But enough of that. We've been working to have this guest on our show for over a year now, and she's finally here. It's our pleasure to welcome Melissa Holbrook Pearson. Thanks for being here. Welcome to the show.

Melissa: It's great to be here, but uh, don't I get a drumroll or anything? I put

Robin: that in after the fact.

Melissa: That was the drum roll. Thank you.

Brian: Melissa, this is really exciting. I've read the old books and I'm trying to catch up a little bit on the newer writings and so forth, but I'll go ahead and start with like a softball question that we ask everybody. So, uh, did you ride

Robin: today?

Melissa: No, it's snowing right now. I, my riding in the snow days are over. I hope it's happened a couple of times, you know, when you set out and, uh, It wasn't expected, but here it comes, and you're like, hmm, let's see.

Robin: Is that one of those, I've already got my gear

Melissa: on. No, that's one of those, we're already 250 miles from home on a 2, 000 mile trip. What do we do now? Well, let's just go out and see. Onward.

Brian: There's an old saying I like, uh, which is, Less traction is still some traction.

Melissa: Thinking positive. Come on. Is

Brian: it, is it really zero traction? I mean, just a little bit. I actually made a point to ride into the office today, you know, where we have the best internet connection and it's actually very nice today. It's like 45 degrees. It's not bad here in Indiana because of that point in the book where you're chipping ice out of the driveway so you can get your motorcycle out. So I'm like, I can't show up in a minivan.

Melissa: Moreover, you can't really do, you know, you're trying to do a record breaking ride or, you know, whatever, and it's happening, you know, it's gotta happen when it's gotta happen.

Robin: I feel isolated here because I used to, so I'm from Chicago and I used to ride. I was so enthusiastic about riding. I was like, I'm getting on the bike. I'm going to go do it. And you'd see video of ice and snow going by. No problem. I'm just smiling ear to ear. And now I'm like, I run away from that first notice. Like I'm out, no more winters for me. And then I sit here twiddling my thumbs, like very, very happy about riding. And everybody else is just, everybody's a snow person.

Melissa: I feel like there's, there's a time when You're young and stupid, and writing is such a thrill, and it's so new that Nothing's going to stop you and this is all just part of the fun. And then after, after a while, it's like, no, you know what? I, I can wait and tell the weather is actually safe to do that.

Robin: Well, okay. So we know we can definitely talk about books. In fact, I'm looking forward to that, both yours and anything you would suggest we look into. In fact, I treated your suggestion about one man caravan as a contractual obligation for you to be here. But before we get into any of that, I got to ask, do you have any big rides planned for 24?

Melissa: There's always riding on the agenda or struggling to get on the agenda. In fact, in our household today, we've been discussing the possibility of a European ride. I think it's time. I would like to Moto Guzzi experience rides where you get to ride Latest and greatest on tours led by locals. It's not a cheap prospect.

Robin: If you just happen to end up in Spain, I know where in the middle of a random sort of national forest of sorts, out of nowhere, there is a tennis

Melissa: court. Really? I'll have to go find that.

Robin: The listeners have heard that story way too many times, so I'll tell it to you after the fact. But that sounds fantastic. So you're still riding Moto

Melissa: Guzis. Yes. I've branched out a little bit. I've got, I, you know, this is, it's still, it's still sort of blows my mind, even though I've had now two bikes for, I guess the past 10 years, I'm still remembering the time when there was only one and there could only be one because of finances, not that I'm rich now, but it's just. Things opened up a little bit more now. I have this choice and it's just crazy to me I mean like I could just go down there and say huh? What do I feel like today? Is it a Moto Guzzi day or is it a BMW day? Hmm? Let's see Going according to what you feel and and to a certain extent the length of the ride, you know I ride the BMW On longer trips, but yes, my heart is still and always will be with Moto Guzzi.

Robin: That's a transverse V as I was, it's called the engine when the cylinders are pointing to the right and left

Melissa: of V twin,

Robin: yeah, but then the inline V is where the cylinder one cylinders ahead of the other, like the Hawk GT, whereas the transverse is when it's turned sort of like a beamer motor, but pointed diagonally upward, right?

Brian: Yeah. Do you still like the new Moto

Melissa: Guzzis? Yeah. In fact, that's what I have. A new ish V7, their retro styled but newer engine. It's, you know, it's different. It's just a, it's a different feel. Anything That's not carbureted to me feels like, whoa, that's new brand new.

Brian: Oh, no choke or anything. Yeah.

Robin: Starts up every time

Brian: I was going to ask kind of on a related note. One of the things we talk about, what are some of the new weird bikes or not weird newer ones that are, you're kind of like, yeah, I'd like to go try to ride that once just to see what it's like, or maybe even I'd like to try to own it. I've actually ridden a Honda monkey. It's a terrible thing to do to a monkey just to see what it was like.

Melissa: And what was it like? Did you like it?

Robin: Did you

Brian: wheelie? It was interesting. It was very slow. It was very strained. If I was like a little five, three person or something, it would have been just a hit really who a real hoot around town. I get it, but I'm like, no, not for me, but.

Robin: Okay. Then on the flip side, I'll give you this up in Wisconsin. There's a guy who converts, I don't know which model KTM over to two wheel drive. Yeah. Yeah

Brian: For the snow.

Robin: Okay. Yeah. And it's like a Clydesdale front and rear wheel drive. He's got his own conversions. Super humble guy too. The engineering mind has got to be crazy big, but at the same time when you meet him, he's mild mannered and very just like, well, I was fascinated by the concept of this.

Melissa: Interesting. Once. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe that's all you need. I've always been one of those people who, like, I don't want to throw anything out, even if it's sort of half broken, because I say, Maybe I can get this fixed somewhere. A motorcycle pack rack. Yeah, I just I'm not a novelty junkie when it comes to, at least when it comes to motorcycles, I feel like if I keep these two bikes going and there's, I don't see any reason why I can't, or actually I don't keep them going, the people that I take them to and pay them to keep them going, keep them going. I'm not feeling like there's anything that's missing. I don't need more power. I don't need the latest, whatever. You know, maybe if I rode the new V100 that Moto Guzzi has, everybody says, Oh my God, it's a stunning bike. It's got all these revolutionary things. Maybe I think, I don't know though. I'm just not that person who needs the latest and greatest and I keep my cars for as long as they'll go. That's who I am. I, I don't, I just want to go places. I don't need to go there faster than anybody else. That's not my

Robin: thing. You are really speaking my language. Well, half of it. I do still have the adrenal thing going on. I love getting quick in the curves and doing that stuff. But I will say that originally when I started the website, I don't think we've strayed too much, but the real goal was to. Inspire experience and travel. Inspire people to see new things by way of two wheels. Cause come on, that's fun. I've had to hold onto that pretty tight considering the fact that I do enjoy banking a curve with a little bit of a spirited pace. On the re Just a little, yeah. just

Brian: a little. You could almost say it's the perfect vehicle,

Robin: Oh. Anyway, I see. Did you see what he did? I heard it. It did. I see

Melissa: what you did there. Yes.

Brian: Anyway. No. Oh, that was bad.

Melissa: I think to a certain extent though, the, the urge to go. Places on a bike is inextricably linked to particularities of that bike that you do it on. Oh, yeah. The experience is going to be different if there are even slight differences in the mechanics of the machine. That's why it's so pleasurable, because those two things get fused in the moment. That you're out there, they're just sort of two sides of one coin, basically,

Robin: so long as they are selected by the person who is smart enough to choose the correct bike, not somebody who chose Burt Monroe's bike to go around the world on

Brian: sometimes the incorrect bike is a lot of fun to I've got a sport touring bike and an old vintage Suzuki and a KLR 650. Going the same place on those bikes is very, very different. And, you know, like the KLR is a good dual sport bike, but it's also really good in the city, you know, getting through traffic, it's tall, you hit potholes and so, you know, so yeah, but it changes the experience and it's just makes it more interesting. I get that. I'm

Melissa: amazed when I see. The numbers of people who are currently riding around the world, or they're on their third trip or whatever, and some of them are doing it on the craziest things. You're like, what possessed you to do that? And I think it's a little bit like, because I can, or because I wanted to see if I could. And that's a part, I think, of also undertaking This way of travel, you know, I wanna do this on a 50-year-old dirt bike or whatever, ,

Robin: or like, that's the one that's not in the record books yet. They see a, a void in the record books. And they're like, okay, so now I have to do that. And even when people were doing that with cars, the solar cars, right? They would take off and be like, and, and they're off. And the car just sort of like slowly begins to move. And yeah, people are kind of clapping, but they're not sure, do I keep clapping? Right? It's moving. But they go around the world on these things. Yeah. In seamless, perfect transition, like a professional, you had mentioned during pre recording the back and forth about what we might discuss and something fantastic you mentioned really lit our eyes up, advisability or not of having a life partner who doesn't ride. Now you mentioned that you've had both and can speak to both sides of the issue. Tell us more.

Melissa: This is really interesting to me, not only because I've lived it, but because over the years, a lot of. Actually, only men have privately messaged me and said, Hey, can you help me out with a big problem? My wife or my girlfriend doesn't ride and doesn't understand why I do. And she wants to stop me or curtail my riding or. Not let me buy the motorcycle of my dreams because I already have six in the garage. Can you say something that I can tell her that will get her to understand? And I'm like, you know, actually no, because I think that's the whole point about what we're doing. It's such a, in a way, it's such an interior and private. Thing only, you know, if you do it, you understand, if you don't do it, you will never understand. Also, I can't make anybody's partner want to take up riding to please them because I think that's really inadvisable. Pressuring somebody to do something that they don't feel, you know, on their own, they haven't made this decision like. I want to ride it's my boyfriend wants me to ride. So now I'm going to try, but it doesn't feel good. And I'm a little scared that is a person who should not be on a bike. You got to want

Robin: it. The positive optimistic view of this is there are a lot of future riders out there and they're going to become writers for reasons that are inspired. And they're going to rise to every challenge immediately out the gates because of how they. Just naturally belong to it as much as their future belongs to them. Yes. There are also people who see the picture. They imagine the image, they don't want to go through the motions, but they want to have that as some kind of mark of who they are and they still don't necessarily belong behind a set of handlebars.

Melissa: No, because it's, it's not a persona, it's not a costume that you put on, it's frankly too risky to do that. You make a bargain, really every time you get on a bike, I am willing to undertake this risk because this gives me something that's bigger than that chance or whatever. I don't want to be responsible for anybody else. It's enough for me to be responsible for my own self. I don't really even like to ride passengers. I just need to be in it by myself and for myself. As I had to explain to my mother, who was bleeding terrified, you know, Oh my god, oh my god, you're not going to do that, oh no! You know, whatever, I'm sure we'd I'll have that from all sorts of people. I just said, sorry, mom, it's what I want and I'm going to take the hit for it. But that's what we all have to choose in life, what we want to risk and, and what we don't feel is worth it. That's why I think subtly pressuring somebody else to take the chances that they may not have decided for themselves is really, really a bad idea. When I was married to somebody who didn't ride and who really didn't understand it. In some ways, it was sort of a pleasure because it became my own world, and I think we all need, when we're in partnership, to have things that only belong to us. I feel that really strongly. I'm always happy when my partner has something that makes them happy. I don't need to understand it. I don't need to share it, but I share in their joy. I don't need to be with them every minute. I need to be free. Therefore they need to be free. What

Robin: I feel is us all together noticing that you just were shark fishing and real that topic back in, like you were wrestling well, freaking done. Cause this is radio digression TRO and you managed to, that was, that was a present. Keep going.

Melissa: I can go on. I can actually wrap up this

Brian: subject. You could charge money for this service of explaining to people, but it's not possible.

Melissa: Yeah. You know what? I could be the motorcycle advice lady.

Brian: He can't like Dr. Laura or something.

Robin: Yeah. At some point she's going to pay Robin. I know it's what he wants, but there's, okay. I do remember I was a new instructor and I got a phone call from a gentleman who really wanted his wife to just pick up the pace just a little bit. Just can you maybe talk to her and maybe get her to ride a little bit faster? And then I looked at the caller ID and I recognized the last name. He didn't know who he was calling, but I informed him. I work with your son. He is a fellow instructor. I'm going to do you a favor, not have this conversation. It's not up to you what her pace is. There is no we in pace. There is no keep up.

Melissa: Oh, thank you for saying that.

Robin: These are the moments when I realized I might actually be an adult.

Melissa: That's wisdom. Number one for me. This is one thing that. Being old has finally permitted me to just back off from any group pressure or whatever. If I'm riding with other people and I just say, just let me know where we're all meeting at the end. Yeah. I want to go last. I am not going to override my abilities to keep up with you. Why? What do I get? A trophy? And road rash. No, I don't get anything for that. I want to just ride my ride. The thing

Brian: about people, your partner, you know, someone who really loves you will find joy in seeing you find joy, even if they don't understand it. And I'm very fortunate. That's exactly what has happened with me and my wife. And I'll illustrate that. I had, so there I was in the hospital, broken leg, number two, broken wrist, number one. From writing, got hit by a car here in Indianapolis. Someone, I don't even remember who it was, said something to her like, oh, you're going to let him keep writing. And she just got really offended and said, well, Hey, we don't tell each other what to do and be, I wouldn't even want to be around him if he can't go ride.

Melissa: Maturity and respect.

Robin: Did you actually touch on both sides of this

Melissa: though? I didn't. I'll just briefly say then what a joy it's been to be on the other side of that equation and have a partner who does ride. Our lives are not exactly built only around motorcycling, but we each recognize without having to speak it, how important it is, and that this is something that brings us such elemental pleasure, he understands that for me, the idea of traveling is It's important to us. equated with doing it on a bike. It's not that it's not worth it. It's an entirely different thing than going in a car by plane. I recognize in him, he doesn't need to say, I really need to take the day and go off by myself on my bike. I'm like, you don't even need to say that to me. Of course you need to go off all day on your bike. Of course you do. I wish I could and vice versa. So there's an understanding at a very profound level. That is a beautiful.

Brian: Amazing. Yeah.

Robin: My wife and I both ride, and I think that I agree with you. We also will tell each other what we're doing, only because we are permanent travelers. We're always remote. We don't always know the terrain. The decisions I make sometimes I need her to know this is where I'm writing. This is what I'm doing. I'm not blindly being a moron out there, but I do like to double check myself before I wreck myself. Brian sandbox, meaning the notes where we keep all the tabs on what we will do or have done type of thing reminded me that your book, the perfect vehicle 25 years now. Bye now. Congratulations on that success right out the gates. Like it just began. What am I talking about? Thank you. Now, I will warn you, my defense, my college years were extremely interesting and exciting. So my retention and my recall are not targets of critique in this conversation. I read Perfect Vehicle, loved it. There were some trues to Man Who Would Stop at Nothing that I totally wanted to ask you about. Question here though is All your writing, it still feels fresh and present to read. And is there a name for that result in writing? Cause I want to buy a cup of it.

Melissa: Man. Oh man, I don't, I don't know. I mean, it still amazes me that every once in a while I've got a new writer, somebody who has just picked that book up and has. Become excited by it in the same way that people were thrilled to hear their experiences corroborated 25 years ago, when you think, Oh, but it's an entirely different world. All everything is different. Well, you know, some of the, I guess it's sort of the more superficial things are different, but maybe I got it some of the deeper and more universal. Shall we say timeless aspects of what we do that I think are

Robin: Let me write that down. Timeless. There, got it. Timeless.

Melissa: I just made that word up. Oh,

Robin: 10, you got PayPal.

Melissa: It's been, it's incredibly gratifying to know that whatever it was that I said, which I frankly don't even remember. I don't reread my own work. I forget all that I wrote, but. It's just really gratifying to hear that it's still speaking to people. I'm just incredibly grateful.

Robin: It's doing good. I'm reading this right out of the notes verbatim. I so want to, but dare not ask if you're working on anything right now and feel free to deflect that topic if you like. I don't want to like. Challenge your inspiration or cause that's sort of,

Melissa: you know, that's sort of, um, yeah, that's verboten to ask a writer. So what are you working on? You know that

Robin: throw this wrench of a grenade

Melissa: into your machine. Yeah, they tear their hair out, you know sparks come out of their head. Bust the microphone

Robin: on the ground, send me a letter, cease and desist.

Melissa: It's funny because just all day today i've been working on a piece for An Indian magazine, India's largest motoring magazine. I've become friends with the editor. And in fact, he invited me to come over for bike week in India. Yes. Three years

Robin: ago. I'm just helping. I'm here to see the answer is yes. Yeah.

Melissa: Oh, totally. I was a little like, Ooh, my God, I'm going to India by myself. I, Ooh, how am I going to manage all this? But he put his guardian angels around me. Actually, you know what, talk about tangents, the weirdest aspect of anticipating that trip was. I'm going to have to ride a Royal Enfield, right? I mean, what else do you ride when you go over there? Then I went, Oh, but wait a minute. Is that the British pattern?

Robin: Do you have any British occupation machines that I could borrow for a moment?

Melissa: And it's on the other side of the road. So I'm remembering only one time that I ever rode a British machine and I could not. Get the shift pattern right. I just, my brain, I would say, no, no, no, it's not down, then up, up.

Robin: First you must tweet all the oil bloggins, and then before the jorps. Right, so,

Melissa: I just like, rode the clutch, because I could not remember what to do. So I thought, If I'm simultaneously trying to remember what side of the road I'm on, at the same time I'm making my feet do different things, I think this might be a danger, so I opted for a different bike, but at any rate, you asked me what I'm writing, so I'm writing a piece for him, and he asked me specifically to address women and riding. And that's something that I've never liked to think about because I've always wanted to address the stuff that I thought was most important. Not that I'm saying women aren't important. Riding itself is not and cannot be a gendered activity. It's a physical activity, space meeting body through the medium of mechanics, basically. It doesn't matter what gender that body is, that's not going to change the fundamental experience. What it does change, as I realized as I'm writing it, is it changes how I've been perceived. The people outside of me experience Uh, gendered witnessing, that's always been an issue. I mean, it was obviously a much bigger issue 25 years ago when women were like maybe 8 percent of the riding population and now what is it? If

Robin: only there was a way for me to get this information from the sky, I will look this up right now, 20, 23, 19%.

Melissa: That's changed enormously. And also population has gone up. So percent of much greater population overall is going to be, there's a lot of women out there. And when I first started writing, it was. Going to gatherings and rallies and whatnot, where there would be hundreds or thousands of writers, and I would see very, very few people who looked like myself. Yeah. So it's sort of strange and alienating if you stop to think about it, or if somebody brings it to your attention.

Robin: Yeah, so if you don't keep it a neutral topic, then it ceases to be the topic. Yeah. To some extent. Or becomes something else. It gets augmented. Well, it was

Melissa: never anything that I brought up. I was just thinking, I'm a writer just like all of you, right?

Robin: Yeah, writer. Mm hmm. Yeah. Not writer a.

Melissa: Right. Right. And then somebody would invariably bring it to my attention by either sort of erasing me from the scene. I literally had the experience of riding into some place with a male riding partner, parking, and having men go over to him, point to my bike and say, Oh, is that an Italian bike? How does it ride? And I'm sitting there on this bike. No kidding.

Robin: And this has been our interview with lady, female writer, who's a woman, Melissa. It is a confusing thing. So what we're doing with the podcast, he says, I like to keep it really balanced. I want it. Just radical inclusion. We want to get a lot of ladies on the show, but not to talk about the fact that they are ladies that are on the show at the same time, if he wants to get more of a voice, that's going to reach the female audience in India, then the trick is to just give them a voice. That's all. Yeah. Put them in an opportunity. Yes. Opposable thumbs are a common denominator, right? So they can get on the thing and they're equally capable of writing into a brick of wall as I

Melissa: am. Exactly. Yep.

Brian: Yeah. I just finished a few days ago. I finished the man who would stop at nothing. So it's still fresh. It's still steeping the teas and you know, a couple of things that really just hit me harder in that book and this may be random and maybe you're tired of hearing about it. So let me know. There's some in there about finding your way back to motorcycling and you almost got dragged back to riding by, uh, John Ryan, John Ryan, his name's right here and it's all over the book. Yeah. You almost got dragged back to it. You felt like the, the community. I've kind of had that experience of bringing someone back to motorcycling, reintroducing them, planning the perfect day so they would realize, and it worked, you know, like, Oh yeah, I, I really enjoy this. I just thought that was really interesting to that. Have you kind of maintained it ever since? Or has it been sort of. Have you had to come back and go away or are you pretty much in for life?

Melissa: That experience of being away and then coming reluctantly back, but once I was, I said to myself, I will never again be without a motorcycle. I don't want that life. This is the life. That I want and that I have now, but it had to be sort of manufactured out of the debris of an exploded life really is what happened to me. You know, it's a lot of people go through this experience, unfortunately, but it was. pretty traumatic shattering of the life that I had, and it happened suddenly and sort of violently. And I was really just sort of desperately trying to pick up the pieces and thinking, what am I going to do now? And where am I going to live? And how am I going to make a living? And how am I going to raise my son? And I was asking what I thought were The really important questions, but John Ryan was out there in the ether going, I know the answer to all of your questions, Melissa, and it's to get back on a bike. I kept resisting because it seemed like that's the kind of frill that you can afford once you have everything figured out, but what he knew was that, in fact, it figures life out for you. When you prioritize something that gives you pleasure on such a deep, deep level, that is the organizing factor of life. You don't impose it from outside. Everything in my life that I have now that's good grew out of His realization that motorcycling was central to life. I have a Spanish publisher, actually a friend, and she and her husband have started a small publishing Imprint only publishes motorcycle books in Spanish.

Robin: One word niche.

Melissa: Yes, right, exactly. Their slogan and every publicity pitch and their bookmarks and everything is printed with, I, I'm not going to try to say it in Spanish because I don't speak Spanish. Translated is motorcycle save and over and over and over. I've seen this in people's lives and I've lived it in my own. Motorcycle saved me.

Robin: I have an incredibly sensitive question for you then. If you're not comfortable with this, I'll edit it out. I think that I tell the story wrong. I think that I am ill informed and I'm fully willing to own that. What took John Ryan from us?

Melissa: We'll actually never really know. It was an accident on the highway where he was heading to lunch with somebody and for whatever reason, whether it was a medical emergency or who knows, he decided he needed to turn around and he went into an illegal, uh, turn around and I think thought that he could outpace the car in the passing lane and miscalculated. I don't want to speculate. He was diabetic. It could have been related to that. It was just a huge tragedy.

Robin: Thought that I read it. I was like, it sounded like an aneurysm or like he was doing what he was doing and then he was just gone. By the way, I was astounded by everything that you had to say in that book. I think because it was the most recent book that I read of your writing that that's when I was like, that one, that one got me too. I bring it up a lot. It's also not, I would, it's not something I ever want to do. What is wrong with these people? Why am I still reading this book? And I'm like, okay, I can't stop. You

Melissa: mean extreme long distance riding? That whole thing?

Robin: Just that way for 30, 000 miles. Yeah.

Brian: Yeah, your commitment to the story by doing an Ironbutt yourself was commendable. I, not on my radar, you know, and I think a lot of people that

Melissa: way. I really think that they're wired completely differently. Yeah. We look at them from the outside and say, Oh my God, these people are insane. But their level of passion and drive is unparalleled, I think.

Brian: You have to respect that one of the things in the book that really super personally hit home for me was when this community, the Moto Guzzi people banded together and gave you a Lario, however, you say it in Italian, give you that motorcycle and. You talked about the emotion you felt. I've been the recipient of that kind of thing. The first broken leg, I'm sitting there and there's a knock on the door, and he answers the door, it's a UPS guy with a new laptop. Because my friends knew I didn't have a laptop, and I'd be bored for several weeks waiting for this leg to heal. It was crazy. And then a few years later, some people banded together to get me a motorcycle lift. And I've participated in stuff, you know, to give back to stuff. Does that make any sense at all to anybody who's not a writer, to other communities, that kind of thing happens a lot. I tell people about it. They're like, why, why, what?

Melissa: I think that the sort of tribal generosity of motorcyclists eclipses anything I've ever heard of from any other group, really. I mean, actually, to tell you the truth, the only. Other little subculture that I've ever experienced that kind of selflessness is, was among the dog owners in Brooklyn in the early years when Prospect Park was not the hipster haven it is now, and there were just a few of us. We really had to band together and we helped each other. I made a lifelong friend out of that, who I accompanied to his first chemo treatment at the VA, you know, because he was a dog person. I would do anything for him. He would do anything for me. That's what the motorcyclists that I know. Largely we'll do without question. That's the thing. It's not like they have to be persuaded or leaned on to be kind or to go beyond anything that you think you deserve. They just do it. They just quietly take it upon themselves to, you know, these grand gestures of love, support, companionship, shirt off their backs kind of

Brian: thing. One of the first things you talked about in your new career as a, uh, couples therapist. One of the answers that I would give to somebody, and I think it has helped in my own life is bring your partner into and meet these people and figure out how wonderful they are. My wife doesn't quite understand. She rode for a while. She learned how to ride. It was kind of a bucket list item. She rode with me for a while and for several years, she's just not been interested, but meeting the people I ride with. Meeting Robin, meeting Neal, meeting all those people and hearing us talk about it and the passion, you know, she's learned a lot. She's learned it's not just who's fastest, who can. That kind of thing. We talk about the science, we talk about the passion of it, and that has really helped a

Robin: lot. Well, we talk about what we got out of it too. You could see in the voice what was experienced. On a personal level, every ride is unique to the rider, even if they're going on long on the same road with one another. The difference in reflection, I think, when it pools in a group environment and people are just socializing. That has a massive effect on the listener, even if they don't ride. Cause they're a part of it. They're part of the hang.

Melissa: It's a shortcut to people's essential humanity. And that's what gets expressed. When you're riding with your buddies, you just, you feel as though their heart is exposed. All the BS gets stripped away and you're just humans caring for each other. That's another really beautiful thing.

Robin: It could be any topic at all. It could be crochet. If every person in the room is crocheting together and they're all crocheting for different reasons, I can't believe I'm saying this, but the fact of the matter, if you're the recipient of new information and you're the new person in the group and everybody is telling you a completely different dramatic reason why they are there, that's interesting. Yes. That is something worth hearing. You might be autistic or maybe it just helps you take your mind off of a loss. Either way, these are a dramatic differences in two people doing one thing. Whoever's going to get to arrive at that. If you're bringing them into the fold of this, I think you've done them a favor, even if it was like underwater basket

Melissa: weaving. Anything that stirs passion like this activity, I can't help but think that anybody watching it from outside would say, I want to be a part of that, or I want to be a part of something that is that big, something else, whatever it is. I'm sure that surfers have the same experience, their blood brothers. They're in it for life. They'll help out in any way they can because they speak the same language and it's going through things together that binds us. Yeah.

Brian: Yeah. You see some of the same things and people who've been in the military and combat, things like that. Although motorcycling is a lot more fun. You see those strong bonds form. One of the things that really surprised me about the man who'd stop at nothing, those last four paragraphs of that book hit me like a shovel in the face. I mean, it was just, I was kind of expecting a nice little soft landing, you know, like, okay, then we're going to wrap it up and we're going to have a nice image and go off into the sunset. And then you're actually at the end of the book, you named it, you spoke the unspeakable. You said this book is about death or motorcycles as a life force and a death force at once. Wow, that was heavy and I get that I've we probably all seen too much death, but we've also seen so much life That's why we're here and I've been on an edge. I've been seriously injured and I still come back that was I'm almost getting inarticulate now. The last two paragraphs did deliver that nice Wonderful analogy of motorcycling is music and things like that and I get that too Robin and I are both musicians But yeah, that bit where you just said, okay, here it is. I'm going to name this thing. We don't name when we don't talk about it. I'm going to talk about it. And it was like,

Melissa: because in the end, why would motorcycling be so important if it wasn't really a metaphor for life and life is. Oncoming death, that is what it is. I mean, pretending that we're going to live forever. It's not dealing with reality. I think that the darkness makes the light shine all the brighter. I really do feel that motorcycles are the ultimate metaphor for what the hay we're doing here. This is it. Their purpose. Yeah, they express everything.

Robin: You've got me on my best behavior. You don't have to be careful with your language unless that's just how you roll. And I'm being very careful with my language because I think that's how you roll.

Melissa: No, it's actually, I've got the worst putty mouth. Oh my God. I cannot stop myself. Well, fucking A. Yeah, all the time.

Robin: The line that I say often, and I've been using it more and more in the past couple of years, the thing about life is none of us are getting out of this alive. I don't even always know what that means, but when I do, I feel it. Coursing through every fiber of my being, you know, live

Melissa: what that book in part was about was I say that crossing the bridge of 50 changed a lot of my life because I suddenly realized, Oh, that's right. It's finite, man. This thing is going to be over and I can feel it now. Death becomes real after a certain point. And if it doesn't, I'm sorry, you're fooling yourself and you're also losing out on the opportunity to organize your life so that you can get done the things that are really important to do. I spent way too long imagining that I could do this and then I can do that. No, sure. I'm going to do that and that and that. And now I'm like, actually, no, you're not because each one of those things you just said is a 10 year investment and you don't have another 80 years. I'm not going to be the record holding. Longest lived person ever known, it's not going to happen. So let's focus on the things that can be done and which are most important to do. I know what I want to do and now I'm trying to get those things done. Not because I'm thinking I'm going to kick off any minute now. Hopefully that ain't going to be true, but. I don't know, and that uncertainty gives us certain bittersweetness that I think is sort of truer to the reality of life. Yeah,

Robin: I just pictured that as an apple on a tree, the tangibly accessible, the one that you land your eyes on first, and you're going to go ahead and follow through on reaching for. I'm going to seize the day right now and say that this is too perfect of an opportunity to bring this up. I have to do it. And that's that my current Beamer, my bike, I got it in 18, it's a 16R1200RS and it's maiden voyage was about death. I rode from Chicago in 20 degree weather to Florida and I was going for an iron butt, didn't make it cause I'm not super bright and didn't realize that I could have just gone to bed and gotten up in the next morning and picked up where I left off. I thought I had to do it all in one sitting. That ride for my oldest brother in memoriam to him. Well, my youngest brother is now gone, and I'm now, in six years, I'm at 100, 000 miles on this bike. And I'm trying to decide if this should be its concluding voyage to go to his memorial on the opposite coast in California. Leave it to me to use my brother's death as an excuse to say it's time for me to buy the Suzuki GSX 8 R. That's the question. Do I need to conclude this chapter of my writing life and pick up a different bike? Man, that sounds weird when I repeat

Melissa: it. It's not weird at all because you're looking for the beautiful statement, but, but, but, you have to ask yourself, do you need any more to imbue this Earth shattering event with any more meaning than it already possesses. It's already big. It's already meaningful. You can do it on whatever bike. Okay. Now I'm wearing my psychoanalyst hat. It feels to me like trying to control the uncontrollable by applying an external structure,

Robin: a division in time,

Melissa: leaving it. Some kind of a literary effect, far be it from me, a writer, to disc literary effects. But what I'm saying is, I wouldn't force it if it doesn't feel like the right thing or the right bike to do this on. And guess what? Nobody needs an excuse to get the bike they want. Well,

Robin: that's a good

Brian: point. You need to take that sound bite out and, and plaster it somewhere. Get it tattooed. Nobody needs an excuse.

Robin: I have to say though, that I'm enormously offended because with everything you just said, now I have to look up what imbue means and that seems like work.

Melissa: Yeah, sorry.

Robin: So you're saying keep the bike, don't keep the bike. Doesn't matter. Just chill out and go do what you got to do.

Brian: Just do the thing.

Melissa: The bike issue is separate from the attached meaning because you had an unfortunate peg on which to hang the first ride.

Brian: Yeah. One of the more meaningful rides I've ever done was. A friend of mine's family said, you know, Hey, can you carry his ashes to where we're going to scatter them on your bike, on your motorcycle? And it was like. Early March and almost snowing and several of us showed up on motorcycles for kind of a memorial gathering forum. They're like, hey, can you carry this? Just take him for one last ride. It was amazing. There's something I had to do. And then we all like stood around under a picnic shelter and we helped his family. Understand who he was. No. No. You, we saw the real him. You guys haven't seen him. . Yeah. You guys that grew up with him, didn't know him. we stood under that picnic shelter and told silly stories to his family. It was an amazing thing all around for all of us. You know, his family got to know something they didn't know, and we got to share that. One question I had is, you dug into the long distance riding subculture quite a bit. Are there any others out there that are that nutty, or are they pretty much top of the heap? I

Melissa: didn't know. I mean, it was really meeting John, and then slowly Realizing what it was that he was doing was like a crevice opening in the earth's crust. Not that I'm the world's most experienced writer and I've been everywhere and done everything and know everything. I didn't. I think maybe I devoted one or two sentences to the Iron Bud Association in my first book just as a way of saying, you know, wow, look, there are these people over there doing that and then those people over there doing that. I didn't know that it really was. An entire world with its own language and customs and flag and, you know, the whole nine yards. I don't know, but I'm sure there are. It just made me realize that if I could be so late in my riding career as to discover this whole new Galaxy, basically there have to be others every bit as intense and thorough going and big and all of that that I'm not aware of. I'm just probably not going to write a book about them. If I do at this point,

Brian: you'll find them in racing copies. I think that's probably obvious. Outside of racing and long distance riding, it's really hard to think of anybody that's that far out there. Maybe I just haven't encountered him

Robin: yet. Melissa Holbrook Pearson, if you write a book about anything involving racing, I will read it, then I'll read it upside down, then I'll eat it, hoping that I'm using osmosis.

Melissa: I'll tell you what. The first time I. experience, like what the privateers were doing a long time ago, that struck me as big as the whole long distance riding thing. And I tried a lot to interest An independent documentarian to do a film about it because it really does lend itself, I think, to a film exploration and nobody was interested. It's like, oh my God, this, these people, I mean, there weren't there. Talk about nuts

Brian: on any Sunday, kind of got there a little bit. What was a Ford versus Ferrari? It was about racing these four wheel things. But other than that. It did a very good job of, you know, there have been some good movies to get into the racer's head a little more, but those, that one did a better job than most, but yeah, no one's actually gotten there yet. Yeah.

Robin: I want to tie this to the discussion, one man caravan. I was so happy that you recommended it. I read it. If I had to remember three things about it, the biggest one I remember was the communication in the middle of the desert. Anybody who was over five miles from their neighbor could not understand their neighbor. This person lives five miles away, but we are so remote that we have to use sign language with each other. And we're still speaking the same language. What kind of pike cottony noise has happened in that country at that time that there was no, it all had to be like thumbs, fingers, rock, paper, scissors. That threw me for a whirl. I had to sit on that one for a minute. I was also, I think. The end of the journey just seemed like a, this immediate day crescendo. Yeah. That's and that, that, that, that, that, that

Brian: I'm home.

Robin: And then I remember the, getting the bike shipped. That was interesting.

Melissa: Yeah. The first episode that you brought up to me underscores what I think is the greatest value of that book. It's a portrait of a world that is vanished, a world that was sort of continuous for thousands of years that changed in fundamental ways in our lifetimes. I don't know what to what you could lay that change, you know, whether it's. The digital revolution, or I don't know what it's complicated. I'm sure.

Brian: Yeah, I was going to say the thing I kept getting saddened by was that kind of trip would be very difficult or pretty much impossible. In a lot of places, like an American just can't go to some of those places or even anybody, the red tape at the borders and things like that, the modern day equivalents we have are like a Noraly Schroedermacher, uh, itchy boots on YouTube, who's battling her way through Africa, through epic mud. And there's still corners of the world where. It's just as challenging, but you get to see it in high def with drone footage and everything else, right? The red tape or the leash or the something has gotten, there's kind of a shorter leash over the years, and it's not just internet or whatever, you know, it's been governments tightening down and, you know, and like, Oh, you can't go here.

Melissa: In large part, it's hyper militarization of countries that borders have a different meaning now. It's a lot of different factors, but that's the thing that I appreciate the most about that book is that this world doesn't really exist anymore. Not in the way that he was able to experience it. He sort of got in under the wire, literally and figuratively both.

Robin: And more than once. Yeah.

Brian: Yeah, really. One of the things that really struck me, like, okay, the book's written in 1932, so I'm kind of bracing myself for, like, shall we say, some outdated attitudes and so forth, but it really was, he was super respectful almost all the time. It still gives you hope because you see that today that pretty much wherever you go, people are still people and most of them are pretty decent and you still see that today and you always will. I think I was like, Oh boy, this is going to be a little cringy in spots, you know, and keep in mind, this was an idiot in his twenties, you know, he was, he was like 2021 something like

Melissa: that. Well, an idiot who had gone to Harvard. Yeah,

Brian: but still

Melissa: he was very. Broad minded and open person who has the dual soul of the artist and the inventor. I want to just throw in another digression. That's the kind of book that I would always try to foist on my son who is a history major. He's really incredibly knowledgeable about The world and its people, and he knows stuff that would blow your mind.

Robin: Is he resistant

Melissa: to it? If mom says, Hey, you should read this, that's his signal to go, Yeah, never. But, get this, he's been writing for a long time a novel, it's sort of fan fiction after a video game that he really likes, and I guess it's the thing that the young people do. It has to do with international intrigue and the CIA and blah, blah, blah. And he asked me to read it, so I've been reading it. And all of a sudden I get to a part where he describes, because it's sort of Cold War era, some of his characters getting rescued by Skyhook. Do you know what Skyhook is? Yes. Okay, you know what Skyhook is. You were in the CIA? No. Okay. All right. No clue. It's something that when I visited Robert Fulton, he explained to me and he showed me the drafts. He showed me here's how it works. I posed the question to myself, how do we rescue someone behind enemy lines? Where a plane cannot land. How do we do this? And so he dreamed up this. It sounds like the most elegant of inventions because it seems impossible. You can't even imagine how he worked this out in his head and moreover made it. And he was. At the time that I met him, he was manufacturing this for the United States government and he was getting phone calls though. Excuse me. I got it. Got to take this call and you know, yes, we're, you know, we're producing that part right now or whatever.

Robin: You've got to walk a quick, give Brian the low down because I think he's sitting there just like, what

Brian: I'm picturing it. Yeah. Okay.

Melissa: I'm not sure of the exact plane that they use. I maybe that's not. necessary, but it's fitted with a, uh, like a V shaped armature, the nose of the plane. In your kit that you get, it can be dropped to you, will be a suit that's connected to a balloon. And you inflate the balloon, it goes up, it's connected to your suit, then the plane circles back, and the fork picks up the balloon, and therefore you. And because of the way that physics works, or aerodynamics, or whatever, you'll just rise sort of slowly, even if the plane is going at plane speed, whatever that is. Angular geometry. Okay, that's exactly what it is, and then they winch you up into the plane, and that's how, that's how you, the plane doesn't need to land, blah, blah, blah. So, in my son's story, this happens to one of the characters, and I'm able to go, You're writing about Skyhook? Well, see this book? That's the inventor, and I met him, and he hit the floor. You're kidding. Is he still alive? And I'm like, no, sorry. You missed it.

Robin: But you finally landed the, you convinced him he he's read the book. Wow.

Brian: That is a moment. Any parent would. Yeah.

Melissa: I gained some tiny shred of credibility in his eyes because I not only met this guy, I saw where. This thing was being made and I understood it from the mouth of the inventor.

Robin: That's heavy. I will say this, that JetBlue is looking at that for a new pickup method, so that's another reason we don't like flying. We'll just stick to motorcycles.

Brian: If you go on YouTube, you can find video of people training and using that system. YouTube. You slowly get yanked up into the air by this airplane. Yeah. Apparently it's a lot of

Robin: fun. If KTM keeps doing what they're doing with some of the heights of their bikes, they're going to need that anyhow, so they'll be part of the

Brian: system it comes with. Come with a trampoline. Yeah. We have

Robin: time for one more segment. And then we need to conclude things.

Melissa: I had a question that sort of just popped into my head today. I wanted to pose to both of you just to sort of double check my own sanity, which, you know, granted I admittedly questionable.

Robin: Sanity, wrong crowd, but please, by all means.

Melissa: Well, as experienced riders too, this is the question, especially for somebody who. Teaches writing, do you ever replay close calls in your mind? Yeah. Does it like come to you unbidden, especially if you were to say, pass the site? As I do, I almost every day I pass the site of. A close call that just haunts me. How did I live through that? Why did I live through that? Why did I even do what I did? I know the rationale. It doesn't make any sense when you're looking at it from a sense standpoint. I don't know why I did what I did and I don't know how I lived through it. I vividly recall a few of those in the past 10 years. Times one. I got so close to the end there and I only knew it afterwards, shit, that could have been it.

Brian: Yeah, been there, done that. Yeah, got the t

Robin: shirt. My answer is going to be methodical. And it comes from the fact that I'm always seeing them from having experienced them ahead of me. The constant state of anticipation and the window of time of what is happening ahead versus what has already gone by. That's that buffer zone of what I'm electing to process and whether or not that's safe. Well, there's eyes outside looking in and there's what I'm feeling, thinking, and prepared for on my own. Those can be two very different things when it comes to teaching motorcycling. I'm getting a little bit pedestal here. I don't teach. I coach, I coach motorcycling. The curriculum does the work. The students teach themselves. I iterate it and I know enough to decide whether or not they've taken what I've read correctly. And that's all data driven. I trust it. I believe in the MSF curriculum, even if I make fun of it, or if I'm tired of doing it. I love that so far. Okay. The students. They are in charge of their own learning. I am there to help facilitate that. One thing we avoid is any of my ghost stories. My doom and gloom doesn't belong anywhere in what's supposed to be a positive. Experience for them. However, the one thing we can do is get them to admit to themselves, whether out loud or under their breath, who they are to themselves, who are you and what are you prepared to tell yourself? From the guy's perspective, in my most immature standpoints, you want to get the girl. You want to be the cool guy. Okay. Do you really think that twisting the throttle is what's going to do that? Because you better know how to handle the throttle. Once you do, I don't want to go there. None of it should ever be a negative. I want it to be a positive and I want them to come away being like, wow, I should probably learn more because the same ghost stories you're talking about. The thing I say most often to myself is wow. I should probably learn more and often I

Melissa: do. Believe me, I learned hard lessons from those close calls. Um, hopefully I'll always remember them and implement what

Robin: I learned. Hold on now. Once again, insulted. Implement. Multiple

Brian: syllables. I mentioned earlier, I broke my leg three times, been in three accidents. So there's only one way you get a call closer than that. I guess the movie replays in your head over and over in 3d surround sound, crunch of vision. One of the things I've had to do is right over that spot on the disc, make some better movies, go out and make some better memories, rewrite and rewrite, and have many more miles that go a lot better than that. The other thing, this is kind of weird, but has really helped me deal with fear, deal with panic, acknowledge the fear, it's there, but I can't let it control me. Dual sport riding has been really pretty helpful in that. The first time I fell off my motorcycle off road, I was just a mess. It was the worst thing in the world. Oh, God, I, I need to go home. I need to lie down. And over time you learn, oh, you can fall off a motorcycle and it's not the end of the world. And I don't want to say you learn how to fall, but you learn how not to panic. You learn how to react. That helps a lot too. And like Robin was alluding to earlier, if you can keep the fear and the panic from taking over, you can keep flying the plane. Keep control of the motorcycle. Never give up control of the motorcycle. There's a rock ahead of you. Don't stare at it. Get, don't get target fixated, steer around it. And again, you know, we're, we're going to tell ghost stories. What the hell? This

Robin: is a podcast. We, yeah, we can say whatever the

Brian: hell we want. We can do whatever we want. We can do it. Okay. First broken leg. It was hamburger grease on a curve on a, on a city street. One of my memories from that that I hang on to is that as I was sliding out, I have a distinct memory of the engine speeding up because by God, I was flying the plane. I was staying in the throttle, trying my best to save it. And number two, got hit by a car steering left in front of me accident. One of the things I have to hang on to from that is I don't know what the car looked like, because I was looking where I wanted to go, like I was supposed to, and I was cranking that throttle, and I was leaned, I was trying to, the car was going in front of me, and I was trying to, my best option was to ride around the front of it. Maybe they would see me and stop. I have no memory of the car itself. And, you know, I didn't hit my head or anything. I wasn't even looking at the damn thing. The car was a pair of headlights that I needed to get around. So you have to hang on to things like that. Third one was a deer. And I was like, there's nothing good there, but figure out how to write over those memories so they don't take control of you later on.

Robin: I had a recent one, New Mexico, 52 slash 59. My go to 52 goes to Winston, New Mexico. Look it up. Nothing, nothing, small, local provider building, whatever the feed store kind of thing, coffee, pulled pork sandwich, whatever 59, which comes after it is As far as pavement is concerned, it's the most hazardous road that I've personally ever tried because everything about it is a non repetitive mindfuck.

Brian: Sounds like Indiana.

Robin: It is trying to trick me at all times. And then there's gravel and then there's not. And I come around this top banked right hander. Here comes a pickup truck holding a gooseneck. They're going to have to go wide and they have to turn into me. I've got them, I've got the gravel and I've got the inside lane to try to tighten up and trail breakthrough with a full slide. And they're looking at me. I'm telling you, that guy had green eyes. The fact that he's making this turn familiar, being on the machine often is so important. So if you're on the bike enough that you're. Decisions are going to happen this quickly. I didn't take a moment. I knew that. Well, okay. Here's how the situation is. I immediately took my eyes off the truck, looked deeper in, hooked it harder to the right, turned into the corner and used the two and a half feet of road I had to get through the turn. And I was probably going. Turn was probably a 25 or, you know, I was probably cooking 40 that stuck with me for the rest of the day. So I think the, if you have a lot of them, that's not good. You got to have the, like the reflexes and the decision making process to not let them affect you because that is an out and back, I have to ride back from this.

Brian: I'm going to tell one more that I don't know what to make of this. I learned something about myself and I don't know what it is. So no shit. There I was. No. So

Robin: a priest, a rabbi

Brian: bar, it just started raining. We're on, we're actually just kind of skedaddling for home dual sport ride, but we're on knobbies. We're on the highway and I'm getting ready to turn left at a, at a light, go into the turn lane and the front end just goes, you know, like it does sometimes when it just starts raining, you have to bear in mind there's usually antifreeze and all kinds of crap on the road. And anyway, the front end just. So there's two lanes of state highway. We're in turn lane. The bike and I go shooting off to the right, like right across two lanes of busy state highway. This is 37 in Indiana, right outside of Bedford. In case you've been there, Robin. And I'm like flat on my belly sliding along the bike. So sliding along, I don't know what inspired this thought. I'm almost frightened of myself. I remember digging in my. Fingers, so I could rotate around the only thought in my head was, I want to see it. I just knew there had to be a semi coming to turn me into hamburger, but I had to turn myself around. I wanted to see it. Those words were in my head. I want to see it. And I'm clawing at the pavement as I'm sliding and by some miracle, obviously I made it. There wasn't anybody there. I got up, I walked over to where my bike was, picked it up, I actually walked it back across the road, you know, it's a KLR, it's armored up, it was fine.

Robin: I can feel the churchgoers typing their emails.

Brian: Yeah, I have no idea why there wasn't any traffic that day, because it's usually just Non stop, but I want to see it. I don't know what

Melissa: I think that's just a human animal response. We want to look at what's pursuing us, what could conceivably crush us or kill us. That's where you come down to instinct. And so often to keep ourselves safe, we have to break the hold of instinct on us. Object fixation is. It's a completely natural thing to do, but we have to act unnaturally to break that and remind ourselves, no, look away. I don't want to look away from a danger because it might

Robin: get you. You got to pose your own question and do something with that. I want to know.

Melissa: One of them is so embarrassing. I'm never going to tell anybody. I,

Brian: I, nobody, nobody's gonna hear this. It's just us. It's just us. I'll nobody,

Melissa: I'll tell you, I'll tell you two related, but stupid. Maybe not quite as stupid as the one I won't talk about. The spoiler alert lesson is following closely is never a good idea. I get a little panicked when I'm following my boyfriend. He's the one with the GPS. We're in a place. I don't know. I don't want to lose him. Oh my God. Oh my God. Of course we could get lost. We have cell phones. We could get separated. We could always find each other. Don't do anything dangerous to stay together. Right. Yeah, but it was. A case where we're on a multi lane highway in a city. Traffic is moving incredibly fast. I'm staying close behind him. Oh my god, there's construction. There's a lane that we're in is splitting off from the other two lanes and does that mean that we're going to miss where we need to exit? All of a sudden, at the last minute, he goes left and there's the big stanchion that's separating these lanes and I'm heading right toward it and I had to really crank over and it was a little too close for comfort. And similarly, another time, a state highway, two lane state highway. But there's a ton of traffic, somebody is riding my tail and I hate that. Yeah. I tap my brake, tell him to back off, but he was having none of it. And then my boyfriend with the GPS realizes, Oh, there's our turn. He breaks hard, makes the turn, but I'm now about to rear end him. And then maybe get rear ended by the person who's following closely behind me. That was the first time I'd ever experienced what anti lock brakes do. And that shocked the hell out of me.

Brian: Doesn't feel

Robin: right, does it? Yeah.

Melissa: What is happening? Oh my god, oh my god. You know, but I did, I braked and I I made the turn, but then I was like, why did I just risk my life to make that turn? I could have gone ahead, pulled in somewhere right ahead. I knew that he took that turn and followed, you know, why did I do that?

Robin: If I had the rights to this song, I would use it as the outro, but Aquarium Rescue Unit song is called Space is the Place. It's a great, great jam band tune from the nineties. But I just remembered that. It wasn't part of the curriculum, but one of my coaching mentors once said to the class, you know, if somebody's tailgating you, just roll off the throttle. You don't have to hit the brakes. Just start to coast down and start putting lots of space in front of you. Yeah. If they don't get the message, they don't get the message. But either way, you've got the buffer that you need. Yeah. I have to say that it's time to wind this down. And it has been exactly the honor and pleasure that I anticipated it would be. And I made a discernible effort to calm my butt down, sit down and just hang out with human beings and talk about motorcycles in the presence of greatness. Thank you for writing the books that you do. I can't thank you enough for being here.

Brian: Thank you very much. Yeah, this has been great. Melissa Holbrook

Melissa: Pearson. Thank you both.

The Gist

As contractually obligated by our guest, Brian and Robin completed One Man Caravan by Robert Edison Fulton, Jr. Their reward? The fact that it's an excellent read (more than enough).

But having motorcyclist and author Melissa Holbrook Pierson suggest it ... icing on the cake. As bottomless topics go, the trio dives into a meandering conversation before making mention of it. Once they do, more of Fulton's back story comes to light.

Literature, world travel and unmentionable close calls, this ride's got it all. The song remains the same, though in that the community will always be there for us. Pour a pinch of whiskey, kick back and warm up to all things "why".

Guest Host

J. Sokohl

Riders all around the world know Melissa Holbrook Pierson. Her writing has tugged at the heart strings of countless two wheeled hooligans and aspiring travellers alike. If you haven't read any of her work, this interview will surely inspire you to grab your readers.

Kit We're "Blatantly Pushing You To Buy"

Did We Miss Sump'm?

Sixty percent of the time, we're right every time. What would you add to the conversation and why? Your input is invited. Leave a comment!

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