Pilgrimage on a Steel Ride: A Memoir About Men and Motorcycles

Pilgrimage on a Steel Ride: A Memoir About Men and Motorcycles
Author: Gary Paulsen
Edition year: 1997
HorizonsUnlimited reviews:

If you're looking for this book, it has been newly reprinted (word for word) under the title, _Zero to Sixty: The Motorcycle Journey of a Lifetime_.
I love many of Gary Paulsen's books. I've heard Gary discuss his books at a bookstore appearance; Gary appears to be a very genuine, intelligent, and caring man and author.
BUT, this book seems to have been cobbled together to meet a contractual obligation. Not only is the book short, but the print line spacing is expanded to "fluff" the text. Typical books have 28 to 32 lines of text per page; this book has 24. The title doesn't even match: the journey isn't a "pilgrimage," since the length of trip is more important than the destination. While the book is in part about Gary Paulsen's relationship with motorcycles and journeys, it isn't about "men and motorcycles." There's some glorification of how a Harley, different from any other motorcycle, "brought me out of myself, out ahead of myself, into myself, into the core of what I was, what I needed to live," but no thought about WHY the Harley brand does this for Gary -- or why other motorcyclists feel that other brands fit THEIR soul. (See _The Perfect Vehicle: What It is about Motorcycles_ for Melissa Holbrook Pierson's take on her relationship with her Moto Guzzi.)
_Pilgrimage_ contains some interesting insights into Gary Paulsen's life, and has some beautifully written passages: but that's what you might expect in a long magazine interview.
The profanity is inappropriate and very stilted. Further, the profanity suddenly and almost totally stops halfway through the book at the start of chapter five -- almost as if an editor said, "Gary, you've got to throw some profanity into the first half of the book. After all, it is a 'Harley book.'" Who knows -- maybe the same editor later said, "hey, let's put out the same book under a different title and not tell anyone."
Borrow this book if you must read it -- it's a very quick read. But DON'T give up on Gary Paulsen if this is your first book of his -- he's an excellent writer -- just not here -- and perhaps not in his other directly autobiographical books.

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