I’m halfway through five different motorcycle memoirs right now: two by men, two by women, and one by a philosopher. I can’t seem to finish any of them. They’re scattered about my room, rather like the tools and parts you see strewn around a Harley. My writing-teacher friend Wendy says I’m going about market research for my own motorcycle memoir the wrong way. “You don’t actually read the whole thing!” she tsks to me. But I’m compelled to get to the end, like any book I read, though these motorcycle books don’t at all grab me and suck me in like a jeans hem caught in a bike chain.
I expressed my dissatisfaction with Charley Boorman’s Race to Dakar by blowing a strawberry in bed one night and turning off the reading light, then explaining to the Man I Married, “I just read two pages about the modifications to a BMW X5, which isn’t even a motorcycle. Who would want to read that boring tripe?”
MIM’s voice floated up out of the darkness, “Someone like Alan might cream his jeans reading those two pages. It’s all about audience.”
Too true about knowing your reader. But cream his jeans? So the male brain contains a switch in which he thinks he’s in a garage with his buddies and a can of Bud just by the mere mention of re-outfitting something with an engine. I wonder what I could hypnotize him into blurting out with juicy enchantments like the slow enunciation of double clutch or carburetor flush? Once this “classic” car is parked for the night, it usually stays put in the garage, but I might trick his reptilian brain into hot-wiring the ignition and getting some sparks flying by murmuring, “Cowl and chassis conversion.”
The fact of the matter is that there are very few motorcycle memoirs by women. Search “motorcycle women” on the internet and find mostly women sporting a silicone rack and not much else. Search “motorcycle women” on Amazon and find books like Wicked Women: Black Widows, Child Killers, And Other Women In Crime. Well, at least that would be way more interesting than reading about the monocoque construction of an X5. I know quite enough about monococks, thanks much.