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In the small theater of motorcycle journalism and on the even smaller stage of vintage motorcycles, there’s probably no writer better known than Peter Egan. A former mechanic and sometime motorcycle and car racer, Egan penned his first feature article for Cycle World in 1977. Other articles followed, and readers quickly warmed to Egan’s humorous, personal and insightful musings on motorcycles and motorcycling. In 1980 CW made the wise decision to hire Egan as a regular staffer, and for the next 33 years Egan became a fixture in the magazine, his monthly column, Leanings, becoming the first page many readers turned to when their new issue arrived.
In 2013 Egan announced his retirement, and his fans collectively despaired at the thought they’d no longer enjoy the reflections of the man who’d become the friend they’d never met. Egan has continued to make semi-regular feature appearances in CW, but his regular Leanings column ceased with the October 2013 issue. With the release of Leanings 3, however, Peter Egan fans can rejoice in the opportunity to read just about every column Egan wrote between 2005 and his final October 2013 “farewell.”
As the title suggests, Leanings 3 is the third in a series. The first, simply called Leanings, included his earliest features for CW along with selected Leanings columns from the 1980s up through 2002, with a decided focus on his work during the 1990s, a particularly rich period in Egan’s life as a motorcycle journalist. Leanings 2 pulled in more material from the 1980s and ‘90s, and columns and features up through 2004.
Leanings 3 takes us, ostensibly, to the end of Egan’s career at CW, covering his columns from 2005-2013 along with five features penned by Egan between 2006 and 2013. The material is recent enough that regular Egan fans will likely remember much of it, but that doesn’t detract from the enjoyment. Egan is one of the greatest writers and storytellers to ever have graced any motorcycle magazine’s pages, and whether you’re rereading a piece of his prose for the fourth time or just discovering him for the first, you’ll be rewarded and thankful for every page. Motorbooks: 304 pages, $28. To order a copy, go to the Motorcycle Classics online store. MC
Cover courtesy Motorbooks