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Here are the pleasures and perils of compulsive long-distance motorcycling and one man's mission to outride everyone else.
For the 50,000 members of the Iron Butt Association (also known as the "World's Toughest Motorcyclists") long-distance motorcycling is not a pastime but an obsession. These men and women push the limits of human endurance, often in rides of more than 1,000 miles a day. Perhaps the most determined of them is John Ryan, a diabetic, middle-aged man who loves nothing better than riding impossible distances at no small risk to himself. But why? Melissa Holbrook Pierson, herself a longtime motorcyclist, chronicles the gratifications of long-distance riding as well as the challenges and solitude that accompany it. In seeking to understand why people strive so mightily to reach a goal with no reward other than having gotten there, Pierson gives us an intimate glimpse of a singularly independent yet supportive community and a revealing portrait of its most daring member.