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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2007
The world changes and often just for the sake of it. It's reassuring that Harley Davidson have allowed their product to mature rather than let it be revolutionised by a committee of consultants. And while suburban America may be the epitome of modern sanitized living, its good to read that off the beaten tracks Americans are still....well Americans. After all the `Wild West' is only just beyond living memory and between the coasts the great expanses have only just become witness to the hand of man as the following testifies:-

"Towering white clouds gathering for the afternoon storm painted their shadows over the land, while far away, tall grain silos glimmered like ghosts on the boundaries of perception. Lazy buzzards hovered, finger feathers at their wing ends eternally trimming their flight as they hung from up currents, seeking casualties from the wild side that men do not notice. At last the road was clear."

And that's how Englishman Tom Cunliffe describes the day that he and Roz open up their Harleys for the first time on American back roads in "Good Vibrations". If further review is necessary then one should add that this is a real travel book and it reads as if much is left to chance, as it should be. Indeed this is a journey that any of us could make. The photographs have an amateurish quality and could have been pulled from the album of any of us. That's not a criticism its one of the books many merits.

Thankfully Tom and Roz are not celebrity travellers with an itinerary thinly veiled as spontaneous. The people they meet are ordinary everyday Americans living lives beyond the gaze of the media looking glass. This is all real.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 June 2001
Tom Cuncliffe was a new name to me but having read "Good vibrations" I am hoping he sticks to bikes. This well crafted book finds the balance of appealing to bikers whilst still providing an interesting insight into the people that Tom and Ros meet on the way. In short it is an excellent travel book in its own right and for those of the two wheeled brigade it has bikes too. You are rocked and rolled across the US in easy style. At a deeper level there is considerable insight into state of the nation and the way things have changed, not necessarily for the better. A ripping good read that appeals whether you ride or not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2001
Like Topsail and Battleaxe by the same author, a sailing story which appeals to the sailor and landlubber alike, this is a biking story which will appeal to anyone with an interest in travel and people, as well as to bikers.
Tom Cunliffe's style is down to earth and honest. He writes very well about the people and places he and his wife Roz visit on their trip on two Harley-Davidsons from the US East Coast to the West Coast and back again. The trip itself was clearly a bit if an endurance test, but the writing doesn't stress it.
Tom wastes little time raving on about biking, an old love, although there is plenty to interest the Harley enthusiast. Like all good writers, he has a gift of making the reader feel included in the story. Check out some of the sessions in a variety of motels and bars, as well as hospitable homes throughout the USA - you'll want to be there too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2004
Good Vibrations by Tom Cunliffe charts his journey with his wife Roz on two Harleys across America, covering 12,000 miles in some 3 months. The journey itself is remarkable, well researched, beautifully descriptive and for those with more than a passing interest in motorcycles a joy to read. Tom is not obsessive about the bikes but there is enough detail to keep the readers interest. He describes both the American scenery and the people he meets with candour and affection. The last section of their journey from Las Vegas to Annapolis seemed rushed, with only a few sentences to cover both Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon, with barely a few pages on their stop over in New Orleans.
Whilst I would not hesitate to recommend this book, having finished it I was disappointed that I knew Tom no better than when I started. What motivated him? Why this route across America?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2009
I am delighted to record that, having finished this book, I cannot understand why so much negative opinion has been posted about this book - it (almost) inhibited me from purchasing, thank goodness I ignored it as, I thoroughly enjoyed this Travel Yarn and, would recommend it to anyone with an ounce of adventure in their soul.
The Author was already an experienced 'Biker' who, had previously lived and worked in the U.S.A. so understood their culture, so did not commence this travel adventure, together with his wife, as novices (like most of us would) so perhaps, arguabley, they might have sensibly avoided some of the incidents that befell them but, then it would result in a boring story - which it is not!

At such a modest cost, I can only suggest that you buy 'good vibrations' and, hopefully, enjoy it as much as I did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 June 2002
Having had a chance to meet the author through his sailing books, I thought I'd take a chance on something I gave up years ago, motorbikes. It was great. Traversing America via bikes has been done many times in books, and much more in reality, but in this book I got some keen insights into the USA today and the British author observing everything (and this coming from an American living in Britain). I felt his hope for the continuing future of America, despite the increasingly bureaucratic reality of a nation sewn up with risk transfer. His wife, Roz, seems more patient than most men could hope for, but that is probably the only fictional part in a stunningly frank tour of America, tourism itself and the need to find ways of chiseling away the formica of our lives to get to the MFI framing within.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2001
Absolutely superb, combining my love of travel and motorbikes. Tom and his wife Roz (who had just past her test before setting off on this adventure) take us across the real America as if we were the 3rd biker in their journey. You can feel the changes in people, climate, towns and cities as they ride from the east across to the west. Tom is a well travelled man who relates to previous journeys and experiences and compaires to modern day America. A very imspirational book which has left me thinking about taking 3 months out and living this once in a lifetime experience!. Let's hope Tom and Roz get the "call" again and set off on more book worthy journeys, perhaps Europe this time?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2003
This perfectly paced book, really captures the feel of a long trip by Harley ( I have 20+ years relevant experience). From the chaos and frustration of Baltimore the Harleys pull us away from worrying roads and personalities into the Blue Ridge mountains. The prairies lie north. We sit back in the saddle/arm chair, crack open the throttle/ can of beer, and settle down to the steady and compelling pace. All the way to the west coast and back again. What a ride. When I'm 90 and my memories are a bit hazy, I'll be convinced it must have been me that rode the black Harley across North America accompanied by a lovely woman on a yellow Sportster.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2000
We all think we know the USA. We have a clear picture of how America looks. But, American or not, when you get a hold of a copy of Good Vibrations you'll be in for a few surprises. The tale of an English couple, already with huge experience of life and travelling between them, going in search of the real people of America. The ones you don't ever hear about. On a pair of Harley Davidsons. Much, we find, has changed in North America in the last few hundred years. But a hell of a lot hasn't. And that's where the fun starts. This book drags you into 13,000 miles of the Real Life America. Though the Harleys often turn out to be the catalyst in this adventure, it's not all black leathers and bikers. Not at all. All kinds of fantastic characters fall into Tom and Roz's path. Just imagine an American movie (and a few others besides) from each of the last 6 decades and you're beginning to get there. Imminent threats to life and limb (or just ego), are never far from acts of amazing kindness and generosity. Easy Rider meets The Little House on The Prairie! Though the fluency of the writing makes it a fast read, this is no break-neck roller coaster ride. Subtle adjustments in the pace of the book reflect the places they get to and the people they find there. Thoughtful, persuasive, funny. And real life. A great read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2001
A thoroughly enjoyable book which is out and out fun to read. Having spent two years in the States I found it encapsulates all that is American, from east coast wariness, mid west openness to southern red necks. It sums up the Country. As a Harley owner the riding comments were sublime. From the viewpoint of a 'lover of the American way' the analysis is perfect.
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