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Good Vibrations: Coast to Coast by Harley (Summersdale travel) Paperback – 15 Oct 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Summersdale Publishers (15 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840241136
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840241136
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 20.1 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 770,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


''A pithy throbber of a book' --Chris Stewart (Author of Driving Over Lemons)

''Good tomes for bikers are few and far between, but Tom Cunliffe's account of an epic trip deserves to battle for bookshelf space with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.'' --Sunday Express

''There is only one way to see America and its people; chasing, finding and losing the real fantasy that is her dream, and that is astride a motorcycle ... Listening to Cunliffe'll understand why.'' --The Metro

About the Author

Tom was born in 1947. He was educated at a grammar school in the North of England before going on to read law at the University of Liverpool. In 1968 he left the world of academia behind him and has pursued a career in sailing ever since. Starting as an uncertified instructor in the South of France, he has served before the mast in small sailing ships, skippered yachts for private owners, raced offshore, been to sea as mate on a British-registered coasting vessel and taught sailing, seamanship and navigation at all levels. He is one of country's senior Yachtmaster Examiners and is a consultant for the governing body of sailing in the United States. In his own yachts he has cruised with his family and friends to destinations as diverse as Brazil, Iceland, the Caribbean and Russia. Tom has been a writer since 1986, he is a columnist for Yachting Monthly has authored 15 books, including two 'Best Book of the Sea' award winners for Topsail and Battleaxe and Hand, Reef and Steer. Tom has been riding motorcycles since 1965. The bikes have included a 250cc BSA C15 that taught him about mechanical breakdowns, a 650cc Matchless that almost killed him at the age of 19, various reliable Hondas and Yamahas in the 70s and 80s, a Kawasaki GPZ1100 whose performance you simply couldn't ignore, a 1979 Triumph Bonneville T140 and the star of Good Vibrations a Harley Davidson Soft-tail called Black Madonna. Tom is married to Ros, fellow biker and sailor. Together they have a daughter called Hannah. Check out his own website at www

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R de Bulat TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book right from the start and read it through over three days. A motorbike trip across America is a fantasy journey of a lifetime, for many and to read about it is as close as most of us will ever achieve; whilst no substitute, this book is a good way to fuel that dream over a cold winter or, in this case, spring, when the idea of riding anywhere is less than desirable and the heat of the American mid-west seems to beckon strongly. The book is well written and interesting as it details the journey out to California from its starting place in Maryland. The journey, by this account, is costly and, while the objective is to save money on the actual trip, funds where available for a half decent hotel and dinner from time to time, so it wasn't about roughing it, exactly. Nevertheless, Tom and Roz, his wife, meet interesting people and see all of the places you have heard about and catch up with old friends along the way. The story dips a bit as they rush the journey back and picks up just at the end, so that you are a little disappointed when it is all over and feeling hungry for more. Overall, this is a good read and a good description of travel across the United States: not a lot happens, other than touristy things - nothing really bad, a lot of interesting places and some really interesting people met along the way; comforting, in a way, that a trip like this is not made out to be too dangerous or beyond the realms of possibility. Recommended.
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I'm not going to repeat anything that other reviewers have written about this book.
I only knew of Tom Cunliffe from the sailing programmes he did on the BBC, I had no idea he was a life long biker.
This book is a cracking read about the trip he and his wife made on a pair of Harleys from Baltimore to San Francisco and back to Baltimore.
It kicks off trying to find a suitable hog for his wife when they arrive in the US, and the problems he had getting his Harley- which he shipped over from the UK for the trip, out of customs, plus the fun they had trying to get insurance cover in the US.
Once these problems were solved? the trip starts in earnest.
They go from Baltimore across country via the Cumberland Gap,Dodge City, Sturgis and the Grand Coolee dam.
The return journey is via Death Valley, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, New Orleans and Charleston.
But along the way they meet some real local characters, have a run-in with whatever the weather throws at them, the usual storm or hurricane.
All in all this must be the ideal trip of a lifetime for any biker!
A recommended read for anyone with an interest in travel, mega road trips or who just wants a real good read.
This book would definitely interest any biker, Harley rider or not, it's a trip most of us only dream of being able to do.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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