Motorcycle Consumer News - Book Review - Feb '02
by David L. Hough

Gathering Speed - Tales of Motorcycles and Life by David A. Braun - Flash #412

MCN Rating ****o

Here's a book about one man's motorcycling experiences and the colorful people he met along the way. No, this isn't one of those "adventure touring" books about someone hacking their way through the jungles of Panama, or breaking out of a cockroach-infested jail in Zimbabwe. The adventures in Gathering Speed are more like what any motorcycling gearhead would have experienced over the past twenty years or so, but told in a down-to-earth style that reminds me of... well, me.

Lots of would-be authors base their stories on "and then we went to..." chronologies that never really get interesting. But David A. Braun spices up this travel tales with colorful characters, strange vehicles, mechanical disasters, brushes with the law, accidents and experiences that all helped form his attitudes about life. There's nothing sugar-coated here, and it is not dumbed-down or inflated larger than life. Like real life, small references in one chapter often get expanded into other chapters in ways no one probably would have predicted.

Braun's writing mirrors his pragmatic approach to life, forging ahead with ideas, and seldom slowing down to polish it all shiny. There are numerous types, unfinished sentences, mystery phrases and repeated quotes. But that unpolished writing is a lot like the war stories told around rally campfires by veteran riders who nod sagely at true tales that area stranger than fiction, and therefore priceless.

Like his old 1960 International Harvester pickup truck, "White Trash," Braun's book has minimal functionality and lots of mechanical problems, but still gets us down the road. For instance, there are many photos of interesting subjects, but most are small and reproduced only in marginal quality.

At first glance, Gathering Speed may appear somewhat drab compared to the flashier books on the shelf, but if you can get by the surface and involve yourself in the substance, you'll be amply rewarded.

The bottom line is that Gathering Speed - Tales of Motorcycles and Life is well worth the read for anyone, and if you're a gearhead like me, especially a BMW enthusiast, you'll need extra copies for your friends, riding buddies and family.

The price is right, too. At $24.95, more or less, depending on how you would like it shipped, and whether you would like the author to autograph it and where on planet Earth you need to have it shipped.