books home | email me


Storm: A Motorcycle Journey of Love, Endurance, and Transformation

Allen Noren

"It's raining," I said to Suzanne, my face framed by my hands as I looked through the windows of the train. The sky was almost dark as we moved north towards Bremen, Germany. The bright lights inside the train reflected off the glass, projecting ghostly images of the passengers around us. "Suzanne," I said again, "it's raining."

This was the very first motorcycle book I ever read. It was the first one I bought, during my initial rush of realization that other people rode motorcycles, too, and some of them even wrote books about it. At first, I was excited, thrilled, that someone not only rode around the Baltic Sea, but did so with his girlfriend, and not only that, but wrote about it for me and anyone else to read about. I think it was the girlfriend part that excited me; I still hadn't heard about many other women riders, and certainly hadn't read any motorcycle books for/by/about them, so it was a special treat to me that there was a woman involved in this story. Sadly, it was ultimately this fact that made the book drive me absolutely nuts by the end of it. At some point near the beginning, Noren makes the comment that his girlfriend Suzanne had taken the MSF course in order to share the driving with him, but that she decided that the BMW he (ahem) bought was too large and unweidly for her, and she took the pillion seat for the entire book. As the book progresses, one of the major themes is their relationship, and how it was strained and tested as she became impatient with the weather and the bike far more quickly than he, and he took it to mean that perhaps she didn't understand his passion for travel and etc. OK. Now let's think about this for a moment. *He* buys the motorcycle with no input from her as to whether she'd be comfortable on it. Not surprisingly, she isn't, and since (a) he refuses to get a different bike and (b) she refuses to learn how to drive the one they have, she's a passenger. For the *entire* journey, around the *entire* Baltic sea. And these people are *surprised* and *alarmed* that she's impatient and not comfortable and malcontent? I spent the entire book reading him talk about these "strains on the relationship," expecting one of them to eventually say, "hey, maybe it's because our relationship is *completely unequal* during this trip! Maybe it's because Suzanne went and learned to ride and then did NONE of the driving! Maybe it's because Allen is at the helm the entire time and therefore it becomes *his* trip and she's just one more thing packed on the back, like the tent!" But no. Either neither of them realized this, or neither of them felt it important enough to mention, but at no point did this ever come up in the book. And yet complain and whine they did, about the angst and the straining and the tension and the "endurance." By the end of the book, I was practically ripping my own hair out, reading passages to Peter and screaming, "do *you* see what's wrong here? Because I sure the hell do, and don't you EVER think that if we took a long trip together that I'd ride pillion the WHOLE TIME or I'd be pissy and impatient too, Mister, and you'd better not cop this whole 'she's acting really weird, this is straining our relationship' crap or I'd GET OFF AND WALK!" I think this book single-handedly prevents Peter from ever wanting to road trip with me. Anyway, uh, that all said, it's a well-written book, and has some nice descriptions of the Baltic area. But it still drives me completely up the wall.

Buy it from Whitehorse Press