Monday, September 13, 2010

Exactly What is a Vincati?

Book Report
Big Sid's Vincati
I had seen this book in a catalogue or two, and sort of wondered about it, but the interest seemed only passing at the time. Some of my family members think I can be dangerous in a bookstore, as evidenced by this t-shirt I received one Christmas. In an effort to alleviate the fact that books seem to be trying to take over all of the space in our home, my wife and I both now own a "Nook", the Barnes and Noble electronic book reader. Big Sid's Vincati is the first book I read on my Nook. It's not a long book. I read it in about 2 1/2 days. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book. In 1950 a Vincent motorcycle was priced at about $1,000. Big Sid and some of his friends were very interested in possibly owning one despite the price. Big Sid was an accomplished motorcycle mechanic, specializing in high performace engines. Sid and his friends felt that the machine was quite capable, with a few high performance modifications, of performing like the machine that Rollie Free had used to set a land speed record. But the Vincent was difficult to find. Sid and his friends said that they would travel the corners of the nation if they had to, to find one. The book is largely about the relationship between Sid and his son. Late in Sid's life, when Sid had experienced some recent health problems, the son concocts the idea that he and Sid should attempt to build a "Vincati". The Vincati is a motorcycle using a Vincent engine, with a Ducati frame. It was meant to be a project where Sid and his son could spend some quality time together. Big Sid asked his son, "Are we really going to build this Vincati?" His son responded, "Come Hell or High Water!" Sid's son did not exactly follow along in Sid's footsteps in life. The son loved motorcycling, but Sid once said to him that "You may be a good college professor, but you are a lousy mechanic". Now statements like this from Sid would and did anger his son, but knowing that as Sid was getting older, that their time together was becoming less and less. Eventually the son would respond by saying " That's me and don't I know it!" Their relationship at times was rocky, like a lot of parents and children, but eventually they became more comfortable with each other. The effort to assemble the machine had some difficulties, some mechanical. some personal. At one point the son wondered whether all the effort was really worth it. After all it was just an object. The son wondered how the motorcycle could have taken possession of him, but eventually decided that he was already and forever had been possessed by the motorcycle. They didn't take an easy road on the assembly, always insisting on the best quality high performance parts. But eventually the machine was finished. At one point Sid's son had to say, "Damn it Dad, I'm not a kid anymore!" I recommend this book highly. I didn't expect it to be as good as it was. There was just enough technical information to be interesting, yet not boring. And the descriptons of the relationships between the characters in the book was superb. While reading the book, I thought many times about my own father. At other times while reading, I thought about my own son and daughter. I love it when a book makes me think.


  1. Ah yes, the book thing. Since the accident reading and I don't get along so well. But, I still buy books. Go figure. I'm afraid I passed the addiction on to my daughter.

    Isn't it wonderful when a book surprises and turns out to be a treasure? I love that.


  2. I've tried them, and I have to say I don't care for e-books. I like the feel, I like the smell and I especially like not having to worry if the battery is going to die, that comes with an old-skool (sorry) book.

    As for the clutter issue, the first thing I did when I arrived in Bellingham was get a library card. Like many, I had gotten away from this, but economic circumstance now makes it necessary...

    Scootin' Old Skool

  3. Good review!

    My wife loves her nook, I am still on the fence about them.

    Redleg's Rides

  4. Hey thanks for the review! I am glad you liked my book.

    You are the first person I have had a chance to ask about reading Big Sid's Vincati on that platform. Did the book come with photos? There are 8 pages in the dead tree format.

    You can follow the story on where you can email me off the contact page or on the big sid's vincati facebook page.

    thanks again.

    Matthew biberman

  5. Keith,
    I read in spurts, sometimes voraciously, other times very little. But I have always read a lot and have always enjoyed it.
    I didn't realize how much I would enjoy this story.

  6. Orin,
    Library cards are always a good thing. When I think about it and look at the bookshelf, I wonder why I have so many books that I have read once and will never pick up again. Have no clue why I keep them. They will probably end up at the church garage sale someday.
    And still getting used to the Nook, but so far I think I like it. One problem I have with paper books is a tendency I have to fall asleep while reading and the books falls off the bed or something, and I lose my page. It really pisses me off. But the Nook will always remember where I was.

  7. Charlie6, (Dom),
    My wife has had her Nook for about 6 months or so, and she started off rather slowly with it, but now loves it. She has a slight dyslexia problem and has found that reading from the Nook is easier than a paper page. Go figure!
    I like the fact that it is a bit cheaper, and greener I guess. I am starting to like it also.
    Thanks for the visit,

  8. Matthew,
    You can imagine my surprise when I noticed your comment about your fabulous book on my insignificant little blog. Do you have the CIA checking out the entire web for the word Vincati? (Just kidding)

    I have visited the web page and enjoyed it very much. I will make sure that all my millions of readers out there visit that site as well.

    But seriously, I really appreciate your comment and I assure you I am sincere about what I thought about the book. Keep in mind that I am sort of a rookie rider as well as a relatively inexperienced blogger.

    I am honored with your visit and am somewhat jealous that you and your father were able to accomplish your goals together. I didn't have a great relationship with my own father, and he passed on way too early for me to ever really get to know him better.

    As far as reading it on a e-reader, I suppose the pictures would maybe be a bit better in print, but the pictures that were there were fine. One thing you can do with an e-reader is to change fonts and sizes of print if you want, which is sort of a nice feature. My wife and I don't use the same setup. I actually found the book easy to read and I was only barely able to put it down a few times before I finished it. And part of that was because it was a busy weekend with family activities. Damn it, family things always get in the way (grin).

    But once again, thanks for stopping by. Like Mike Myers said in "Wayne's World", "I'm not Worthy"!

    Take care, and I'll keep following the story.


  9. Thanks for the feedback Jim.

    good luck with the riding.

    And if we keep encouraging people to give BSV a shot, other good motorcycle books will join it, and one of those might even be another one from your truly.



  10. Dear CPA3485 (Jimbo):

    As a professional writer (the only job I have had as an adult), I do not much cotton to e-books. I wrote something on the internet about 10 years ago that still gets quoted from time to time. I just love holding a book in my hand. In fact, I just ordered four used ones that I remembered reading when I was 15, to add to my growing collection.

    I have the 1911 Colliers edition of the complete works of Mark Twain on the shelf next to me, including an autographed copy of his work along with a hand-written manuscript page (from 1890), and no e-book will ever compare to them.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  11. Jack,
    There's no doubt about the feel of a book, and there are many I have that I would never part with. In fact there are some that I have re-purchased because the originals (to me) became so old and beaten up. Tolkien comes to mind there, and Asimov as well.

    But I guess my professional experiences with books makes me feel more comfortable with books in e form. I have seen a lot of changes over the years in my professional literature. From the days when I would pay an arm and a leg for 15 volumes of Internal Revenue Code, explanations and Regulations, with weekly updates that were looseleaf in form and came with instructions on throwing away and replacing certain pages. To a time when all of that came on a monthly CD Rom, to todays version where is all out on the web and no books exist in my office. I guess I was glad to see the electronic versions of all that crap and have become used to it, no, delighted with it in electronic form.

    That said, certain books will remain in paper form in my home. But it can be useful to know that the Nook will hold hundreds of books at a time, and I can archive them if I wish.

    And I am not surprised about your opinion, and respect it even if you are dead wrong!, LOL.
    Thanks for stopping by and rendering your mistaken opinion. If I ever developed a fetish about collector books, I would know now to just come rob your house and fulfill me addictions.

    You know I am just kidding.

    Take care,

    When Conch gets up there, give me a call. I think he should have my cell #. I'd love to give you both a piece of my mind.



    PS, what did you think of the book report?