Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Essential Motorcycling Library

There are many other essential motorcycle-related books I've yet to read, but these are the ones I own and can recommend without reservation. In no particular order:

10 Years on 2 Wheels
Helge Pedersen
ISBN: 0944958389

Norwegan photographer sells most of his stuff, buys and modifies a BMW R80 G/S, and spends the next 10 years and 250,000 miles traipsing around the globe. Along the way, he enountered enlightening, challenging and occasionally life-threatening events. Pederson became the first motorcyclist ever to ride through the infamous Darien Gap in Central America — 80 roadless miles of virtually impenetrable jungle. Even non-motorcyclists would like this one. 208-page "coffee table" sized book with over 200 amazing photos. Out of print and very difficult to find nowadays I'm afraid, but well worth the effort.

Total Control
Lee Parks
ISBN: 0760314039

High-performance street-riding techniques taught by the founder of the Advanced Riding Clinics and former roadracer and Editor-In-Chief of Motorcycle Consumer News. A must for sport and sport-touring riders. The techniques I picked-up from this book made me both quicker and safer.

Proficient Motorcycling & More Proficient Motorcycling
David L. Hough
ISBN: 1931993033 & 1889540536

Street-survival skills from one of the foremost motorcycling safety gurus and author of the Proficient Motorcycling series of articles published over the years in Motorcycle Consumer News. Must-reads for all riders, but particularly so for commuters.

Purple Mountains: America from a Motorcycle
Notch Miyake
ISBN: 1884313280

American businessman sells his business and decides to ride his bike coast-to-coast to visit old friends and to get a fresh perspective. Honestly describes both the highs and lows of motorcycle touring.

Against the Wind
Ron Ayers
ISBN: 1884313094

First-timer’s account of the 1995 Iron Butt Rally, where finishers typically have to ride around 1,000 miles a day for 11 days. Read it and you’ll begin to understand understand why Iron Butt Association members have those license plate frames that read “World’s Toughest Riders”.

Jupiter’s Travels
Ted Simon
ISBN: 0965478521

Exceptionally well-written tale of an Englishman who, not being a motorcyclist prior, decides the best way to see the world would nonetheless be on a bike (good choice!). He buys a Triumph and heads out for four years, circumnavigating the globe. More psychological and cultural study than travelogue, it's tough to put down.

Blood, Sweat & 2nd Gear
flash gordon, m.d.
ISBN: 978-1-884313-63-9

Indispensable guide to medical issues commonly confronted by motorcyclists from a practicing physician and daily rider. Dr. Gordon wrote for San Fransisco's famed City Bike magazine prior to becoming a regular columnist for Motorcycle Consumer News. Short chapters covering the gamut of motorcycle-related issues, from post-crash care to numb hands to "monkey butt" to fitness. The good doctor dispenses practical, easy-to-understand advice (a bit holistic at times but what would one expect from a San Fransican?) in a very readable, light-hearted manner. I never leave on a multi-day trip without this 9" x 6" paperback.

(Note: This is updated from the original post on 1/10/07)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back when I was riding my first new motorcyle (1978, a Yamaha XS650 Standard, a rude copy of British vertical twins with a cam chain instead of pushrods), I bought a book that was about throwing it all away and living on the road on an airhead BMW (R75 maybe?). Filled with packing, repairing and camping advice, it made a large impression on me, but I've lost the book and cannot remember its title or author. Like then, I still long to do just that -- bail on my ordinary life and just ... ride.

+1 on the Hough books (Proficient Motorcycling) -- I routinely commute into Philadelphia on my bike, and I'm certain that he's saved my life more than once. Effective ways to mitigate the risk of motorcycling on the street -- he's the man.

October 4, 2008 at 12:32:00 AM EDT  

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