When the weather turns foul, here are some great motorcycle books for fellow riders to check out.
By Anne & Mark DT
We have put together a list of our favourite motorcycle books that we think you will enjoy. Some may notice that we didn’t add Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance to the list which is because Mark found it to be one of the most over-hyped and under delivering books out there for motorcyclists. Then again, neither of us cared for
The Catcher in the Rye as we thought it was an overrated book and never met our expectations.
Now that we may have lost half of you with our lack of love for two classics, for those that have remained thank you! All the books listed below should not disappoint anyone who has a passion to ride motorcycles. Looking for a present for a friend that rides or a good read to bring on your vacation? Below is Farkle My Ride’s Top 10 recommended motorcycle books. Clicking on any title or image will take you to www.amazon.com where it is available for purchase.
1. Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well by David L. Hough
David L. Hough has written about motorcycle safety and rider techniques for over 40 years in several motorcycle magazines. He has compiled his best safety tips in this book we’d recommend to new and returning riders. This is a survival guide to save riders from cagers and sometimes from ourselves. We consider this book a street riders bible, and re-read sections of it each and every spring. There is a reason it is our #1 book.
2. Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road by Neil Peart
Disclaimer, I Mark DT, am Canadian, and I love Rush! The author Neil Peart is in my opinion one of the world’s greatest drummers. What many may not know is he is a rider, and has suffered huge personally tragedy. This book deals with using the road to heal the pain within.
Narrated over the course of two years following the deaths of his wife and only child and enumerating the healing process which kept him moving. Neil’s journey forces him to rebuild his life, he goes on a venture and travels by motorcycle through North America to try and escape and deal with his grief.
Some may find Neil a little hard to stomach at times with some of his harsh views on life and people, however, he went through some very dark times and the fact that the thoughts of a man in grief haven’t been sugarcoated is a nice change from the rampant political correctness printed today.
3. Total Control: High Performance Street Riding Techniques by Lee Parks
This is a great book for the rider looking to improving his riding technique. It takes lessons from the track and applies for the rider to use in everyday riding on the public streets and highways we share with everyone else. What makes this book stand out is the ability to take complex ideas with regards to bike cornering and handling and break them down so that even a new rider can understand what is happening and why. Highly recommended for those who wish to be smoother, faster and more in total control of their motorcycle at all times.
4. A Twist of the Wrist & A Twist of the Wrist II by Keith Code
For those of you unfamiliar with the legendary Keith Code, here is Wikipedia’s description of the man. “Keith Code is a former motorcycle racer, writer, and founder of the California Superbike School. He has been called “arguably the best known and most successful on-track motorcycle instructor in the world.”
Both A Twist of the Wrist and A Twist of the Wrist II great books on riding technique with experience from the race track that can be applied to safer street riding. These books are easy to read and for all motorcyclists that want to improve their riding skills. To get the most out of this book, we suggest you read a chapter or two and then go for a ride and try out what you have just read. These books can teach a cruiser rider as much as a hard core sport bike fan. Recommended for all street riders.
5. Jupiter’s Travels: Four Years Around the World on a Triumph by Ted Simon
Jupiter’s Travels follows Ted Simon as he travels around the world on a Triumph motorcycle and it makes for fascinating reading. His writing style is incredibly engaging and he comes out with some wonderful descriptions of the routes and people he meets that add real colour and depth to the various stories he recounts. After you finish reading this book you’ll want to jump on your motorcycle and explore the world on your own.
This is the book that Ewan McGregor said was his inspiration for travel around the world on a motorcycle.
6. Long Way Round & Long Way Down by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
Who knew that the actor who brought us Trainspotting and Obi One was such a passionate rider? The Long Way Round would be the first book to read, and I highly recommend reading it before you watch the DVD series. Ewan and Charlie are best friends, but very different people. It is really fun hearing the same situation described by two different first person accounts. They circled the Northern Hemisphere on two wheels with a documentary team. The Long Way Round details their first trip, London to Magadan Siberia, then across by plane to Alaska, and across North America to New York. The Long Way Down is a sequel in a sense to the first book. This time they ride from London to the southern tip of Africa, again being filmed by documentary crew all the way. Both books provide humour, adventure, and a great way to find an escape when the bike is locked in the garage as the snow falls down this winter.
7. Sport Riding Techniques: How To Develop Real World Skills for Speed, Safety, and Confidence on the Street and Track by Nick Lenatsch
Lenatsch shares his years of experience and demonstrates that safety and speed are not mutually exclusive. By taking his advice to heart, you can learn to feel the relationship that has to exist between the rider, the machine and the pavement. Once understood and practised, you’ll be carving up the road as quickly and safely as possible.
8. Two Wheels Through Terror: Diary of a South American Motorcycle Odyssey & One More Day Everywhere: Crossing 50 Borders on the Road to Global Understanding by Glen Heggstad.
As you can imagine from the title of this book, things didn’t exactly turn out as Glen had expected on his trip through South America. On his first day into Columbia, he’s kidnapped by rebels and spends the next five weeks being tortured with the expectation of execution.
Surviving the ordeal, he decides the best way to fight back against this type of terrorism is to continue his trip, dealing with the mental aftermath of his capture by focusing on the daily experiences of his travel. This is a well-written journey of survival, adventure, personal growth, and human understanding. It contains vivid details of fantastic scenery, diverse weather, personal relationships, and the rewarding experiences unique to motorcycle travel. We highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to broaden their perspective beyond the secure existence of paved roads and reality TV.
In One More Day Everywhere Glen travels 55,000 miles from Siberia to Africa via the Middle East, the Gaza Strip and the mountains of Pakistan. In a post 911 world full of fear of anything foreign, Glen decided to ride through more than 30 developing countries to deliver his message of the real United States, as he knew it.
This is a travelogue presenting insights into the world and the attitude of the world rider, it shows the reader that fear, while certainly being a useful emotion to keep one out of harm, should not hinder us to get out of our comfort zones and overprotective, nanny state nations in order to explore the world and meet its people. Take Glen’s advice and put a foot through your TV, go riding and see the world with your own eyes and not how Fox News want you to see it.
Note: All royalties from Glen’s book’s are donated to international aid organizations.
Subscribers of Cycle World magazine might be familiar with the writings of Peter Egan. Leanings is a collection of Peter’s favourite feature articles from Cycle World Magazine going back over twenty years.
This book is an absolutely must if you’re an avid motorcyclist… and if you’re not, reading this book will make you want to go out and buy an old Triumph and start riding. We don’t know of any other writer who so adeptly sums up the love of motorcycles and riding in every single article. When there is snow on the ground and you can’t ride this book runs a close second to actually mounting up and riding off with saddlebags packed for a weekend
10. Against the Wind: A Rider’s Account of the Incredible Iron Butt Rally (“Incredible journeys” books) by Ron Ayres
In Against the Wind Ron describes his participation in the Iron Butt Rally; an 11-day, 11,000 mile competition with some of the world’s most hardcore long distance riders. This book will give you and idea of what the Iron Butt Rally is all about as the author describes his own and fellow riders’ experiences during the gruelling ordeal.
Ron shares this incredible journey that most of us would like to enjoy from our easy chair. If you are dreaming about long distance riding and pushing yourself to the limit, this book is definitely for you.
We hope you enjoy our list of top 10 motorcycle books and are confident they will help those of you suffering from PMS (parked motorcycle syndrome) get through this winter. If your favourite book on motorcycles is not listed, please share it with other readers in the comment section below, so they can also read some of the best motorcycle books that are available.