Archive for the ‘Motorcycle books’ Category

Honey, 42 Reasons I Need A Motorcycle

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Forty-two Reasons Why I Must Have a Motorcycle...Honey!

The book cover sheet in Word format.

I got a note from Dick Hakes telling me about his new book, available on Amazon, titled, Forty-two Reasons Why I Must Have a Motorcycle…Honey! It sounded interesting so I asked him to send me an electronic version or something so I could review it here.

This is a small book, quick to read, and definitely amusing. It’s really not “technically” intended for you, the motorcyclist, but instead for the wife/girlfriend/significant other of a wannabe motorcyclist. But I suspect Hakes hopes you, the motorcyclist will buy it anyway.

Hakes sets the tone in his dedication, where he tells of a guy approaching him and some buddies and talking motorcycles.

At one point in the conversation, I asked, “Do you ride?”
His face fell, he dropped his chin and shuffled his feet.
“No,” he said quietly. “The wife.”
We all knew exactly what he meant.
Buddy, this book is for you, too.

“Gentlemen, I feel your pain” the tale begins. “OK men. If you purchased this book, you may be desperate. Your woman (wife, girlfriend, significant someone) for reasons strange and mysterious is unhappy you desire a motorcycle. Broach the subject and she looks at you as if you were Hannibal Lecter.”

Hakes faced exactly this situation about 20 years ago when he decided he wanted to ride. He finally prevailed.

We still don’t talk about it much. Occasionally, she will hop on the back of my bike for a short trip on a nice day. In return, I try to be understanding about her material wants, even though I have to admit that they often make about as much sense to me as why men have nipples. We get along, we’re still in love and she no longer stares at my bike in lethal scorn every time she enters the garage.

At least I don’t think she does.

It turned out to be a good thing in his relationship with his son, too.

Yet, he took one dumbfounded look at my Harley and uttered a totally profound statement I will never forget:
“Dad,” he said. “This could be the one cool thing you have done in your life.”

There are some interesting and amusing reasons in here but this is one of my favorites:

Reason No. 13:
I’m doing it for you and the kids
I want my family – you and the kids – to be proud of me. But how can you be proud of someone who is not realizing his lifelong dream? (Then there’s some discussion, and it ends with this.) I have this dream. Always have had it. Let me reach it. Please. It would crush me to let you and the kids down.

OK, that’s just a teaser. If you want to see more it’s up to you. It’s a fun book.

Biker Quote for Today

I have six motorcycles. Had to rent a second garage to keep them all.

Bikes And Buddies: A New Motorcycle Blog I Recommend

Monday, March 12th, 2012

I usually try to stick with topics that have to do with Colorado motorcycling, but I do stray at times. In this case I want to point you to a new blog, Bikes and Buddies, that I was introduced to recently.

The Bikes and Buddies blog

How to set your motorcycle on fire

Kevin Moore is the guy running this blog and from what he has put up so far, I’d say he’s quite a good writer and has some pretty interesting things to write about.

Take this “Motorcycle Conflagration” piece that the screen-shot I’ve included is taken from. No surprise there that he’s telling about a time when he made a few dumb mistakes and ended up with his motorcycle on fire next to the pumps in a gas station. Yow! It would be an interesting story in any case, but Kevin tells it well.

Another piece tells of some dirt-biking in an old strip mine and some youthful bravado involving a seemingly impossible stunt. And then there’s a piece about an odd character he encountered once when out of a ride.

That’s actually it for the moment. As I said, this is a new blog and Kevin is just getting started. But I’ve subscribed so I’ll know each time he posts something new. I’ve also been in touch with Kevin and he tells me he has written a book, which is about motorcycles and becoming a dad, titled “Motorcycles and a Baby: Stories of a Geardhead’s Roadtrip to Fatherhood.” He has found a publisher but the publisher wants him to demonstrate that he has an audience for the book. Get 2,000 people to subscribe to your blog and we’ll print your book, they told him.

Of course I told Kevin that I’d be happy to review his book here and on once it gets published. So I’m urging you to check out his blog, and if you like what you see, subscribe. If the book is as good as the blog is so far, we’re going to be in for a treat.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Arizona Bike Week gets motorcycle season revving in the west

Biker Quote for Today

The adventure starts when things stop going as planned.

New Book of Colorado Rides Is Very Comprehensive

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The Complete Guide to Motorcycling Colorado contains colorful in-depth descriptions of 172 different rides that can be combined in a variety of ways to create the best trips for all riding styles and interests.”

Cover of The Complete Guide to Motorcycling ColoradoSo says the blurb that came with this new book from Whitehorse Press and of course, of all possible reviewers, I wanted to see what it’s all about. First off, what 172 rides could the author, Steve Farson, possibly have compiled? Here on the Passes and Canyons website I list 33 rides on my Great Roads page, and just a few more on my Dirt Roads and Side Trips page.

One thing I knew from the start is that he includes a lot of dirt roads. OK, that will certainly add to the number in a big way. There are a lot of great unpaved roads in this state that are wonderful for a dual-sport bike. You could do an entire book just on them. Also, it turns out, Farson breaks some segments out into individual rides that I lump together as a group. My Peak-to-Peak Highway and Adjoining Canyons page is a perfect example of that. That page includes the entire series of roads running from Estes Park down to U.S. 6 as well as Clear Creek Canyon and five others. So OK, now I’m starting to see how he reached that 172 number.

The bottom line there is that this book is comprehensive. And I can tell you from my own experience building this website, Steve Farson must have put an enormous amount of effort into compiling all this information. He doesn’t just show you the routes and give you an idea of what you’ll see, he also delves into history and tells you a lot about the areas. Along with current photos of these roads there are also numerous old black and whites from 100 years ago or more showing the then and now.

Farson breaks the state up into seven regions and addresses each individually. At the end is also a Colorado Statewide section that offers suggested routes linking together a bunch of the individual rides that he discusses separately. For instance, there are the Weekender Trip to the Northwest and Weekender Trip to the Southwest, both of which start in Buena Vista. He even breaks them down into suggestions for how to make these rides either one-nighters or two-nighters.

The sections for each region begins with a “Regional Overview” with a map showing all the routes highlighted. In the Southwest regional section, for instance, that’s nearly every road on the map because that whole part of the state is just that spectacular. It lists the “Rides in This Section” and then proceeds through them. Each ride gets at least one page and most cover two. Some extend to three pages and each has at least a map and one photo.

Next comes “Recommendations,” comprising groupings such as “Backroad Journeys,” “Especially Twisty Rides,” “Circling Tours” and “Linked Dirt-Road Adventures,” which are pretty much what the names imply. The section wraps up with “Favorite Rides,” which is broken down into categories such as “Most Scenic Spots,” “Best Cruising Journeys,” “Best Sporting Curves and Sweepers,” Best Dirt-Road Adventures,” Little-Known Gems,” and “Worthy Destinations.” Each of these is a simple listing of the rides with the ride number so you can turn to it.

What can I say? This is an impressive book. Yes, there are some dirt roads that are not included, but there’s no way you could include them all. And yes, he includes some roads that I don’t consider all that big a deal, such as Poncha Pass. But Farson uses that word “Complete” in the title, so you can’t fault him for including it. The one caution I would offer is on Guanella Pass, which the book does not mention is closed to through traffic. It has been closed for a couple years now and the last word I’ve heard is that they do not intend to reopen it. If you plan a trip with that as part of your route you’re going to be doing some significant backtracking.

Update: I just heard from Steve Farson and he gave me more current information on Guanella Pass than I had had before. Says Steve, “Guanella Pass opened this past spring. The work to stabilize the slope on the north side of the pass is complete. The work to pave the entire north side is almost complete (Oct 1 completion). In the meantime there are three hour windows on weekdays when they close the pass, then the rest of the time it is open, including weekends. It is quite something to ride the north side now. Almost park like. If Jim Gorden, owner of the Tumbling River Ranch on the Grant side finally relents, the south side of the pass down below Geneva Park might eventually be paved as well.” Thanks for the update Steve.

It’s a terrific reference book. I know that for myself, as I get more and more into dual-sport riding, I intend to use it to find some good dirt roads to ride. Use it hand in hand with this website and between the two of us I think you’ll find just about everything you’ll need to plan your Colorado trip.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Brammo adds electric cycle rentals in Europe

Biker Quote for Today

There’s no adventure in turning around.

A Guide to Motorcycle Museums in the UK

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Motorcycle Museums of the United Kingdom coverJust in case you’re heading to the UK anytime soon, and you’ll have the time and inclination to visit some motorcycle museums, I’ve got just the guide for you: Motorcycle Museums of the United Kingdom, by Cheryl Probst.

Cheryl is the author of a variety of guidebooks, so she has the thing pretty well down. The book covers about 37 (if I counted correctly) different museums all across the UK and occasionally adds relevant info about the cities or regions they are in.

A typical listing includes a short bit about the collection plus the URL for its site, if it has one. Under “Logistics” she then tells how to get there, the admission fee, and describes the facilities. There is also telephone and email contact information.

In a general piece at the front of the book, “History of British motorcycles,” Cheryl offers recommendations for those whose time is limited and want to make the most of what time they have.

The following image show a single page in the book, so you can get a feel for what it’s like. Many pages have photos, although this one does not.

a page from Motorcycle Museums of the United Kingdom

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
A more personal approach to motorcycle touring via the Motorcycle Travel Network

Biker Quote for Today

Never mind the bollocks, where’s the apex?

Book Review: The Devil Can Ride

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

When the Ducati turned up in my driveway, nobody knew what to do with it. I was in New York, covering a polo tournament, and people had threatened my life. My lawyer said I should give myself up and enroll in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Other people said it had something to do with the polo crowd.
The motorcycle business was the last straw. It had to be the work of my enemies, or people who wanted to hurt me. It was the vilest kind of bait, and they knew I would go for it.
Of course. You want to cripple the bastard! Send him a 130-mile-per-hour cafe racer. And include some license plates, he’ll think it’s a streetbike. He’s queer for anything fast.

The Devil Can RideThat’s Hunter S. Thompson speaking there. He was into motorcycles.

If you ride motorcycles the chances are good that you like to read about motorcycles. Taking me for example, I get three moto magazines in the mail and occasionally pick one or two up at the newsstand. And then there are the books.

I read a really good book just recently and I’m passing it along to you as a recommendation. The book is The Devil Can Ride: The World’s Best Motorcycle Writing. It is a collection of pieces by different authors, edited by Lee Klancher. The quote above is from “Song of the Sausage Creature,” and it’s one of the pieces in the book.

This book is not just a collection of well-known articles by well-known writers, however. Some you’ll recognize but many you will not and often the ones who write the most interesting stuff are the folks you never heard of. The whole time I was reading this I kept wondering how Klancher came up with all of these pieces.

Take Elena Filatova, for example, and her piece, “Ghost Town.” She likes to ride her bike through ghost towns, but no, we’re not talking about some old west USA ghost towns. We’re talking Chernobyl. You know, as in the area in Ukraine where the nuclear reactor melted down and poisoned everything for centuries. Apparently it’s not overly dangerous to pass through these areas, you just don’t want to stop or spend too much time there.

I travel a lot, and one of my favorite destinations leads north from Kiev, toward the Chernobyl Dead Zone, which is 130 kilometers from my home. Why is this my favorite? Because one can take long rides there on empty roads.
The people all left, and nature is blooming. There are beautiful woods and lakes.

There is a broad range of motorcycling included here, ranging from adventure tourers to one-percenters to the totally weird. George Orwell (or at least his motorcycle) to Robert Pirsig to T.E. Lawrence, as well as a few familiar names like Brian Catterson, Kevin Cameron, and Peter Egan. Plus, as I said, all the people you never heard of.

This is a good book. Publish and send me a Volume 2 and I’ll dive right into it. Meanwhile, you might want to check out the only volume available now.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
William Barclay declared winner of Hoka Hey, to receive cash via wire

Biker Quote for Today

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Writing and Riding: They Do Go Together

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Man, you write about one book you read and before you know it you’ve become a book reviewer. At least that’s what has happened with me, and I have to believe there’s a connection.

It started when I did a review of John Newkirk’s The Old Man and the Harley. This was a book I bought because it sounded really good and I figured that maybe I’d be able to snag an interview with the author, considering that he lives here in the Denver area. I never asked for an interview because I found the book disappointing but I did publish a review.

The Vincent in the BarnIt wasn’t long after that when I was contacted by a rep from Motorbooks asking if I’d like to have some of their latest books to review. I said yes and so far I’ve received a variety, including such as The Vincent in the Barn, Race Tech’s Motorcycle Suspension Bible, How to Restore Your Motorcycle, and The Devil Can Ride, to name just four. So far I’ve posted reviews of three of these in various places.

Next I heard from Cheryl Probst, who had just released her latest book, Motorcycle Museums of the United Kingdom. Would I like a review copy?

Sure, you bet, though I haven’t had time to do much with it yet. I’m going to try to get to it soon.

After that I heard from Avalon Travel asking if I’d be interested in reviewing Gary McKechnie’s latest motorcycle touring book, Great American Motorcycle Tours. Or would I perhaps like to have him do a guest post for any of my publishing venues. Yes and yes. Again, I hope to get to this soon.

Finally–at least for now–I was contacted by a different rep from Motorbooks. I replied explaining that I was already dealing with another of their reps but it seems they put out enough different titles that they divide promotion among several reps. So Rep 2 can supply me with different books than Rep 1.

OK, great, go ahead and send me Motorcycle Journeys Through the Pacific Northwest , 2nd Edition. I’ll add it to the stack. And I will get to it sooner or later.

So look at this as sort of a heads-up. If there are any of these you’d be especially interested in hearing about let me know and I’ll move it to the top of the stack. Otherwise I figure I’ll keep plugging along until we get into winter weather, at which time I’ll have more time to read and there will be less going on in terms of rides and rallies and all those summertime motorcycle things we do. Then maybe I’ll have to start a book club.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
The Devil Can Ride: Riders can write

Biker Quote for Today

A skittish motor-bike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth… –T.E. Lawrence

New Motorcycle Books Hitting the Market

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Motorcycle booksI did a critique recently of “The Old Man and the Harley,” an interesting book in some ways, in need of better editing in others. I’m not sure if that was the trigger but I got an email more recently asking if I’d be interested in receiving the motorcycle books published by Motorbooks, Inc. and reviewing them. Of course I said yes.

So I got my first batch yesterday and I’m looking forward to digging into them. These are the four.
How to Restore Your Motorcycle, 2nd Edition
Maximum Control: Mastering Your Heavyweight Bike
Modern Motorcycle Technology: How Every Part of Your Motorcycle Works
The Vincent in the Barn: Great Stories of Motorcycle Archaeology

I’ll have a lot more to say about them once I get a chance to read them but I have noted a couple things already. First, three of these four would seem to be a good, complementary set. Read Modern Motorcycle Technology to understand how it all works, then read The Vincent in the Barn to see how old bikes have been rediscovered. After that, go out and get your own old bike and let How to Restore Your Motorcycle guide you in getting it back in shape.

One amusing semi-contradiction is that The Vincent in the Barn talks about discovering old bikes, whereas How to Restore Your Motorcycle states explicitly, “let me disabuse you of the notion that a lot of collectible vintage bikes are lying around in barns, basements, and garages waiting to be picked up for a song.” I suspect both are correct however; it does happen but don’t base your whole plan on it.

There are also more books coming that are not ready for release yet, and I’ll be looking at those as they come available. I think I’m about to broaden my knowledge in a number of ways.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Connecticut leaning toward requiring motorcycle training

Biker Quote for Today

Home is where your bike sits still long enough to leave a few drops of oil on the ground.