The Riding Book of this Winter

Yep.It has been a long time since I blogged. The Spirit hasn't moved me. And I do not like to blog just for the sake of filling space. But the 2011 riding season is coming and there is much to look forward to. The holiday season is over which gives us some opportunity to start doing stuff with the bike. Maybe we have some holiday motorcycle gifts that we can install? And we are getting excited to go to some motorcycle shows and talk bikes with people that we haven't seen since the glacier came south.

Most important to me at this time of year is reading the best motorcycling books that I can find. Of course, I like the travel books, and the marque history books, and the novels. But I try my best to read at least one how-to-ride book. Regardless of how well my bike is looking and performing, it is really of no consequence if my riding skills are not improving. After all, my motorcycling safety is not only in a carefully prepared bike but also in my carefully learned riding skills. I have read many of the racer books hoping to ride with more control and exacting care that racers use. And while they were all useful to some degree, I always felt that there was much in them that I really didn't understand and could not apply. BUT. This winter I think that I may have found the exact riding how-to book that I have wanted for so many years. (Drum Roll Here) "The Upper Half of the Motorcycle" by Bernt Spiegel. This is not a book for rank noobs, new riders, or the very inexperienced. but they will want to have it on their short list of must read books in the near future.

The book has been available in German for about the last 12 years and is very highly regarded in Europe. It was translated into English in 2010 and slightly modified to read better. Nevertheless, it is a tough read for the first 65 pages as it sets up all its premises. As a world class dummy, I found myself re-reading sections 3 and 4 times to be sure that I understood the concepts before moving on. My struggles should not put off other readers for making the effort to understand the insights presented early in the book. And there are plenty of motorcycle references in this part to keep a reader's interest.

The next 100 pages just gets better and better with lots of motorcycle info and how the same stuff applies to a wide range of other activities like racing cars, musicianship, aviation aerobatics, and ballroom dancing. The book finishes up with a bunch of exercises and several innovative (to me) tips for improving my riding skills that I can use on my daily commute and nearly everywhere else that I go with the bike.

Yes, as a rider, one must still read "Proficient Motorcycling", Vanderbilt's "Traffic", and all the go-fast books possible. Reading "The Upper Half of the Motorcyle" will make all those other books more clear. Those riders interested in preparing their minds for the approaching riding season ought not to miss this book. My copy came from Whitehorse Press. See your favorite bookseller for availability.

Good riding to you,



Caveat: I nave no financial connection with this book and am merely a happy and enlightened reader.


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