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Thread: Books that have helped you to become a better rider...

  1. #1

    Books that have helped you to become a better rider...

    I'll start. When I learned to ride ... there were no books on how to ride a motorcycle ... of any kind. The typical advice was ... horrible.

    OTOH ... I had manuals that prescribed exactly how I was to fly a helicopter as an Army Aviator down to the details. I recall a young lieutenant fresh out of flight school telling me he wanted me to teach him to fly "outside the box ..." When I told him I would evaluate him "according to the book" he replied he had heard that I sometimes flew "outside the box". I replied "Lieutenant ... when you can demonstrate to me proficiency in performing every maneuver "inside the box" ...we'll consider exploring outside the box ..."

    I consider "inside the box" motorcycling to be according to the MSF Basic Rider Course Handbook. A pdf is here ... I'm not a Rider Coach ... and I think that passing the BRC equips you to safely ride in a parking lot ... but ... it beats the hell out of the way I started.... All of my children and my wife took the BRC ... at my insistence. The last motorcycle I sold I marked the agreed price down $200 ... if the guy took the BRC ... before picking up the bike. He did ...
    The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

  2. #2
    RiderCoach 5000 Posts! NORTY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OBX-RIDER View Post

    I consider "inside the box" motorcycling to be according to the MSF Basic Rider Course Handbook.
    Very much so. Fundamentals only.
    Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.

  3. #3
    RiderCoach We've stopped counting... LoDownSinner's Avatar
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    LOL! When I learned to ride, you know back when people left their caves and fought their way through herds if dinosaurs to see the Beatles play live, it was a lot easier:
    "Here's the clutch, here's the gas, here's the shifter, here's the rear brake. GO!"
    "OK. But what's this other lever?"
    "It's the front brake, don't touch it, it'll put you on your ass. GO!!"

    Sadly, the BRC is more what I'd consider a 'familiarization' type of course.

    But the problem is, most people are unwilling to invest even a single weekend, much less the type of time and work it takes to become what I'd consider minimally proficient. And even then, most students tend to enroll for what I consider the wrong reasons - too long of a wait to get an appointment with the DMV (at least here in TN), required to be able to ride on a military base, need to get a license quickly because of a ticket, etc., etc., etc.

    That being said, if someone is an extremely quick learner with above average coordination and a willingness to listen and learn, it is absolutely possible to complete the course and be competent to head out on the street as long as they understand their limitations and shortcomings. Sadly, IMHO, the majority of students who come into it with no prior experience would benefit from repeating the class.

    So back to the initial question - What books have helped me become a better rider?

    I'd have to say the top of the stack are Proficient Motorcycling and More Proficient Motorcycling, followed by Street Strategies: A Survival Guide for Motorcyclists. Or in short, any and everything by David Hough.
    Quote Originally Posted by OBX-RIDER View Post
    put the whiffer in the dilly

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    I was looking for my Proficient Motorcycling ... and couldn't find it. Then I recalled the young man who bought Gigi's GZ250 had asked me to help him with his first oil change. While waiting for the oil to finish draining we came in for ice tea and we were talking about riding when he said he had the BRC handbook which he had read a few times and was there anything else I would suggest he read. I loaned him Hough's book ...

    What I like about PM and MPM is it allows a newb to learn things that the only a great deal of experience would provide otherwise ... mebbe with dire results. I recall I had been riding 7 or 8 years when I was dang near put on my @$$ by an "edge trap". I got lucky ... but it was a near thing...and I had never heard of such a thing. Right in MPM is a couple of pages on "edge traps" .. And that is just one example. Hough expands your horizons ...

    For me Twist of The Wrist was important in bringing to my consciousness the idea that things like maximum braking take far more of a limited resource ... my focus... when I am not really proficient at them. For me spending a few days on a race track made things like braking and cornering far more automatic so I could use my focus on other things.... like traffic.

    TOTW2 made me more aware of the "automatic" responses which were detrimental to riding. I have succumbed to all of them at one time or another. I had not even thought of going "off throttle" as a negative ... until it produced little tire slides mid corner on a race track. At first I thought I had reached the limits of my tires ... except other riders were taking that same corner faster ...

    Both Sport Riding Techniques by Nick Ienatsch and Total Control by Lee Parks are written with the idea of what I think of as "performance riding". Track time is advocated by both authors ... but the books are written to help a rider improve his street riding. Both are accomplished riders and journalists ... so they are well written and easy to follow. I use some of the techniques even on my Road King ... for example to give myself an easy out if I get into a corner a little hot. There are differences of opinion between Ienatsch and Parks ... but they are in the details ... For instance Ienatsch suggests steering with both arms ... Parks suggests just using the inside arm ..

    They also talk about what I think is one of the most important skills ... attitude. I have ridden a few thousand miles with my friend Neil. And what he does as well as anyone I've ridden with ... is shake things off. Someone pulls out right in front of him. He brakes ... and before he has ridden a 100 feet ... it's no longer an part of his ride. Same with every other dumb thing anyone does that can rent space in our heads. And that goes back to TOTW ... if I am letting a near thing that happened 5 miles back use up a big part of my 10 dollars (Code uses money to represent focus) what do I have left to ride safely with ...

    One thing Parks brings up is a thing called "mindfulness". We could just refer to it as "awareness" for riding. I know riders who say they ride 100% all the time. To which I say "Bullshit...". Freddie Spencer says he was able to ride 100% for 2 or 3 laps a race. That's 10% of the time. When he was racing. But ... we can all improve our awareness ... by being aware of our awareness ... As one zen guy says ... the only way you can mess up mindfulness is not pat attention. But if you are aware you are not paying attention ... you are mindful ...
    The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

  6. #6
    Miles of smiles We've stopped counting... asp125's Avatar
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    Totw2, Ienatsch, and Parks have set the framework to better riding for me.

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    Flirting With The Redline 10,000 Posts! Shadow Shack's Avatar
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    High school geometry & drafting textbooks.

    Oh, wait...better rider, not builder. Well, technically building a safer bike helps make a safer rider, so they count.
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  8. #8
    RiderCoach 4000 Posts! AZridered's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OBX-RIDER View Post
    I know riders who say they ride 100% all the time...
    Maybe their "100%" is not very much. It may not be to difficult to ride to that sort of 'limit'.

    "Twist of the Wrist II", David Hough's books, Nick's "Sport Riding Techniques"

  9. #9
    I am reading a couple of new ones. Lee Park's new edition of Total Control, Keith Condon's Riding In The Zone and Andy Ibbot's (Andy does CA Superbike in Britain) very track oriented Performance Riding Techniques

    Offroad I like Carl Adams Dirt Riding Skills for Dual Sport and Adventure Riders and really enjoyed Jimmy Lewis's class.

    Of course it's all a bit like reading about swimming. You got to get in the pool ...
    The best thing you can buy for your motorcycle is gas.

  10. #10
    Flirting With The Redline 6000 Posts! atomicalex's Avatar
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    The Upper Half of the Motorcycle, Bernt Spiegel.

    It's pretty esoteric, but it is also amazing.
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