Have You Read?: Motorcycle guides coming your way from the library
Ryan Summerlin July 9, 2008
As gas prices continue to rise, many of us in the Tahoe Basin are riding our motorcycles more often. Some do motorcycling out of economic necessity; for others, it is a way to experience a level of focus and concentration that they cannot get from a car. The South Lake Tahoe branch of the El Dorado County Library has books for all those sorts of motorcycle riders and more.
If you are considering street riding for the first time, I highly recommend taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. Our library has a 1976 copy of the “Motorcycle Rider Course” available from the Cameron Park library. This class is the basis for the MSF Basic Rider course. While there have been some changes to the course since 1976, this book will give you the basics of motorcycling. After reading this book, you will have a good understanding of what to expect as a motorcyclist.
Many of us have been riding for a while and would like to upgrade our skills as riders. There are two books in our library system that I would recommend: “Twist of the Wrist” by Keith Code, and “Proficient Motorcycling” by David Hough. While “Twist of the Wrist” is subtitled “the Motorcycle Road Racers Handbook,” it is by no means exclusively useful to racers. Many of the strategies and mental processes that Code’s book illustrated are very useful in our daily rides.
“Proficient Motorcycling” is very much geared to the average rider. David Hough is well-known in the motorcycling community as a premier motorcycle journalist, with many decades of street riding under his belt. “Proficient Motorcycling” deals with the dangerous scenarios that many deal with in their daily commute. Hough provides real strategies for staying alive on the street, and I strongly suggest that all riders read his book.
Two books that may appeal to even the nonmotorcyclist are “Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road” by Neil Peart, and “Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World” by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. Neil Peart is the world-renowned drummer for the long-running progressive rock band Rush. In 1997 and 1998, Peart suffered the double loss of his wife and daughter. After plunging into a deep depression, he embarked on a 55,000-mile journey to find a reason to live. Peart, as the main lyricist for Rush, definitely has a way with words, and his story will appeal to anyone who has ever experienced a deep loss.
“Long Way Round” is a wonderful travelogue by actors McGregor and Boorman, who met on a movie set and developed a deep connection through their common interest – motorcycles. They set upon a 20,000-mile journey through Europe and (flying) across the Pacific Ocean to Alaska, eventually ending their journey in New York City. Their travels were well documented in the TV show “Long Way Round,” and this book is a great companion to the series. The journal of their journey takes them far from the standard tourist routes.
Tahoe is a great place to be a motorcyclist. We have wonderful, twisty mountain roads, access to trails, and mild (not too hot) summers. I hope this overview of some of the motorcycle-oriented materials at the El Dorado County Library encourages all you riders to explore our collection further.
– Mark Dulyanai is a library assistant at the South Lake Tahoe Branch Library.