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How To Ride a Motorcycle - wBW Book Review

How To Ride a Motorcycle by Pat Hahn

by Pat Hahn
Paperback: 143 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 8-1/4 x 10-5/8
Publisher: Motorbooks (2005) 
ISBN: 0760321140

wBW Book Review by Lori B.

Available From: Whitehorse Press, who kindly provided a copy of the book for this review.

wBW Motorcycle Riding Skills Book Reviews:  Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles  |  Riding in the Zone  |  Motorcycle Track Days for Virgins  |  Stayin' Safe: The Art and Science of Riding Really Well  |  Secret Skills of Motorcycle Riding  |  UK Road Signs, Road Laws and Licensing Books  |  Streetbikes: Everything You Need To Know  |  Performance Riding Techniques  |  How To Ride a Motorcycle  |  MSF's Motorcycling Excellence, 2nd Edition  |   Smooth Riding the Pridmore Way by Reg Pridmore  |  David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling, More Proficient Motorcycling and Street Strategies  |  Ride Hard, Ride Smart by Pat Hahn  |  Sportbiking: The Real World by Gary Jaehne  |  Sport Riding Techniques by Nick Ienatsch  |  Total Control by Lee Parks  |  Twist of the Wrist, Twist of the Wrist II by Keith Code  |  Motorcycle Roadcraft: The Police Rider's Handbook  |  Pass Your Advanced Motorcycling Test (U.K.)  |  Pro Motocross and Off-Road Riding Techniques  |  Motorcycling Excellence by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation 

More Book Reviews:  Listed on our Motorcycle Books Page

wBW Riding Skills Video Reviews:  Ride Like a Pro III  |  Ride Like a Pro for the Ladies

More wBWMotorcycle Safety Page  |  Riding Schools, Training and Track Days

There are several excellent motorcycle riding skills books that could be recommended to beginning riders, but only the Motorcycle Safety Foundation books ("Motorcycling Excellence" and "Motorcycling Excellence, 2nd Edition") have the new rider as their sole focus.

The more recent Motorcycling Excellence, 2nd Edition is more successful than the original, which was rather disjointed in its approach. "How To Ride a Motorcycle: A Rider's Guide to Strategy, Safety, and Skill Development" addresses this market gap by providing a relatively complete guide for anyone just beginning to think about entering the sport.

The book covers just about every aspect of safety and strategy, with an emphasis on choosing and wearing protective gear, acquiring skills and developing the network of friends and resources that is such a wonderful part of the sport.

The book is divided into 7 chapters:

    • Getting Prepared
    • Getting Started
    • Getting Acquainted
    • Getting Skilled  
    • Getting Familiar
    • Getting Better
    • Getting Involved

Each chapter addresses the most basic levels of knowledge necessary to start learning about motorcycles and how to ride them. As an experienced rider, I found myself scratching my head trying to remember whether I knew some of these rules or not when I started riding. The lessons seem so basic that I find it hard to believe that they allow beginners to ride without knowing some of this stuff!  Pretty scary...

There's a ton of information here, which is great, but it does make for a slightly claustrophobic layout, with multiple fonts, highlighted tips and lots of photos. More rather than fewer photos is usually a good thing, but some of the images used in the book could probably either have been reduced in size (do we really need a 1/4 page photo of a tachometer and an iceberg to illustrate a tangential point?) or eliminated entirely to smooth the flow. I realize, of course, that this is personal preference, and not everyone will agree.

Many of us older riders were probably self-taught, and we survived with some wits but with a large dose of luck. But with the advent of niche publishing, the Internet and the super-efficient transfer of information in the 21st Century, there's no excuse for not becoming completely versed in at least all of the theoretical knowledge necessary to become a safe motorcycle rider. This book is a good start and I will definitely recommend it to any prospective motorcycle riders as something to read before they spend their first dollar.

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