AMA Ride Guide to America: Favorite Motorcycle Tours in the USA
Edited by: Greg Harrison
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Whitehorse Press (February, 2005)
I’ve been ambivalent up to now about this type of book; the motorcycle touring book or guide.
And I’ve come to see the value in exploiting someone else’s hard work for my pleasure.
There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s exactly why these books are written.
And the authors (and publishers) will probably like nothing more than to learn that people are using their books for enjoyment!
I’m not exactly sure how the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA here in the States) got into the business of writing motorcycle touring books.
But hey, why worry about the motivation?
The book is a close cousin to the AMAs relatively well-known “Motorcycle Journeys Through…” series.
The series covers more geographically focused regions such as Baja, the Pacific Northwest, New England and even the Alps and Corsica (see the wBW review of Motorcycle Journeys Through the Appalachians).
In fact, although I only have experience with the “Appalachian” version, I’d guess that this book is a compilation of a few of the articles from each of the regional tour books.
This particular book is divided into the 5 geographic regions that make up the United States: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, South, Rocky Mountains and the West.
Some might argue that there should be a “Mid West” or “Northern Plains” region also, and I’m not sure why there isn’t.
One of the obvious problems with a motorcycle tour guide book that covers a geography as vast as the United States is that any one rider may never venture out of his or her own region.
If this is the case, a reader would be paying full price for only 20% of the book.
But this can be countered by a couple of arguments.
First, at only about $17.00, the argument is rendered somewhat moot. Also, it’s nice to read about rides in other parts of the country.
Who knows, after reading about some of the interesting and varied locations the U.S.A. has to offer, you may get the jones to travel there just to rent a bike and go for a spin!
The book has a total of 31 different rides, about 5-6 per region.
Some of the articles were written by semi-famous motorcyclists, including Clement Salvadori, Bruce Hansen (who writes about motorcycle touring for Rider magazine and others) and other folks on the staff of the AMA’s American Motorcyclist magazine.
There is a bit of overlap here also for those who already own Motorcycle Journeys Through the Appalachians (review) because Dale Conyer, who wrote that book, is also represented in this one.
Each chapter has some nice photos, information on places of interest and restaurants, and the chapters start with printed instructions and a map.
Now that I’m becoming more familiar with this type of guide book, I wonder why they aren’t printed using a spiral binding, which would make them much easier to fold and put behind the clear window of a tank bag.
This book is bound, and it didn’t take long before I broke the spine and the pages started coming loose.
I’ve taken to photocopying the map and instructions (and enlarging them when I do so) to use for carrying on the bike.
All in all, not a bad effort, and we motorcyclists definitely owe it to Whitehorse Press for publishing many, many different books on the sport of motorcycling.
Review Date: April 2005
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