This book is a departure from what I expected when I was asked to review a new book by Sonny Barger. Sonny as most bikers know is one of the founding members of the Oakland Chapter of the Hell’s Angels. Some know him as the “baddest man on two wheels” (Rolling Stone). He is now in his seventies and has become a prolific writer. I have previously reviewed Hell’s Angel which quickly became a best seller and Ridin’ High, Livin’ Free. This new book is a beginners guide for new motorcyclists interested in learning to ride and buying their first motorcycle. The “baddest man on two wheels” conducts a master class on the nuts and bolts of motorcycling aimed at the new rider. Sonny delivers in his easy to follow no non sense writing style.
Sonny has been riding motorcycles longer than I have been alive so it only makes sense for him to document his knowledge of the topic he loves most: riding motorcycles. The book is thorough in covering topics such as: how a motorcycle works, different kinds of motorcycles, how to choose a motorcycle, how to inspect a used motorcycle, how to shop for a new motorcycle, how to maintain a motorcycle and how to ride a motorcycle. I found Chapter 6 Advanced Riding Techniques to be an incredibly valuable piece of literature that every motorcyclist should read twice! Sonny touched on the topic of clubs in the final chapter of the book but left me wanting to hear more on the topic of MC culture from the most well known 1%er in the world. Not being new to motorcycling, the thorough chapters on the anatomy of motorcycles, the different types of motorcycles, inspecting a used motorcycle and buying a motorcycle were tedious to read but educational.
Sonny obviously has an unparalleled passion for motorcycling and a vast knowledge base that makes him the perfect author for this book. The surprise in this book is the practicality! Sonny preaches the same principles of safety and practicality that you would find on my website. Coming from me it sounds like geek talk. But coming from Hell’s Angel, well maybe you should listen. In Chapter 3 The Fundamentals of Riding Sonny writes:
“I’m going to provide you with the basics of motorcycle riding in the following pages, but first I’m going to give you the single most important piece of advice in this entire book – complete the MSF Rider Course.”
Sonny also writes “Abuse yourself in whatever way you see fit, but when it comes time to ride a motorcycle, I highly recommend riding sober”. He preaches that even one beer can mean the difference between life and death. To illustrate this point Sonny recalls an encounter with a deer on his way home from Sturgis last year and said “Had I drank even one beer, that might have slowed my reaction time just enough to cause me to hit the deer.”
If you’re a rider and a reader you’ll want to read this book and every book Sonny writes. Click here for more information on this book.