Proficient Motorcycling by David Hough

proficient motorcycling the ultimate guide to riding well

I completed reading David Hough’s recently updated and expanded Proficient Motorcycling. This is the 2nd edition of what is considered to be the “#1 book in motorcycle safety!” It’s close to 300 pages so it is not a short read like David Hough’s Street Strategies which I reviewed last April. This book included a free bonus CD with 144 pages from Motorcycle Consumer News which I did not take out of the sleeve… yet. Considering the 300 page text and the 144 bonus pages on CD you get a lot for your money with this purchase and although it took some time to arrive from Amazon.com it was worth the wait.

I’m a sick individual who worries too much and is obsessed. Obsessed with motorcycle books! I have probably read too many of them and I can’t stop myself! When it comes to riding safety books, after a certain amount of books the idea is going to be that either one new idea is worth reading the whole book or that reading similar information over and over will embed the knowledge through repetition. Don’t under estimate any one good idea or the power of repetition, it can mean the difference between a close call and the final call!

It might be because I have read a number of motorcycle safety books that getting through this fairly large book was difficult for me. It reminded me of my childhood. I was born a poor sick child with asthma (sort like Steve Martin in The Jerk who was born a poor black child). And yes quite a few people think I am a jerk too, but I digress. As a child I had to take the most horrible tasting medicine in liquid form called Quibron when I came down with an asthma attack. The stuff was the worst tasting medicine ever! I hated it! But I had to take it in order to live because breathing is paramont to survival. Forcing myself to digest the 276 pages of motorcycle wisdom contained in this text was like bad medicine: neccesary for survival! Get the book, digest the book, survive! Simple formula, just click here for more information on the book at my Amazon store.

Proficient Motorcycling – The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well has all the information you need so if you have to choose one motorcycle safety book of the ones I have read so far, this would be the one I would recommend. However if you are not a big reader the shorter Street Strategies covers most of the hazzards you need to know about in more of a Reader’s Digest style. It is much easier to swallow! I have complained that many books, such as Street Strategies, are too simple. Proficient Motorcycling is not. In this book David Hough goes into very scientific detail about the effects of rake, trail, center of mass, gravity, traction, contact patch and everything that affects motorcycle cornering. In fact he got so far into some of the scientific detail in the chapter on cornering that he lost me… so I applaud him for that! If you want the detailed information about steering a two wheeler, this book has it!

What I came across in this book that I have not found in other books is a twelve page section on group riding. I have been simultaneously reading a crime drama that has me sitting on the edge of my seat and commands my full attention. I’m glued to that book, but this book as I mentioned has been a challenge to complete… except for these twelve pages. This website is geared towards the group riding experience and I have been personally involved with group riding for the past several years. My feelings about safety in group riding is currently in a state of question and these twelve pages were important in validating my feelings about how group riding can be done safely and some of the pitfalls that come with group riding. As David points out in one of many of his colorful imaginary scenerios a bad Road Captain can change a day trip into a chaotic mess. Additionally the group riding experience sometimes attracts an idiot or two that can cause problems for good Road Captains and other riders. There were several issues in this section that I found important and will continue to dwell over during the winter months. I guess that’s a good thing if a book gives you something you can dwell on for awhile after you have reached the final page.

So there you have it! This book has the knowledge you need to survive the mean streets on a motorcycle and you should make yourself read it. It might be next winter but I promise to follow up with a book review on the sequal More Proficient Motorcycling – Mastering the Ride.

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