Book: Proficient Motorcycling (2nd Edition)
So, some time ago a reader of this blog suggested this book. The author of this book, David Hough is a popular writer especially for his safety riding articles (mostly) in USA. With that being said, here are the chapters of the second edition of this book…
Title: Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well
Author: David L. Hough
Chapter 1: Risk!
Starting with a realistic motorcycle accident story, the author begins identifying the risks of motorcycle riding which most of the time are intentionally omitted. After discussing the risks in an accurate manner, he provides some statistics of fatalities in motorcycle accidents. He then moves to statistics on licensing, riding experience, training, alcohol, rider age, big bikes versus small bikes, etc. So, after this thorough analysis, he starts talking about the most basic steps to fix the odds. This includes general driving tips, emergency reactions, protective gear, etc. This is a very nice chapter with very real world scenarios.
Chapter 2: Motorcycle Dynamics
In this chapter, the reader is introduced to the numerous physics laws behind the incredible motorcycle dynamics. Always in a simple form, the author describes concepts such as stability, contact patch location and its properties, balancing, leaning and counter-steering, push steering, coning, fast flicks, ergonomics etc. After discussing numerous subjects about the general design concepts of motorcycles as the ones mentioned earlier, all of them are combined to achieve real world control of your bike, both directional and braking. Especially, the brake systems and techniques are described in detail in the following sections which among others include quick-stop, skids, maneuvers, etc.
Chapter 3: Cornering Tactics
After dealing with all the basics of riding a motorcycle, author starts to getting more into details of specific subjects starting with this. Here, you can find techniques and personal experiences for cornering in everyday riding. This means everything from basic principles that should be followed to more advanced topics. For example, here you can find information about throttle affect on traction, throttle steering, cornering lines, apex lines, braking and leaning tempo, and a lot of similar subjects. It is a very complete chapter with information that can be applied in everyday riding on public roads as opposed to most content regarding this topic which is targeted on track days.
Chapter 4: Urban Traffic Survival
This is an excellent chapter discussing the countless hazards of driving in city public roads. This includes advises for driving techniques and tactics, quickly identifying possible dangers, special occasions in intersections, common mistakes of car and motorcycle drivers that usually lead to accidents, hazards such as parked cars, buses, double-parked cars, cross-traffic, railroads, and many more subjects. It includes very useful information although most city motorists are aware of the described topics.
Chapter 5: Booby Traps
This affects all kind of vehicles but especially motorcycles where traction and balance is more important. Here, the author goes through some of the many hazards caused by the road’s surface. He suggests some techniques for detecting as well as driving on slick surfaces, railroad crossings, brick roads, wood, detours, curbs, etc. and also discusses various crucial subjects like conserving traction, tactics for studying the texture and color of the surface, balancing and steering on dirt, braking, evasive tactics for objects (or in the exact scenario animals) that might found on the road, etc. In my humble opinion, this is the best chapter of this book providing knowledge that is useful for everyday riding.
Chapter 6: Special Situations
Herein, author goes through many techniques and provides valuable information for driving with special weather conditions. This includes a lot tricks and tips for situations including rain, hot desert, cold, wind, snow, night, etc. In all of these cases, there are many techniques as well as common mistakes that most riders make and this books attempts to identify.
Chapter 7: Sharing the Ride
As the chapter’s title says, this section is dedicated to the various concepts around group riding. Once again, there is very useful knowledge about all sorts of information regarding this topic. A few examples of the included sections are formation, communication, movement in the group, quick stops, cornering, hills, carrying luggage, side-cars and trikes, etc. Definitely a good resource.
The End of the Trip
So, this is the end. Here there is nothing more than a nice conclusion paragraph.
So, on the downside part of the content is very America-oriented. Now on the upside, it is very well written and easy to follow. All the provided information is based on real world scenarios as opposed to most riding books which are mainly dealing with track driving techniques.