Thursday, July 08, 2010

Let's Ride Sonny Barger's Guide to Motorcycling

The opportunity to review this book came at the best time. Being I'm a newbie rider I truly learned a lot from Sonny Barger's wisdom. One might think that Mr. Barger would have a ride it like you stole it mentality but he really gave very sensible advice in this book. He was very truthful and didn't sugar coat the risks involved with riding.

In the introduction of the book Sonny writes...Back in the 1970's people used to say: "Ride Hard, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse." People said a lot of stupid things back then. I'm in my seventies today, and that saying seems even more idiotic to me now then it did back then. I've got a better plan: ride smart, live long, and die of old age.

This book has page after page of useful information. Each chapter takes you on the journey that you may take when you finally decide to ride and helps you figure out what type of motorcycle you should consider for your first bike. Sonny covers different parts of a motorcycle and the fundamentals of riding. There is great information on evaluating a used motorcycle and when to walk away from purchasing the motorcycle you are looking at. This book covers just about everything you possibly need to know and things you would never think about as a new rider.

Chapter Six is about Advanced Riding Techniques. I read that chapter a couple times and plan to read it a few more. When you are a new rider there is so much to remember and at times you find yourself getting caught up in the moment, so reading that chapter again and again will remind me of all the things I need to remember to do when I'm out there on the road. Even seasoned riders would benefit from reading the Advanced Riding Techniques chapter.

What I really liked where the bullet points at the end of the chapters that summed up some of the knowledge you should have taken away from what you just read.

What You Should Know
  • The engine gives the motorcycle its character.
  • Horsepower might win races, but on the street torque is king.
  • The more comfortable your bike, the more you enjoy riding.
  • Helmets not only protect your head, but they make riding more comfortable.
  • Everyone else on the road has the potential to kill you at any time.
  • Avoid financing if you can help it because it makes buying a motorcycle much more expensive.
  • Don't worry about what everyone else thinks; pick the bike you like.
  • You need to prepare your body and your bike for the rigors of a long trip.

I would especially recommend Let's Ride: Sonny Barger's Guide to Motorcycling How to Ride the Right Way for Life to anyone considering getting on two wheels or anyone that has just purchased and is learning how to ride on two wheels. I have to admit, I was truly shocked at times on how totally sensible and safe Sonny Barger is in his thinking. He is definitely an ICON of the motorcycling world and he offers so much of his knowledge in this book. You will also laugh at the humor he throws in throughout the book. I enjoyed his straight forward way of looking at things. As I said at the beginning of this post, he doesn't sugar coat a thing about riding. Motorcycling is fun but it should be taken seriously and respected and Sonny reconfirms this in each chapter.

If you need more convincing that you should purchase a copy of this book, visit these blogs for further reviews: Biker Chick News and Road Captain USA .

If you are attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally you can meet Sonny Barger and get a signed copy of this book. He will be at the Local 81 Bike Shop on Aug 9 from 10am to 3pm and on Aug 10 he will be at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum from 1pm to 4pm.


Ken said...

Thanks for posting this review ... my girlfriend is getting ready to take the MSF basic rider course next month,after being a passenger on my bike the last several months ... sounds like this book would be a good read for both me and her!

Anonymous said...

I read Biker Chick's review and now yours so off I go to order the book!! Thanks for the review.

mq01 said...

great post. he is a goldmine of info! sounds like a great book for new and old riders alike. i'll be checking it out. im wanting to hear more about your riding progress soon too...i hope...! :)

Janet/Corn Dob said...

Thanks for the link, I really enjoyed this book too! Best line in the whole thing: "... Ride smart, live long, and die of old age." AMEN, Sonny!

Road Captain said...

Thanks for the link, it was great to get your perspective as a newer motorcyclist. I read so many basic rider guides in mt teens a lot of the basics was lost on me. I still enjoyed the book. Great review!

FLHX_Dave said...

Anything Barger puts out I'll read, and not because he was a legendary 1%. He has pretty good insight as far as I am concerned and you have to be smart and resourceful to command respect from an unruley bunch.

I'm going to pick this up. One of my favorite quotes from his books is, "Live life the Sonny Barger way? I don't recommend it."

The only thing that miffs me is he never really rode outside of Oakland...not even into S.F. which is right over the Bay Bridge. It was rare that he would venture outside of his turf...can't really say I would follow his advice for long distance runs.

Still admire the man for his good traits...yeah, he has 'em.

Anonymous said...

Saw Sonny this spring on his Victory Vision. It is a beautiful ride made by Ness. Have read all that he has written and got something out of most. Thanks

dan said...

I will wait for Sturgis and get a signed copy. Met Sonny in 2000 and got a signed copy of The Life and Times Of Sonny Barger. Interesting reading. Ride safe Steph, dan

WooleyBugger said...

I saw this book in the book store a while back and almost got it then. I took advantage and read some of it at the store. Liiked what I read and now cause of you I'll have to go get a copy.

word verify: exterds

cynthia q. said...

thanks for the review. sounds like a good read.

sophisting said...

One interesting thing about this book is that he states that he never really liked Harley Davidsons -- they just happened to be the best American bike made at the time. He now rides a Victory.