So you left your Christmas shopping off wayyyyyy too late. The good news is that you can still order a book in from Amazon (or Indigo, or whoever) and reasonably expect it to be here in time for a wrap-and-tape job before December 25. Here’s a list of motorbike books that are well worth a read, if you’re looking for something to throw in a rider’s Christmas stocking.
THAT’S AN OLD BIKE – WHERE YOU HEADIN’?: Canada Coast to Coast on a Fifty Year Old Italian Motorcycle—Nick Adams
Amazon’s description of this read: “My well-travelled 1972 Moto Guzzi Eldorado turned fifty in 2022, shortly after I turned seventy. With more than one hundred thousand miles under her wheels, the old Eldorado has traversed Labrador, visited the Arctic Circle in the Yukon, and explored most of the isolated roads in northern Ontario and northern Quebec. Along the way there have been one or two roadside mishaps – some amusing, some annoying – but she has always managed to get me home. How would she fare on another epic journey?” Find more details here!
Nick is an much-unrecognized gem of Canadian moto-authorship. He’s spending his retirement (if you could even call it that!) riding a collection of somewhat-unsuitable machines to the far corners of Canada. The book listed here is one of his latest (he’s very prolific). Previously, we recommended one of his earlier books as a Christmas buy, but we’re guessing most readers haven’t seen the entire lineup. Most of his books are available in e-reader format, and several are in paperback. Of course, the e-books can be delivered instantaneously.
Motorcycle Journeys Through North America: A guide for choosing and planning unforgettable motorcycle journeys—Dale Coyner
According to Amazon: Whether considering an ocean-to-ocean cross-country journey, a vacation ride through the Canadian Rockies, a full-length tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway, or an ambitious Four-Corners ride, Motorcycle Journeys Through North America provides the “big-idea” guidance every rider needs to plan fun-filled motorcycle tours throughout the continental United States and Canada.
Emphasis is placed on the very best roads, with expert advice on:
- When to go
- Which routes to select
- Areas to avoid
- Must-see attractions along the way
- Places to stay and eat
You’ll also find plenty of first-hand stories and hard-earned lessons from expert touring riders.
A lot of riders will get these details from social media (forums or Facebook) these days, but Coyner has been writing travel stories for a while and this can be a helpful guide to get you off the couch and into the world of touring. Note that this is the 2019 edition, and a lot of the world has changed since. However, a good place to start planning a ride.
Amazon says: “Total Control gives you everything you need to develop the techniques and survival skills necessary to become a proficient, accomplished, and safer street rider. High-quality photos, detailed instructions, and professional diagrams highlight the intricacies and proper techniques of street riding. Readers will come away with a better understanding of everything from braking and cornering to proper throttle control, resulting in a more exciting yet safer ride. By breaking down skills into small and easily learned modules, Total Control offers the most effective riding curriculum ever developed.”
We say: Lee Parks is the ultimate moto insider. Writer for both magazines and books, and also the guy behind the Lee Parks line of riding gloves and also likely a lot of other stuff we haven’t heard about. And, a very well-respected instructor, which is where this book comes in. This is the second edition of the book, and even though moto technology has changed a lot since this book was first written, the laws of physics and the rules of the road have not. Well worth a pickup (it’s here, at Amazon) if you want to improve your riding.
Amazon’s description: Enjoy a compilation of 26 high-quality images of easy-to-color fun and awesome motorcycles collection with single-sided printing to prevent bleeding ,this allows you to remove them and frame them if you like. You can use crayons, gel ink pens or felt tip.It’s a creative and ideal gift for adults as well as older kids and teens alike.
The name says it all, and yes, that is the publisher’s actual name as well. Look, even if you’ve grown up well past coloring books, there surely must be a child in your life who needs this. It appears that all the illustration are two-page spreads, but the description above.
Amazon’s blurb reads as follows: “Since its original publication in 1968, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values has touched whole generations of readers with its serious attempt to define “quality” in a world that seems indifferent to the responsibilities that quality brings. Mark Richardson expands that journey with an investigation of his own – to find the enigmatic author of Zen and the Art, ask him a few questions, and place his classic book in context. The result manages to be a biography of Pirsig himself – in the discovery of an unknown life of madness, murder and eventual resolution – and a splendid meditation on creativity and problem-solving, sanity and insanity.”
It’s been a long time since the original moto-philosophy crossover book was published (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). It’s been a while since Mark wrote this follow-up travelogue, and it’s also been a while since Mark worked here at CMG. No matter. This is still a great book that helps explain and flesh out the confusing original by Robert Pirsig. It also stands on its own as an entertaining read.
As per Amazon: “Do you have a dog-eared stack of old motorcycle magazines on the back of your toilet? Clean up your act! Recycle those old mags and replace them with this one tidy book. 365 days’-worth of new motorcycle facts that are, if anything, even more trivial than the first Bathroom Book of Motorcycle Trivia – an Amazon #1 Bestseller!”
Mark Gardiner has written some of the best moto stories of the past 20 years, including his book about training for and riding the Isle of Man TT. But sometimes you just want a 5-minute read, and this follow-up to the original moto bathroom book is exactly what you want for those sessions on the john.
From Amazon: “From the first model, the 1923 R32 that launched BMW’s motorcycle dynasty, to the latest (and fastest) superbike, the S1000RR, this book captures nearly a century of motorcycling excellence in a combination of historic and contemporary photos. Technical specs are provided for each model.”
BMW Motorrad turned 100 years old this year, and this book shows all the bikes the company made over those ten decades (well, up until publication in 2022 at least). Flip through the pages and argue with whoever is sitting close-by: Was the R1200 C a success? Are K-bikes ugly, or do they have utilitarian beauty? What is the most desirable Beemer of all time, and why is it the R90 S in Daytona Orange?
Amazon says this: “First published in 1968, and now back in print for the first time in ten years, The Bikeriders explores firsthand the stories and personalities of the Chicago Outlaws Motorcycle Club. This journal-size volume features original black-and-white photographs and transcribed interviews by Lyon, made from 1963 to 1967, when he was a member of the Outlaws gang. Authentic, personal and uncompromising, Lyon’s depiction of individuals on the outskirts of society offers a gritty yet humane perspective that subverts more commercialized treatments of Americana.”
What Hunter S. Thompson did with words, Danny Lyon did with photos. HST wrote about the Hells Angels, and Lyon rode with the Chicago Outlaws for months, taking photos of them, their families, and their fun. Recommending this book is in no way a recommendation of one-percenter lifestyle; it’s just an interesting look at motorcycling from days gone by; the photos are amazing. Of course, there’s also a movie out now, based on this book, but we haven’t seen any news on a definite release date since Disney ended its distribution plans.
Amazon’s description will grab your attention: “In 1982, at the age of just twenty-three and halfway through her architecture studies, Elspeth Beard left her family and friends in London and set off on a 35,000-mile solo adventure around the world on her 1974 BMW R60/6.Reeling from a recent breakup and with only limited savings from her pub job, a tent, a few clothes and some tools, all packed on the back of her bike, she was determined to prove herself.”
This retrospective on Elspeth Beard’s round-the-world trip via airhead BMW is proof that anyone can cut the ol’ apron strings and travel on a motorcycle, if they’re plucky enough. And to think, she did this trip before the days of social media, where you can line up a free place to stay now within minutes, or find parts online. No GPS maps for her, either!
If you haven’t read this book before, here’s Amazon’s description: “When the ever-curious Ralph spots Keith’s red toy motorcycle, he vows to ride it. So when Keith leaves the bike unattended in his room one day, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom (and speed!) come a lot of obstacles. Whether dodging a rowdy terrier or keeping his nosy cousins away from his new wheels, Ralph has a lot going on! And with a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there’s nothing this little mouse can’t handle.”
Another must-have for any kids on your list. This children’s book has been in print for decades because it’s a good read. Even the jaded, raised-on-iPad youth of today can at least use it for a school assignment, instead of that Captain Underpants schlock.