The motorcycle lifestyle is a combination of fun, inspiration, and a handful of other ingredients unique to each rider's story. These books represent important ingredients in the recipe of my personal motorcycling adventure. You may, or may not, find all of them meaningful but at least read a bit about them before you dismiss or embrace any of them.
Lone Rider: The First British Woman to Motorcycle Around the World
In 1982, at the age of twenty-three, 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. With some savings from her pub job, a tent, a few clothes, and some tools, all packed on the bike, she was determined to prove herself and to get over a recent heartbreak. She had ridden bikes since her teens and was already well traveled, but this journey would be the toughest thing she’d ever done. By the time she returned to England two years later, she was 30 pounds lighter and decades wiser. She’d ridden through deserts and mountain ranges and war-ravaged countries. She’d faked documents and fended off sexual attacks, biker gangs, and corrupt police who were convinced she was trafficking drugs. She’d survived brutal crashes and life-threatening illnesses and she’d fallen in love with two very different men. In an age before email, the Internet, mobile phones, and GPS, Elspeth had to navigate with unreliable maps, communicate by post, and fix her bike with the tools she carried with her, but she achieved her goal nonetheless. Told with honesty and wit, this is the extraordinary and moving story of a unique and life-changing adventure.
Jupiter's Travels: Four Years Around the World on a Triumph
Simon rode a motorcycle around the world in the seventies, when such a thing was unheard of. In four years he covered 78,000 miles through 45 countries, living with peasants and presidents, in prisons and palaces, through wars and revolutions. What distinguishes this book is that Simon was already an accomplished writer. In 25 years this book has changed many lives, and inspired many to travel, including Ewan McGregor.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions on how to live. The narrator's relationship with his son leads to a powerful self-reckoning; the craft of motorcycle maintenance leads to an austerely beautiful process for reconciling science, religion, and humanism. Resonant with the confusions of existence, this classic is a touching and transcendent book of life.
A Long Ride on a Cycle
A Vietnam veteran rides south, keeps three promises, and finds his future. This book was recommended by a friend and served as his inspiration for building his R75/5 - the machine ridden by the book's protagonist!
The Higdon Chronicles: Volume One: Iron Butts, Airheads, and My Life Behind Bars
For more than 30 years Bob Higdon has been an instigator, raconteur, provocateur, and unapologetic contrarian. He is a record-holding long-distance rider, both unabashed promoter and red-eyed critic of BMW Motorrad, award-winning motorcycle-rights advocate, and voice of the Iron Butt Association. His writing has earned him a unique place among the legends of motorcycle journalism. The Higdon Chronicles, collated from various sources over the past 30 years, represents his best work. A self-described “recovering attorney,” these days he migrates between Maryland and Florida, depending on where the better riding weather is currently found.
The Higdon Chronicles: Iron Butts, Airheads, and My Life Behind Bars (Volume Two)
For more than 30 years has been a raconteur, provocateur, and relentless contrarian. He is a record-holding long-distance rider, both unabashed promoter and red-eyed critic of BMW Motorrad, award-winning motorcycle-rights advocate and voice of the Iron Butt Association. His writing has earned him a unique place among the legends of motorcycle journalism. The Higdon Chronicles, collated from various sources over the past three decades, represents his best work. A self-described "recovering attorney," these days he migrates between Maryland and Florida, depending on where the better riding weather is currently found.
Obsessions Die Hard: Motorcycling the Pan American Highway's Jungle Gap
This book chronicles Culberson's determination to fulfil his fascination with the Pan American Highway System, which runs the length of North and South America. Culberson wanted to ride his motorcycle along the Pan American Highway's entire route between Alaska and Argentina, but in eastern Panama and western Colombia's Darien region the road is broken by an 80-mile gap filled with jungles, rain forests, rivers, and swamps, forcing travellers to detour around it by boat or plane. The area is so inhospitable and unexplored that a myth about its impenetrability has evolved over the centuries, and a curse aimed at Darien trespassers shrouds the region. But the Darien Gap, known as el tapon del Darien -- the Stopper, didn't stop Culberson's dream. It turned it into an obsession.