Download The Complete Idiots Guide to Motorcycles Second Edition easily in PDF format for free.
And as I wrote in the original introduction, the more you know, the more rewarding riding your motorcycle will be. Every activity entails a certain amount of risk, whether that activity is inline skating, swimming, working out on a treadmill, or riding a motorcycle. Even inactivity entails a certain amount of risk—just look at the number of couch potatoes who suffer from heart disease. But motorcycling probably entails a higher-than-average amount of risk. I accept a certain amount of risk, but I also do everything in my power to keep that risk to a minimum.
I always wear protective gear, even when I’m just running to the corner store for some ice cream. I keep a constant vigil over other traffic, and I do all my spirited riding as far from populated areas as possible. I read as much as I can about riding techniques, and practice those techniques on a regular basis. And I always strive to stay alert and focused on my riding at all times. I have crashed over the years, and I have been seriously injured, yet only once have I ever contemplated quitting riding.
It was the day I learned Motorcyclist™ editor Greg McQuide had been killed in a motorcycle accident. I learned the news while at work, and after hearing about Greg, I didn’t want to get on my bike to ride home. Then I thought about Greg, a man who lived life with more joy than just about anyone I have ever met. It occurred to me that Greg would feel terrible if he knew he had contributed to my decision to quit riding. He knew how much I love riding motorcycles, how much pleasure they give me. That ended my brief flirtation with abandoning the sport.
At the end of Sinclair Lewis’s novel Babbitt, the title character reflects back on his life. Babbitt realizes his life has been a total waste because he’s never done a single thing he wanted to do. Greg McQuide would not have had that realization, and I hope it’s not one I ever have. I intend to keep riding as long as I’m able. I will, however, continuously strive to be more focused and cautious when I ride. I think Greg would appreciate that.