Death Grip On The Handlebars
Early in 2004 I decided that it was time to get out and have an adventure. I liked travel, but while a week in South America or backpacking the Alps sounded exciting, they were also quite expensive. I decided on a motorcycle trip across the United States. The cost of the motorcycle would be offset by the enjoyment I got from it later.
I invited my wife to go with me. My plan was for us to ride together and experience the joys of life on the road and see America together. Unfortunately she did not have any vacation time available, so I changed plans. It was to be a SOLO motorcycle trip across country.
Being totally naive about motorcycles, I set out to learn as best as I could. Safety class, licensing and selecting the bike all were adventures of their own. Finally, in the summer of 2004, I cranked the starter and headed out for two weeks on the road.
It was quite an adventure!
When I returned, I looked for armchair adventure books similar to my own and discovered there were very few. Most motorcycle travel books fall into two categories.
1 - the lifetime expert offers random tidbits of his years on the road.
2 - the lifetime expert offers a how-to, with packing lists and places to go, how to do it right, etc.
I realized there were very few books that mirrored my own experience, that of a total newbie trying to learn and experience.
For example, purchasing a motorcycle sounds simple enough, but what is the difference between a touring motorcycle and a cruiser? After all, I wanted to cruise down the highway while on my motorcycle tour of the USA; which one should I purchase? Do I need to adjust anything on the motorcycle when going over the Rocky Mountain passes at 12,000 feet? What happens if a semi-truck passes me at 70mph, should I do anything special? If there is no gas gauge, how do I know when to fill up? These were the types of situations I ran into, and overcame. The book shows my successes and failures and does not pull any punches when highlighting everything that I did wrong.
Experienced riders will chuckle at the innocence of the newbie wondering how large of a windshield to purchase, potential (and beginner) riders will gain valuable knowledge they were too embarrassed to ask, such as how to change clothes in a dirty gas-station bathroom without getting their riding gear dirty.
As of this minute the first draft is complete and the book is undergoing extensive editing. Presented below is the current chapter-list. I hope you enjoy it and as always, comments are welcome!
Death Grip on the Handlebars
Get a Corvette Instead
Scrape on my Helmet
An Armchair Expert
A Multicolored Streak on the Roadway
Cold Puddle of Goo
Riding On Diamonds
A Plague of Locusts
Portable Incendiary Device
Carrier Pigeon from Japan
Two Miles Up Into the Air
Tails Flowing In the Bright Sunlight
Wild Open Spaces
A Mad Idea