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Biker’s Handbook; Becoming Part of the Motorcycle Culture - Book Review

Jay Barbieri is the producer of SPEED Channel’s American Thunder, a show dedicated to American-made motorcycles, and most often, Harley Davidson motorcycles. In this book, Jay shares his experiences and his lifelong passion for motorcycles and provides insights into this lifestyle for new riders. The book provides a brief history lesson of American motorcycles and the people that ride them, tidbits of motorcycle “Bikeology” throughout the pages, and common sense suggestions on riding, riding gear, trip planning, and biker attitude. Jay shares many of his personal experiences and writes in a very relaxed, straight-forward style. Jay does not shy away from using descriptive four-letter words here and there (so be ready for them). He uses no-nonsense talk to fill you in on the do’s and don’ts of bikerhood. For example, “You can’t buy cool. Being a biker is cool …” and “it means living the life, respecting the road, and being authentic.”

I found the first half of the book very insightful and a must-read for any new biker. Barbieri sets the record straight on stereotypical biker misconceptions and he offers some sound advice to keep the new biker out of trouble. He does this all while saving bikers a few dollars on motorcycle selection, accessorizing their bikes, and buying essential motor clothing. Barbieri’s suggestions on proper training and safety equipment, and his insight on what can (and probably will) go wrong while riding, are high notes throughout the book and make it worth reading.

The last half of the book is filled with his personal experiences while attending major motorcycle rallies, specifically Laconia, Daytona, and Sturgis. The reader will find lots of helpful suggestions on packing, traveling to rallies, and where to stay once you get there. However, many of the experiences described here are some of the stupid things he and his buddies did during these trips, including partying, bar-hopping, and run-ins with the law. This is entertaining reading, but the sum of all these experiences is not to ride your bike if you are heading out for a hard night of partying. That’s not to be said that there aren’t many great lessons in this half on how to plan for attending rallies, but some of the reading doesn’t contribute to learning as much as partying.

I recommend this book to any new rider, if you are seriously considering beginning riding. I found that it contains valuable insights to the overall culture of bikers in general, safety tips on riding and equipment, and valuable lessons on what can go wrong while riding and how to be prepared for these situations. The artwork on the cover and throughout is fantastic and catches the reader’s eye. The illustrations and cartoons are cleverly done and placed throughout the book to add some extra fun.

This would also make a great gift for the beginner rider or wanna be rider. Click my motorcycle books link for intermediate and advanced biker reading.

Until next week, ride safe and free.

Nancy



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