Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well
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Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  454 ratings  ·  55 reviews
From the publishers of Motorcycle Consumer News, Shifting Gears at 50 is a one-of-a-kind motorcycling manual for returning and late-entry riders, essentially anyone 40 years old and up who’s looking to hit the road on two wheels. Author Philip Buonpastore, a motorcycle journalist and retired US Air Force photographer, helps readers gear up to get back on a motorcycle (or g...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 22nd 2008 by i5 Press (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 735)
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Emily
Wade through the dreck and you will be rewarded with some sage motorcycling advice.
Mephistia
I am embarrassed to admit that although this book is well-written, informative and descriptive, I haven't read it all the way through.

It functions as both a manual and a guide, an informative text on how to perform certain maneuvers, better your skills and care for your motorcycle.

It offers cautionary anecdotes to underscore the importance of riding with caution and awareness.

It is a great book, but I've been ingesting it in bits and pieces. I tend to pick it up when I've been struggling with...more
Philip
This is a necessary read for motorcyclists (and only motorcyclists) but it's difficult to give this book an overwhelmingly positive review. If you haven't taken a motorcycle safety course, take one, and read this book. You will become a safer, more efficient, faster rider (fewer mistakes means more speed.) if you have taken a course (I have) this book will mostly seem like a compilation of magazine columns: not badly written per se, but very repetitive in style, especially when it covers the inf...more
Rob and Liz
So I have been driving a motorcycle for a year now. If there's one thing that riding a motorcycle has taught me, it's the importance of being alert, focused and well informed in all circumstances. Riding (and life) can be very fun but all arounds us accidents are just waiting to happen. With one careless move we can put ourselves and others in great peril.

Knowing full well the dangers associated with riding a motorcycle, I read this book before even purchasing my first bike. I found this book ve...more
Eric
If you ride, or want to ride motorcycles on public roads, this book is for you. It sums up all you need to know about road riding to get you starting to train yourself to be a better, safer rider. Covers it all from lane choice to dog defense through riding on snow and how to deal with road ragers.

A must read!
brook
This review is written from the perspective of a motorcyclist, not as a reader. If you don't ride, there's no reason for you to read this - review or the book.

This is the best instruction manual on riding I've read. I finally took the recommendation of other veteran riders and did it. It's quick. Even if you are a veteran rider, you will learn more about *why* you do what you do, and how you can improve it. Turns out that, while my cornering was fine, it was less than what I could do. I'd say my...more
Sarah
Excellent manual for both novice and experienced riders alike. This should be a must read for any rider of any type of bike.
Eric Layton
Old biker like I was or wet-behind-the-ears beginner...

READ THIS BOOK. It could save your life.

That is all.
James
Man, this guy is long-winded. And boy does he like to explain the hell out of things. But this is a NEEDED book if you ride a motorcycle. A couple of the tips have already improved my riding, and much of the advice could save somebody's life. It's just a little long and too-involved. One of the funniest things to me is that there's actually a section explaining to you how to outsmart a dog that is trying to attack you while you're riding your bike. But hell, it's actually really sound advice.
Ross Newberry
Excellent advice for beginners, and a good review for veterans.
Tom Mueller
Good skill enhancing tips herein, even if the tips seem a little geeky for the die hard rider.
I'm going to send to my daughter when I'm finished. She hopes to get a MC before too long. I am quite certain she will learn to ride a 'little' differently than I did. My method was to ride as fast as I could, till I couldn't ride quite as fast. ya see, something always slowed me down, or stopped me cold. Sometimes a curb or wet leaves on a fast turn, or maybe a fence at the end of the road . . . or a c...more
Karl
Worth the read even if it was a little dry.
Brandon Van Buskirk
This book is a must-read for anyone new to motorcycling. There is a lot of information and it's a bit long-winded at times, but I gave it the maximum rating because it gives real-world life-saving advice for new motorcyclists. It goes over in detail each of the most common types of mistakes that a motorcyclist could make that could cost them their life -and how to avoid them! That was my main takeaway. There is much more to the book though; it's basically a super-experienced motorcyclist providi...more
Mike Oliveri
A must-have book for new riders and a great resource for experienced road vets. The book is loaded with information, covering everything from bad habits riders develop to riding in rough conditions. The chapter on the physics of steering and handling is a bit tough, and Hough occasionally comes off as an aging father delivering admonishing advice, but overall the book is well-written and readers will benefit from the author's decades of experience on two wheels. Highly recommended.
Dodd Martin
I would highly recommend this book to any new motorcycle rider. If you gave taken an MSF class, some of the information will be review, but when you ride, you should never stop learning. There is a ton of information for old and new riders alike. Everything from how to brake (review - with additional physics and information), to how to pack for a long ride, to how to ride 2-up.

The style is very easy to read and many examples are given throughout to emphasize the main points.
Benjamin Newland
A collection of articles published in Motorcycle Consumer News. The writing style was conversational and above average quality. Topics were apropos for new riders or anyone looking to be a better rider. From time to time you could tell that these were originally stand alone articles and they suffered a bit from close proximity, but on the whole the editing was pretty well done. I'd really encourage anyone who owns or would like to own a motorcycle to read through this book.
Barbara Huskey
Educational book full of useful information well written and not dry.
Justin
For four years now I've been commuting Los Angeles' overcrowded streets by motorbike. This book is a treasure trove of instruction, advice, and wisdom distilled from Hough's 30+ years of riding experience. Reading this book has saved my ass, if not my life, many a time. What higher praise is there? The motorcycling community is fortunate to have such a man as Hough looking out for us.
Heather Ingemar
Feb 05, 2010 Heather Ingemar rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: new motorcyclists, experienced motorcyclists, motorcycle enthusiasts
There was a TON of great information in this book, and the writing style was very accessible. FABULOUS resource for new riders, and even veterans looking to brush up on the basics. If there was one downside to this book, it was that there was too much information to absorb in two weeks (library checkout period). Now, if you had a few months to absorb it little at a time... Perfect. :)
David
Aug 07, 2008 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: motorcyclists
Shelves: motorcycles
This book gives a pretty thorough overview of the handling dynamics of motorcycles as well as dangers that you are likely to face on the road. This is a must read for anyone on a motorcycle. The author's work has been very influential on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
John
I read too many of these type books prior to this one. The book is very comprehensive but gets tedious when you get about 3/4 done. It's a compilation of past motorcycle consumer news articles and the book would be an easier read if each article were identified.
Contains very solid motorcycle safety info and I think it is a good reference resource to keep around.
Meowbie
I read this a couple of years ago now, as a bathroom book (i.e. one page at a time in the loo). I learned a lot from it, although some instructions need to be reversed for left-lane countries such as Australia. Will be reading it again cover to cover - so important to respect these powerful machines we ride, and the hazards we face every day among the "cages".
Regan
I'm riding for my second year. I'm reading the book in bits and pieces and am learning a lot that I didn't know but maybe should have. I see that I have been picking up some bad habits. I'm working on those but never would have really understood just how bad those habits are without this book. This book may have just saved my life. So yes, 5 stars.
Don
So far (I'm only a third of the way through) the advice has been good, but the writing isn't great, the editing is terrible (It's a sort of mashed-up compilation of the author's magazine articles), and the physics is just plain wrong. But despite the bad physics and writing, the riding techniques work and the advice is useful. So I'll keep reading it.
Kristen
While this book does go over items that I already knew, it was a good refresher and it brought up items I didn't know. It has everything from the physics of riding to how to deal with elk who enter your path. A must read for all riders, novices and pros. Apparently my riding has improved from reading the book, according to others.
Amanda Whisner
It's almost that time of year! The bikes are out, and it's almost warm enough for my comfort, so brushing up on my skills. This guy is one of the pioneers of motorcycle safety. The chapters (so far) read like his magazine articles -- very clear and concise. Nothing is a surprise yet (thankfully!), but it is a great book of reminders.
kk
Mar 08, 2013 kk rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Yes
This book helped me understand why motorcycles fall down through corners and turns. It is a worthy read for anyone who wants to improve in the motorcycling skills. As winter nears the end and with the approach of spring I will pick this book up again to brush up on a few worthy tips the book has to offer.
Scot Berkey
If you want to ride a motorcycle on the streets, this is a must-read. Not only for beginners, this book discusses many common and uncommon situations and provides strategies for each. A classic, and the standard by which other motorcycle safety and skills books are judged.
Diane Hart
Nov 08, 2013 Diane Hart rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: beginner and advance riders
I found this book to be excellent in terms of information and instructional for beginner and advanced motorcyclist.
Well written and easy to read. As a total beginner, I read about potential hazards I may deal with when riding.
I totally recommend it!
Richard Mulholland
I can't recommend this book highly enough to riders of all levels - it completely changed my perspective on riding and will probably save my life more than a few times.

Seriously get this book if you go two wheels.
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