The Complete Idiots Guide to Motorcycles Second Edition
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The Complete Idiots Guide to Motorcycles Second Edition

A Note about the Second Edition 

The Buddhists have a saying: “He who knows, doesn’t know. He who knows he doesn’t know, knows.” Looking back at The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycles, I realize I’ve forgotten more about motorcycling than I thought I knew when I originally wrote the book. Even though I’ve been riding now for 27 years, I still learn something new about the fascinating and complex activity of motorcycling each and every time I ride.

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.

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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.

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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.


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