What’s on your bookshelf?
It's cold and miserable outside. Your bike has been parked for two months already, and many more months will go by before you are riding again. How do you pass the time?
Pick up a good book.
Since you ride, that tells me you are a bit adventurous, which also tells me there is no point in me giving you my views on these or any other books. You’ll go exploring and find the ones you like.
No matter what kind of riding you like to do, there is a book you can find that will hold your interest. If you want tales of adventure from people who have travelled around the world or personal memories or spiritual growth found on the seat of a bike, you will find a book.
There are books by some very famous people and there are books about famous people. Some relative unknowns sell their self-published books at the bike shows over the winter and some books are only available from specific websites.
Support your local author.
There are books to help you develop/improve your riding skills, which can be quite helpful so sit back and reflect on the content as you await that first ride in the spring.
You can read about racers or get to the bottom of the long-distance rider mentality.
There are books filled with photos and there are books you will want to read for the articles.
Plus, don’t forget your favourite magazine.
Just because there is snow outside and you can’t go for a ride, there is no reason to forget about riding.
What’s on your bookshelf? Here’s a selection of what is on mine (see photos above and below).
Plus, your local library can quite likely get you any/all of these and more.
Read responsibly and enjoy your literary travels.
- By R. Bruce Thomas
What’s on your bookshelf?
Friday, 22 January 2016 11:13 Published in Touring Essentials with R. Bruce Thomas
We know that riding smoothly is one aspect of quicker lap times at the track and being safe on the street: Gentle, precise throttle inputs, fluid body movements and steady lean angles mid-turn are just some of the characteristics of what you'd consider a smooth rider. Jorge Lorenzo is a perfect example, with a glass-smooth riding style that looks like he is going much slower than he actually is.
Friday, 11 December 2015 12:16 Published in Andrew Trevitt
Four days from now, we should know who has won the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. I say “should" since protests and ongoing legal wrangling might delay the official results.
This type of behavior is rare in bike racing, more likely in automotive competition. However the days following October 25 and the penultimate 2015 season round in Malaysia have confirmed that we live in interesting times.
Thursday, 05 November 2015 11:57 Published in Colin Fraser
Watch any road race practice session and you will see riders trying different lines almost every lap, as they search for the quickest way around the track. By race time the experimentation is done and the top riders rarely stray more than a few inches from their chosen lines, but sometimes you will still see significant differences between riders. The best line through a particular corner or sequence of corners is not always the obvious choice, and depends on a number of factors.
Friday, 23 October 2015 15:20 Published in Andrew Trevitt
With just a handful of rounds remaining in this year's MotoGP World Championship, it's almost certain that the championship will go to either Valentino Rossi or Jorge Lorenzo. The two Movistar Yamaha riders are atop the standings, both with more than a race worth of points in hand over Marc Marquez in third place. It's an enviable position for Yamaha to be in, but at the same time I'm sure it's causing plenty of angst in the team and at company headquarters.
Update after the Aragon round on September 27: It is even more certain the championship will go to Rossi or Lorenzo, as Marquez crashed at Aragon and dropped even further behind in the points but remains in third.
Obviously, sitting 1-2 in the standings with such a lead is good for Yamaha and the team because, almost no matter what happens, a Yamaha rider will win the title. All eyes are on the title chase, there's plenty of drama, and the company and team sponsors get plenty of TV time and exposure out of it. From now to the end of the season, more people will be concerned with where Rossi and Lorenzo finish in each race, rather than who wins or is on the podium.
On the downside, because it's a two-horse race now, it's a safe bet that the two riders are not working together as you would expect from teammates - no sharing of setup notes, data, thoughts on tire selection or the track surface, and so on. This makes it very difficult for Yamaha and the team to move forward with development or testing, as the workload cannot be shared between the two riders: each will be trying to find the best solutions, and keeping the results to himself. At Misano, for example, Lorenzo tested small winglets on the side of his M1 during the first day's practice, whereas Rossi tested them at a private test earlier.
In the last few rounds, it's clear that the focus in the Movistar Yamaha garage has been the riders' personal battle. At Misano, both riders were so concerned with what the other was doing in the tricky dry/wet/dry conditions that both suffered as a result, mistiming their bike changes to match the changing track. At the end of the day, Rossi finished fifth while Lorenzo crashed out. Rossi even confessed after that he was more concerned with beating Lorenzo than anything else: "It’s true that the championship is a lot more important that winning this race, it’s the main target." Yamaha cannot be happy that a potential race win for the brand was forfeit.
None of this is atypical for a race team. It's all wine and roses when there is an obvious No. 1 and No. 2 rider: plenty of information is shared between the riders, the development work carries on at a steady pace, and there is no secrecy. But when the two riders end up battling for the championship title (or position), the walls go up fast. A similar situation came to a head last year in World Superbike, with team orders being issued in both the Kawasaki and Aprilia camps and riders on both teams unhappy.
Hopefully Rossi and Lorenzo will not have any more miscues as they did in Misano, and that the title fight continues on to the finale in Valencia to close out a fantastic season. While their points lead over Marquez is comfortable, it is not unassailable by any means, and they cannot afford many more similar errors as a team.
Saturday, 26 September 2015 17:22 Published in Andrew Trevitt
In a recent Touring Essentials blog we looked at some pointers for being able to enjoy riding in the rain. One point was to ensure you have a good rain suit to wear over your gear or rain liners to put on inside your gear. This isn’t always necessary.
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 12:00 Published in Touring Essentials with R. Bruce Thomas
Thanks to the popularity of NASCAR, most people are familiar with drafting and how it works. Obviously it plays a big part in stock car racing, but it's also important in motorcycle racing - especially at tracks with long, fast straights.
Friday, 21 August 2015 15:17 Published in Andrew Trevitt
"Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin' out the scenery, breakin' my mind
Do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign?"
Thursday, 06 August 2015 14:51 Published in Touring Essentials with R. Bruce Thomas
In 1990, I raced at Road Atlanta in the AMA 250 Grand Prix class. Since it was a new track for me, my brother Stephen and I drove down early so that we could at least get a look at the track before practice.
Friday, 17 July 2015 14:04 Published in Andrew Trevitt
Now that riding season is fully underway it is time to get back to good habits to help keep you safe on the roads.
Before you go for a ride, there are a number of things you should check to ensure your bike is as ready to go as you are.
Friday, 26 June 2015 11:16 Published in Touring Essentials with R. Bruce Thomas