Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well, Revised 2nd Edition

Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well, Revised 2nd Edition

4.4 27
by David L. Hough

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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


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 get on one for the first time).

In Part 1, “Becoming a Motorcyclist,” Buonpastore discusses the basics of buying the right bike, gear, and equipment and getting the bike up to speed. The book continues with a good overview of learning to ride, the importance of taking a road course, venturing out on the first ride, and extending rides to long-distance jaunts. Throughout Part 1 are sidebars by riding- safety instructor and expert Walt Fulton, offering sound advice on safety precautions and execution for every leg of the new and returning rider’s journey.

The author emphasizes what older riders should be aware of and which factors can affect their rides. Adding lots of great firsthand advice are humorous and helpful stories collected by the author and related by returning riders at various ages, from their late 30s to 60s.

In Part 2, Buonpastore shares five of his favorite travelogues covering his long-distance tours around the US, from the American South to the west coasts. This section is illustrated by over 100 of the author’s breathtaking photographs of the various locations he toured on his bike.

The foreword to the book is provided by best-selling motorcycle author David Hough (author of I-5 Press’s Proficient Motorcycling and Mastering the Ride). Hough writes, “If you’re getting into today’s motorcycling at an age your doctor would describe as ‘middle aged’ or ‘senior,’ do you yourself a clever favor and read Phil’s book.”

Editorial Reviews

An anthology of articles from with abundant photos and clear line drawings. Hardly a word of wisdom here is a surprise to a rider with any experience; but every word of caution is worth revisitation. If heeded<-->unnatural for the adolescents<-->Hough would save many lives & acres of skin. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

i5 Publishing
Publication date:
Edition description:
Second Edition
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

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Proficient Motorcycling 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
nate7723 More than 1 year ago
Lots of helpful advice to get you thinking about riding safely. Hough's humor and experience make this an enjoyable read that helps you ride better.
w00t More than 1 year ago
Having taken the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Ridercourse, I can't say I got my money's worth from Proficient Motorcycling. The overlap was pretty much complete and chapter to chapter, there is a tremendous amount of repetition. The author was a columnist for Motorcycle Consumer News [magazine] and Proficient Motorcycling reads, in fact, almost like strung together monthly articles. That's not to say that the content isn't worth reading; to the contrary, if you pick up anything you didn't know before, it's worth reading. Though extremely repetitive (and some people need that), it's all good advice.
Angela2491 More than 1 year ago
This book should be a requirement for every motorcyclist to read, understand and reference. Filled with an abundance of practical and insightful analysis, countless situational examples from rider experience, thorough technical explanations, and vivid images "Proficient Motorcycling" is a valuable resource for anyone who rides 2-wheeled machines. I'm convinced that there could be life-saving information in this book for those who take to the time to accept and apply it. If you ride, you must read "Proficient Motorcycling" today! And, tell your riding buddies about this book--it could save their lives, too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This should be required reading before riding a bike and every salesman worth his weight in salt should give a copy to any customer they sell a bike to. Read it. It could save your life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the best piece of motorcycle instructional reference material in print. I'm a 20+ year riding veteran and I read it every year, cover to cover, to help me brush up between riding seasons. David explains not just how, but also why motorcycles ride and handle the way they do. Applying the knowledge from this book will make anyone, from beginners to long term vets, a better rider.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just buy this book. Free yourself of all you have known about motorcycling, and of everything you heard and read this book. It WILL make you a better and safer rider!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had not ridden a motorcycle in over 30 years. I bought Proficient Motorcycling: The Ultimate Guide to Riding Well and it is fantastic. I have read it twice, cover to cover. I am going to buy his new book, More Proficient Motorcycling: Mastering the Ride, as soon as I can get to the book store. David Hough tells you in easy to understand language everything you should know about riding on todays busy streets and highways. Eveything from hazards to watch out for to what to wear for different types of weather. If you are a new rider or even if you are a veteran motorcycle rider, this book is worth reading. I had ridden before but I learned things about how to handle a motorcycle properly that I never knew. I am surprised I didn't kill myself when I was younger. The only reason I probably didn't was because traffic was a lot lighter in those days and I was riding a Honda 350 and not the Harley Softail Heritage Classic I am riding today. David goes into great detail in the beginning of the book on the dynamics of how a motorcycle works. Most people think you just turn the handlebars and the bike turns. That is true, but a motorcycle uses counter-steering which is backwards from what most people think. If you want to go right you turn the front wheel to the left and vice versa. It is all about leaning the bike in the direction you want to go. He uses a lot of pictures and graphics to get his point across and the book is very easy to read. He covers how to handle curves using standard, early and late apexes. If you don't already know, he also tells you what an apex is. Want to know how to handle twisties in the mountains? He tells you. He also tells you what hazards to look out for while doing it. In fact, there isn't much he doesn't cover. I guess what he doesn't cover is in his second book. He tells a lot of stories, many from personal experiences, that are quite amusing and show the author learned the hard way on several occasions. I highly recommend this book and it is a must for new riders. If you are thinking about getting a motorcycle, read this book before you take your motorcycle training course. You will get a lot more out of the course. It is also a great refresher book to keep in your library. Enjoy and ride safe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book, I read it over and over again. Go for a bike trip back and read it again...Then you realize the tricks that he mentions makes so sense. Great book EVEN if you are not a novice..
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm one of those riders who didn't pay much attention to safety from ages 17 to 26, sold my motorcycles when I had sons, and started riding again 3 years ago when I turned 44. Pure luck got me through those early years. Perhaps I became fascinated with safety because my three closest friends were killed in separate automobile accidents. I have taken the MSF course, I try to keep up to date by reading various online accident post-mortems, and I've read 3 books on motorcycle safety and skills (including Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist). This is by far the best book I've read about safety. I heard about it from positive messages in motorcycle forums. I learned something important about cornering in the first chapter that I never knew, so I resolved to read to the end. I ended up buying three copies as gifts for friends. Two things make this book great: (1) It's graphically rich--full of photos and illustrations on almost every page to illustrate the point. (2) The author has been writing a safety column for MCN for years. He gets feedback from his readers, he writes well, and he's accumulated a ton of experience. One disappointment is he doesn't seem to believe that being conspicuous has any bearing on safety. It seems odd that advances in such things as large brake lights placed high and separated from tail lights could have so much quantifiable effect on truck, car, and bicycle safety, but not for motorcycles. Why do they spend so much time on it in Motorcycle Safety Foundation classes? Anyway, he dismisses it in this book. I have to admit I didn't read every word. 60-70% of it seemed to cover stuff I know. But it's easy to skim sections you know because the graphics allow you to see at a glance what's what.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Weather you are experience rider or a rookie this is you instrucction manual to void costly mistakes, or in some extreme cases loosing your life. Buy it! you will get your money worth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book covers all of the basics of operating a motorcycle. It is well written and entertaining with lots of good pictures and illustrations. It is easy to understand and yet an enjoyable read for even seasoned motorcyclists. Should be in every riders library and I suggest you read it every spring before heading out on the bike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I learned to ride when I was 51 by signing up and taking a MSF class. The closest class I could find was 250 miles from home. When I returned from the class, I bought a paper copy of 'Proficient Motorcycling' online, read every page and went out and practiced every day. I started out riding dirt roads, on a street legal 230cc dirt bike, three to four days a week from 8 am-12 noon, before work. At six months, I graduated to a 650cc dualsport, then at ten months, rode to Alaska and back, about 11,000 miles. I finally met Hough at a BMW Rally and had him sign my copy. I keep 'Proficient Motorcycling' where I can see it, as a reminder to myself, that to survive all the obstacles other drivers and the roads present, you have to be proficient. It was also helpful that I ran into some riders, when I was beginning, who passed along a memorable piece of advice: &quot;They see you and will kill you anyway.&quot; That one line pretty much got me thinking about riding defensively. Hough's book is just one of many tools that helps improve your skill level to do just that, ride defensively.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book should be required reading for anyone who rides a motorcycle. Although a little winded and repetitive in places, the book is very well written and easy to understand. Some fairly complex subjects a clearly explained. It may also help some "unlearn" bad habits from previous experience. The author is an illustrator as well, so the drawings and photos are very clear and easy to comprehend.
Donna11DG More than 1 year ago
This book is well-written, with many detailed explanations for both new and experienced riders. Both thorough and easy-to-understand, it's a guide that serious motorcyclists should review at least once each year as a reminder of how to stay safe on the road. Highly recommended as a must-have book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been riding for five-years and had no idea how much safer I can ride. After reading 90-pages I love all the pictures and clear explanations. There's really a lot to both think about and to have as an automatic skill in a crisis. This book spells out A LOT and teaches you how to develop these automatic skills.
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TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
Outstanding book
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