Magnetic Drain Plug
Stories about motorcycles with a Canadian perspective
Book Review: Nearly 40 on the 37
Trevor's book, Nearly 40 on the 37, is a well written and interesting read from a regular guy nearing his fortieth birthday. It just so happens that he likes motorcycles and plans to go exploring beautiful BC on perhaps the best mode of transportation to experience an adventure on - a motorcycle! We're along for the ride as he travels solo along British Columbia's remote Highway 37.
Buy it at www.whitehorsepress.com or at www.trevormarchughes.ca. You can also get it as an e-book on Amazon Kindle
- 127 pages
Follow Marc on twitter @trevmarchughes
About Trevor Marc Hughes: Prior to writing, Trevor was an actor, most notably when he was barely out of his teens on the television series "Northwood" for CBC Television. He was a freelancer, part reporter, part independent producer and sometimes arts reporter at CBC Radio Vancouver for over nine years. During this time he also contributed to National Public Radio and publications such as Pacific Mariner and Celtic Connection. He lived in London, England briefly where he helped out at BBC Radio Five Live at Broadcast Centre.
He lives with his wife and two sons in Vancouver, British Columbia and regularly contributes to magazines such as Canadian Biker
Motorcycle Journeys Through New England
Center Conway, NH, June 2013—Whitehorse Press has just released an all-new edition of one of its most popular touring guides, Motorcycle Journeys Through New England, just in time for riders to make the most of the riding season.
New England has everything a motorcyclist could want: twisty, historic roads; wild and scenic vistas; and interesting, quirky, accessible destinations worthy of stretching your legs. Vermont native and moto-insider Ken Aiken thoroughly covers Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island in 28 routes that catalog the very best they have to offer, from shoreline to summit.
The pace of touring on two wheels is especially well suited to appreciating and pondering the forces—both natural and man-made—that continue to shape New England. Many of the most popular riding roads evolved from native and pre-colonial trade routes, which may have begun as game trails. Routes rise, fall, and sweep with contours that follow a rugged terrain initially traversed during a slower time. Few books before this one have offered up as many regional gems to touring riders. In addition, Aiken has tapped into his lifelong interests in history, architecture, geology, and industry to offer up fascinating tidbits of local detail, adding colour and context to the extrasensory movie that will be playing on your visor.
This all-new edition of Motorcycle Journeys Through New England features full-colour maps with turn-by-turn directions for each suggested route, along with updated information for motorcycle-friendly services, memorable lodging and dining, and points of interest that take you off the beaten path.
Ken Aiken is the author of Motorcycle Journeys Through Atlantic Canada and Touring Vermont’s Scenic Roads, and has written feature articles and reviews for most of the major motorcycle touring magazines in North America. For more than a decade he has been a seminar speaker at Americade in June, and more recently has been the U.S. representative for motorcycle tourism in Canada for the Charlevoix, Mauricie, Saguenay, and the Maritime regions of Québec.
Details on Motorcycle Journeys Through New England:
Softbound, 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches, 352 pages, colour illustrations and relief maps, detailed route instructions, $27.95. Copies will be available at your local bookstore, motorcycle dealer, or can be ordered in advance directly from the publisher, Whitehorse Press, 107 East Conway Road, Center Conway, NH 03813-4012. Telephone toll free 800-531-1133 or visit their web site at www.whitehorsepress.com.
Book Review: The University Of Gravel Roads
Global Lessons Learned From A Four-Year Motorcycle Adventure
Written by: Rene Cormier
Review by: CMR Staff
Before reading Rene's book I had a chance to listen to a presentation he gave to motorcycle journalists at the 2011 Motorcycle show in Moncton, NB and afterwards to speak with him personally. He seemed like a regular guy who was really passionate about living life to the fullest - whatever the adventure may be. The topic of his (first) book just happened to be an epic motorcycle adventure that spanned 41 countries, 154,000 kilometers, and nearly five years of travel.
It's a dream that most motorcyclist's won't fulfill but Rene's book might be just the fuel you need to make you choose a different path for yourself, or perhaps - a detour on your path. Rene is infectiously excited about travel and adventure and talking to him gives me a similar feeling that I get from reading his book - if you choose to do it - you can. Don't let planning every detail in minutiae get in the way of DOING.
Rene's trip began in February of 2003 and he came 'home' in October of 2008. You can't really plan every detail of a trip of that magnitude. You just plan many, many small trips and take whatever comes.
Rene (33) calls Edmonton, Canada home but currently divides his time between there and doing guided motorcycle tours in Africa. University of Gravel Roads is Rene's first book but he's got a bit of a talent for it. The University of Gravel Roads is certainly an easy and very enjoyable read. Every page of this book is interesting! Yes, EVERY page. Really.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's filled with interesting details of the cultures and information about the journey Rene took. Not only is it well written but it's vividly illustrated with tons of photo's - amazing photos at that. Surely they're just a small sample of what he saw and encountered over those almost 5 years of travel. How fitting the title of the book then - The University of Gravel Roads.
How did Rene come to take this trip? Was he going through a mid-life crisis and seeking meaning in his life? Was he wealthy - and therefore have the cash to fund a major trip, meals, hotels etc? Was he an expert mechanic - and have the confidence he'd be able to fix all the mechanical problems he'd experience?
Rene was 33 when he embarked on the journey, so not quite at the midlife crisis stage. He worked for bicycle suspension maker RockShox and had worked his way up to a decently paying position but by no means independently wealthy. By his account it was a pretty great job that saw him riding bicycles and drinking beer and chatting with journalists from around the world a lot of the time. Hardly sounds like he felt an urgent desire to get out of the high stress corporate world. A string of events and a decision that the timing was right for a big adventure and seeds planted by a few other adventurers were all that was needed to get Rene to begin working out a basic plan. And no - he isn't an expert mechanic. In fact I asked him about his mechanical skills and he described them as being quite basic. What he did have was lots of time. Time and necessity are wonderful enablers.
I'm not the only person who thinks this is a pretty good book - it won an Independent Publisher Book Award, recognizing excellence in independent publishing. In 2011 the book won a DaVinci Eye Award for Cover Art. As of this writing this review it had to go through a second round of printing too.
Some standout positive features of the book for me;
- The writing is easy to read, descriptive, interesting, and doesn't preach about politics or religion - there's no ethnocentrism here.
- Pictures; there's lots of them. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and it's really true. You couldn't describe the things he photographed and do them complete justice. They really add to the narrative.
- The maintenance schedule table (though it looks like a slight mistake might have been made around the 21,000-23,000 km mark) is quite interesting.
- The tools list was informative too.
University of Gravel Roads is available online via Rene's website. Who knows what's next for Rene and when I spoke with him he didn't really even know. The guided tours in Africa were going well but he said if it ended tomorrow he would be grateful for the experience and find something else to do.
Support CMR by purchasing the book here AND saving yourself some money in the process! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Book Overview: Motorcycle Journeys Through the Pacific Northwest
Details: Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5 inches, 320 pages, full color illus and maps, list price $27.95 USD
Published By: WhiteHorse Press
In a "Book Overview" we'll pull together comments supplied by the publisher and try to make a few quick comments where possible. Book Reviews are books we've read.
As per usual, we'll still supply an Amazon link that you can use to get the best deal on a book AND support this website at the same time!
Book Review: The Ride So Far
Author: Lance Oliver
Published By: WhiteHorse Press
Hardcover, 5.25 x8", 224 pages, B&W illustrations
I finished up Lance Oliver's, The Ride So Far and I'd describe it as a nice 'light' reading motorcycle book that might just spark a desire to put the book down and pick up the keys to your motorcycle. This was not a tech manual or round the world story... just a guy talking about his motorcycle experiences and some of his thoughts on them. I managed to read it cover to cover over a long weekend. That's a lot faster than I read most motorcycle books so that in itself should tell you something about how I enjoyed it. It was a real pleasure to read.
I do enjoy technical motorcycle books and read my fair share of them but this felt a little less like work and a little more like something you want to do. I laughed several times throughout the book and found myself nodding in agreement on some of his beliefs about motorcycle safety.
Oliver's stories about some very embarrassing motorcycle experiences are particularly entertaining and make you feel a little bad for the guy! Who among us hasn't done some stupid things they wouldn't do differently? Oliver has some that are pretty hard to top!
Definitely a worthy book to consider if you're looking for some casual motorcycle themed reading!
Now on to the publisher comments about the book:
What is it about riding a motorcycle that has us all so hooked? Whitehorse Press is pleased to announce publication of a telling new book, The Ride So Far: Tales From a Motorcycling Life by popular motojournalist Lance Oliver, who has spent more time than most of us thinking about this question and writing with wit and insight about his own lifelong passion for two wheel tuning and travel.
Check out more books we've read HERE.
Canadian readers can get a big discount on this book and plenty of other great books here:
Book Review: How to Set Up Your Motorcycle Workshop
Author: C.G. Masi
Published By: WhiteHorse Press
Softbound, 8 1/4inches x 10 1/2 inches, 205 pages, color photos, and illustrations.
Overall a good and useful book to help you organize the one part of the house you probably get to control the decorating of! Even if you're just setting up a little spot in the garage to do some repairs this book will come in handy - offering tips from the pros. Setting up a motorcycle workspace seems easy - until you do it wrong. Get it right - the first time! Order yourself a copy of this helpful guide.
Whether you're organizing a corner of the garage set up for routine maintenance or a dream motorcycle shop, How to Set Up Your Motorcycle Workshop, 3rd Edition will help you create a motorcycle workshop that makes the most of available space, and equip it with the tools necessary to get any job done.
Whether you plan only to keep your bike clean and in good repair or you want to become seriously involved with restoration, customization, or even professional repair, this book will show you how it’s done.
There are in-depth shop profiles that include: personal garage workspaces, professional shops, specially-built professional restorer’s shops, multi-purpose shops, and race shops. Each profile has a scaled layout of the shop with color photos, as well as thoughts and tips from the owner and designer of that shop.
Author C.G. Masi also explains the basic principles of planning and designing workshops, with practical advice on what equipment you’ll need. He offers helpful suggestions about which tools to keep with your bike, which tools you’ll need in emergency situations, electric power tools, computers in the workshop, and valuable advice on which tools to purchase, which tools you can fabricate, and best of all, how to use them properly. Amusing anecdotes recount real-life experiences, with examples of what to do and what not to do.
With more than 200 color photographs and detailed illustrations, How to Set Up Your Motorcycle Workshop is a must-have, money-saving reference you’ll return to time and again.
It is one of Whitehorse Press’s perennial bestselling titles.
Book Review: One More Day Everywhere / Glen Heggstad
Author: Glen Heggstad
Published By: ECW Press, November of 2009 (A Canadian company by the way - based in Toronto, Canada.)
420 pages, with many color photographs.
Finished reading Glen Heggstad's, One More Day Everywhere a few weeks back and have just gotten the time to do a review. Having a two-month old around the house has really cut into free time!
Most motorcyclists might better recognize Glen by his nickname, Striking Viking and his posts on the popular adventure rider motorcycle forum (www.advrider.com) . One More Day Everywhere is his second book. The first of course was Two Wheels Through Terror - an edge of your seat account of his journey in South America and capture and torture by rebels. Read it!
One More Day Everywhere is his follow up work and takes place three years after the 2001 South American trip. Glen was searching for meaning and his adventurous spirit took him on the road on a motorcycle looking for it.
Starting in Japan, Glen worked his way through Siberia, Mongolia, Europe, the Middle East, South East Asia, and Africa, stopping in over 30 countries. Glen doesn't follow the easy route through these countries though. So if you're looking for an account of where to visit to see all the tourist sites and five-star hotels this book isn't what you're looking for.
Glen prefers to stay off the beaten path for the most part. In this adventure he battled extreme temperatures, knee-deep mud, bureaucratic roadblocks, health problems, and loneliness, but when the going got rough Glen always found that locals and fellow bikers were never too far away and willing to lend a helping hand to this stranger from California. Everybody seemingly knows at least one famous person from California - "Awwwnold Schwarzenegger."
Heggstad appears to have a positive outlook about most people and seems to try to find the positive in even the most negative or difficult situations. After reading this book there's no doubt that Glen encountered plenty of difficult situations. An experienced world traveler he tries to learn some of the language of the people he's visiting; which seems to go a long way in creating friendships and giving people the sense that he's an okay guy. That's never a bad thing when traveling in far away places.
Glen isn't shy about letting his views on the politics, religion, and culture of the areas he passes through known - at least in the book. You're going to know where he stands on a lot of things after reading this one.
Being a single man on this journey he also talks about some of the women he meets along the way. I wasn't really a big fan of his 1-10 ranking scale of many women he met - whether he had the possibility of some romance with them or not. It's not a big part of the book but it might bother some. I guess most people reading the book will be men and I know that some of the very popular posts he made on ADVRider were ones that he had posted of ladies he'd met during his trip so he was perhaps giving his audience what he thought they wanted.
One thing I didn't expect after reading the book is that all royalties from Glenn's projects are donated to international aid organizations. Impressive!
Having read a good many adventure motorcycling books I can say that this was an enjoyable and easy read. Glen's writing is clear and easy to follow (something that can't be said for all motorcycle adventurers turned authors). Glen is skilled at building suspense and offers vivid descriptions that help you feel like you're a part of the ride. You may not necessarily agree with all his politics but if you're interested in round the world adventure by motorcycle books this is surely one you should have on your bookshelf.
Canadian based readers - buy it here:
Book Review: The Comprehensive Vintage Motorcycle Price Guide 2010/2011 Edition
Antique, classic, and special interest motorcycles Model years from 1901 through 1995.
Each year, the guide is expanded to add another year, so as to be consistent with the VJEMC’s policy of including all motorcycles 15 years old and older in the “vintage” category. Formed by the opinions of dealers, auctioneers, collectors, and experts in the vintage field and confirmed by hundreds of hours of research and data entry, it is the most accurate price guide written for vintage motorcycles. Prices are derived from actual sales between knowledgeable enthusiasts and are given for six quality grades, ranging from rat-bike to like-new.
The guide opens with an overview of which bikes are hot and which are not, with commentary by experts on why prices are changing as they are. It also includes a full description of how each price grade is defined and how to recognize which grade a particular bike belongs in.
Printed in a handy pocket-size, it is the perfect companion to have with you at the next motorcycle rally or auction you attend, or even when you chance upon that rare specimen in a neighbor’s garage or a farmer’s barn and want to make an offer to “take-it-off-the-table” immediately. Just one insight gained from this price quide will earn back many times the book’s cost on your next sale or purchase.
Some favorite books of CanadianMotorcycleRider
An easy and great gift for that motorcycle enthusiast on your holiday shopping list. Check out some books that get the Canadian Motorcycle Rider stamp of approval. Sure to make somebody on your shopping list happy!
The book includes extensive color-photography and illustrations that help you clearly visualize the concepts and techniques. It's one thing to read how a technique is performed and another to see it being performed so that you know exactly what it 'should' look like.
The companion DVD is a fantastic feature that's included with the book - I know I'll be referring to it again. I want to stress that the DVD alone is worth the price of the book.
Read our full review HERE.
This book is written by Lawrence Hacking; first Canadian to finish the Dakar on two wheels. And at the age of 46 no less! This year he's trying to be the first Canadian to finish the race on four wheels, racing in a specially prepared truck. I'm a huge fan of the Dakar and have been since I can remember but even if you're not you'll still enjoy this book and be amazed at the preparation that a successful Dakar journey takes - not to mention a handy dose of luck.
Be sure to pick up a copy of this book which will give you a fantastic insight into what it takes to be a competitor in the Dakar.
Read our full review HERE
This book is definitely one you should have on your bookshelf. Any motorcyclist would be intrigued by the story of Erik Buell and his 26 years of struggle to make motorcycles better and faster. During the course of those 26 years he introduced some technologies that are now commonplace in motorcycle design. The final chapter of this book was written when the future of Buell was looking better than ever - Harley Davidson shutting the company down wasn't even in their thoughts. Maybe this book will become a collectors item.
This book will make you wish you'd bought Buell, and if you own one already, it'll give you an even better understanding of the man behind the machines.
A must have for any motorcyclist; Neil Peart's book tells of how he dealt with loss - serious loss. He took some time off, and traveled throughout North America - some 88,000 kilometers. For those who don't know who Neil Peart is, well he's the one part of the iconic band Rush. He's a percussionist, composer, lyricist, and author.
Written by Carl Adams, a 45 year veteran of motorcycling himself, this book offers a fairly comprehensive education about dual sport motorcycles. If you want to learn about dual sports this 'the' book to have. It'll easily provide you with the knowledge you'd gain from years worth of riding - and avoiding all the 'bad' habits from the beginning.
Read our full review HERE.
And how about some Canadian content? This bok is written by Jeremy Kroeker. Kroeker is an independent writer who makes his home near the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. In this book you're taken along for a ride though South America. All reports are that this is a great book, and one that will make you laugh out loud.
It's a very popular book on Amazon so that in itself tells you that there's a lot of people out there enjoying this book.
This is a new one from the "Striking Viking." Newly arrived on our doorstep this one has all the makings of becoming a quick favorite. We've yet to get a bad book from ECW Press!
This one is a little something different. A fascinating look at the world from 1928 to 1936. Imagine traveling around the world during this time frame! I imagine it would be an incredible story. Having read this book, I know it was!
A real treasure of a book.
Book Review: Riding In The Zone - Advanced Techniques for Skillful Motorcycling
This book represents excellent value for money. I recommend that you check it out.
Book Review: The Essential Guide to Dual Sport Motorcycling
Everything You Need to Buy, Ride, and Enjoy the World's Most Versatile Motorcycles
Author: Carl Adams
Published By: WhiteHorse Press
That title sure is a mouthful, but an astute eye may first be drawn to the "With a foreword by Malcolm Smith" on the front cover. Smith was a pioneer in off-road motorcycling and gained fame for his numerous motorcycling accomplishments, including the Baja 1000 and 8 gold medals at the International Six Day Trials. Perhaps his biggest claim to fame though, was being a star 1970s motorcycle movie, "On Any Sunday." The movie helped launch a popularity explosion of off-road motorcycling in America.
Written by Carl Adams, a 45 year veteran of motorcycling himself, this book offers a fairly comprehensive education about dual sport motorcycles. If you want to learn about dual sports this 'the' book to have.
The book began not as a book at all but a half day training session that was offered to members of the Dust Devils Motorcycle Club of Reno, Nevada. The course wasn't just geared to novices; students were new riders, returning riders, and experienced riders who wanted to improve specific techniques. Over the years the course was improved and tweaked, and a new class on navigation was added. Carl then used the course as a guide to create the book and expanded upon it to make it even more comprehensive. Riding partners of Carl, and other experts all contributed to making this book a fantastic resource and distillation of many thousands of hours of dual sport riding experience.
The book is full of pictures, over 250 full-color photographs actually. They help illustrate the many options for gear, clothing, and aftermarket accessories which can greatly add to the safety, comfort, and convenience of any motorcycle adventure. The book also includes plenty of references and sources that will help identify companies that have dual sport experience and a history of reliable performance.
The book itself is broken into sections; section one provides lots of information on how to choose a dual sport motorcycle and conveys the versatility and fun of dual sport motorcycling. This section will be of particular interest to those who are new to the sport or are considering getting into it. Even if you're an experienced rider this section might offer some insights that you hadn't considered, or might act as a good reminder for you.
Section 2 focuses on riding gear and motorcycle setup. The book includes detailed information on what gear is suitable, and why you use it. Practical information on choosing tires, and very detailed information on suspension and how to get the best from the motorcycle and have it react perfectly for you. New riders may find some of the information in this chapter a little heavy and technical. The suspension settings section in particular. It's well written - it's just pretty tough to make suspension setting sound really exciting. It's a necessary activity though and this will certainly help riders dial in the perfect settings for their machine.
Section 3 gets into riding, maintenance, and trailside repair. You'll get some of the basic safety tips, basic and advanced riding techniques, and how to do some typically necessary trail side repairs. Very helpful stuff here.
Section 4 covers "increasing your enjoyment" and reviews different types of organized activities, exploration, and various types of dual sport touring that are available. Some off-highway navigation techniques and touring is discussed as well.
I definitely learned a lot about dual sport motorcycles by reading this book. The first part was a quick read because I was already familiar with the basics. Some of my knowledge would have come much quicker if this book had been around a few years ago though. My eyes were opened to the complexity of suspension tuning and the possibilities for improving and customizing ride characteristics.
If you want a shortcut to being an educated and better rider, then this book will definitely appeal to you. Want to learn more about the sport of dual sport riding? - then this book is for you. Are you an experienced rider who thinks they couldn't possibly benefit from reading this book? - this book definitely has some sections in it for you as well. Carl packs 45 years of riding experience. You can ALWAYS get a little better. Just because you've been riding a long time doesn't mean that you're doing it the best possible way!
It's a good read and very informative. I'm happy it'll have a home on my bookshelf. Some of the technical parts (particularly the suspension setup) and riding skill elements are sections I'll refer back to periodically so it'll be nice to have as a reference.
The book makes you want to get out and ride and practice some skills!
The Essential Guide to Dual Sport Motorcycling is available via Whitehorse Press or you can purchase it at a discount from the recommended retail price of $24.95 US through the Canadian Motorcycle Rider Book Store. Just search for "The Essential Guide to Dual Sport Motorcycling" or click the link below.
Book Review - 101 Road Tales
Review by: Richard Pauls, Winnipeg MB.
Popular motojournalist Clement Salvadori has been sharing stories from the road on a monthly basis with the readers of Rider magazine since 1988. Now, 101 of those engaging Road Tales have been brought together in one book and illustrated with 101 black and white drawings by his long-time friend Gary Brown.
What can I say about this book? You’ll find yourself putting the book down again and again. You simply can’t make your way through it…
…without going for a ride between chapters.
Go ahead, pick it up again – but keep your helmet and gloves nearby, because you’ll soon find yourself back on the bike.
Mr Salvadori’s love of riding is infectious. The bike doesn’t matter, the road doesn’t really matter (but the curvier the better!), the weather doesn’t matter. He’s riding and that presses all the right buttons. His other loves include food, good coffee, and cheap ma + pa motels. Did I mention food?
He’s a rider’s rider, riding in heat, rain or cold and exploring interesting trails with bikes meant to cruise the interstate at 75 for weeks at a time. Along the way he learned some lessons and writes to us about the wisdom he’s gained, without promising to not make the same mistake again.
Clement covers topics we motorcyclists enjoy sharing our 2 cents with other riders. Maps vs. GPS; breakdowns; waving; and simply trying to answer the question of why we ride.
Each chapter is actually a selection from his magazine columns, so there is some overlap and repeated mention of his epic trips and especially his first bike.
I know this review is short – but I need to go for another ride before it gets dark.
Thank-you Mr. Salvadori, for reminding me what fun it is to go for a simple ride!
The book was published by Whitehorse Press Publishing in April 2008. It's a hard cover book that would be a welcome addition to any motorcycle enthusiasts library. It has a suggested retail price of $24.95 USD and you can get it from Whitehorse Press or you can get it for a discount via the Canadian Motorcycle Riders bookstore on page 28. It's eligible for Amazon's free shipping deal too.
Book Review - The Assimilation
Winterhalder, or "Connecticut Ed" as he was known in the Bandidos, was one of the key players in creating the Quebec Bandidos in 2001. In The Assimilation, the reader is given an inside look at what are commonly referred to by the public, as outlaw motorcycle clubs, or "gangs."
The magnifying glass through which we're examining the inner workings of Bandido's seems to be just a little out of focus to me. We're told throughout the book how great being a biker is, the camaraderie, and how men in the club are brothers who protect one another; they share a common bond of a love of motorcycles. We're also told that the Bandidos aren't involved in illegal activities - at least they're not encouraged. Yet it's still said that police are one of the number one enemies of the club.
Maybe it's just me but most people who aren't involved in criminal activities aren't typically prone to calling police the enemy. They also don't typically get arrested, go to trial, be found guilty of crimes, and be sent to prison if they're not guilty of something. Sure there may be a few but I don't think lawyers for the wrongfully accused will be rushing to help out many of the folks put in prison who were members of the Bandidos.
Winterhalder mentions that like any group of people you're bound to have a few who are into things that will land them on the wrong side of the law. Based on the numbers of arrests of Bandidos thoroughly documented in the pages of The Assimilation it would seem that a larger percentage of these people are involved in criminal activities than the author would like you to believe.
Having been involved in motorcycle clubs for 30 years and having risen to the upper echelons of the Bandidos, Winterhalder certainly has the resume to be called an expert on motorcycle clubs. He indicates that he brought structure, accountability, corporate goals and objectives into a subculture that resisted the control of all authority.
I can't deny the subject holds some interest; the Bandidio's was the fastest-growing motorcycle organization in the world, with branches in Europe, Australia, the United States and Southeast Asia, as well Canada. What makes people want to join an organization like this? Why do they do it? These are the questions I asked myself and wanted answers to as I read but I got the feeling that I wasn't getting the full story, the full truth.
I felt a little like a fly on the wall and privy to a conversation about the inner workings of something I didn't quite understand the mentality of. The people having the conversation knew I was listening though and they were being a little vague, so as not to give away the really juicy bits that might get them in real trouble.
In the latter part of the book there's a glossary that helps you understand some of the structure of outlaw motorcycle clubs. It also gives some insight into the inner psyche of its members. For example; Property patch is defined as "a patch worn by a female associated with a motorcycle club that denotes which member that female belongs to." They've also got a complex hierarchy of rules like club prospects should always carry a pen and pager, a watch, and a calendar.
I did come away with a better understanding of the world of 1%er motorcycle clubs - a term I didn't even know about before reading this book. It's a term that stems from the AMA's response to an over-the-top article that exaggerated article and staged Life magazine photo that featured a drunk (not bike club member) on a motorcycle. The AMA held a press conference saying that the trouble was caused by the "one percent deviant that tarnishes the public image of both motorcycles and motorcyclists." The outlaw clubs latched on to this and started calling themselves 1%er clubs to distinguish themselves from other motorcycle groups and the general public.
This book will appeal to people interested in knowing more about the 1%er motorcycle club mentality. If you want to know what it takes to become a member of such a club, pick up a copy of The Assimilation for the inside track.
From a strictly aesthetics perspective I give the creative folks at ECW Press kudos on the design work on the book. The colors, and design of the book look great but they’ve got a deeper meaning that only becomes apparent as you read more about the Bandidos. I’m regularly impressed with their designs and the thought that’s clearly put into it. You’ll get no ugly looking books from ECW Press!
You can purchase "The Assimilation * Rock Machine Become Bandidos - Bikers United Against the Hells Angels" at ECW Press or via our bookstore page here (on page 29 as of this writing).
A Review of "To Dakar and Back - 21 Days Across North Africa By Motorcycle”
A Bit of Background
I got a copy of Lawrence Hacking’s new book, “To Dakar and Back – 21 Days Across North Africa By Motorcycle” a little over a week ago and couldn’t put it down until it was done. If you have even a passing interest in the Dakar you should take a look at this book!
Now, you don’t need to know who Lawrence Hacking is to truly enjoy this book but once you’ve read it it’s hard not to talk about the man behind the book when talking about his Dakar story. He’s what you might call the “Wayne Gretzky” of the sport of off-road bikes in Canada. His resume is impressive to say the least.
A Short List of some of Lawrence’s Achievements:
- Competed for the Canadian National Team in the International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) World Championship in 1985 (Spain), ’86 (Italy), ‘90 (Sweden), ’91 (Czechoslovakia), ‘92 (Australia) and 2002 (Czech Republic). He finished each time, earning Silver and Bronze medals from the FIM.
- Worked for Yamaha Motor Canada and Yamaha Motor Europe between 1980 and 1990 in their marketing and racing departments. Since then, he has worked as a consultant to other manufacturers including Honda, Kawasaki and Triumph, and to the Parts Canada Superbike Championship.
- In January 2001, became the first Canadian to complete the Paris to Dakar rally. He finished 58th overall and 13th place overall in the first-timer classification.
- In 2005 and 2007 he entered the Beijing to Ulan Bataar International Rally across the Chinese Gobi desert and won the 250-cc class.
Was one of the key organizers of the 2007 FIM World Enduro Championship, held in Canada for the first time.
- His motorcycle exploits have been featured in various media outlets such as CBC, CNN International, CityTV, Moto Verde (Spain), Moto Vert (France), The National Post, Speed Channel, TSN, TV5 (France) and The Toronto Star.
- Participated in the Targa Newfoundland.
On To Dakar!
Hacking competed in the Paris-Dakar Rally in 2001 and, on his first attempt, he finished it, thus securing his place in the history books as being the first Canadian to ever finish the event. I might add he did it at the age of 46 too and as a privateer without a support crew to help him out along the way. Sponsors supported him partly but they weren’t there in a truck following along with the rally like the professional teams. He didn’t have a mechanic waiting for him at each bivouac to fix his bike at the end of the day so he could relax and prepare for the next grueling day. He had to fix any damage to his bike each night after travelling distances of up to 900 km in a single day.
He spent a year preparing for Dakar, nine months of which was full time work dedicated to working out, travelling to Europe, researching the race, securing sponsorship, and bike preparation among a myriad of other things. His bike of choice was a custom prepared Honda XR650. He thought the bike was a great product, and it was. He could have chosen several other bikes but was impressed with the Honda. The bike was new at the time and had just won at Baja. It also had a kick start in addition to the electric start, a feature lacking on the KTM’s. He worried about an electrical problem in the desert and getting stuck, so having a kick start as a backup was a logical thing to have. He kept the swingarm, frame, and engine stock but changed most of the other pieces to meet his requirements and the Dakar specifications. The big main fuel tank and rear auxiliary tank were key requirements of the Rally. His XR was fitted with a 54 litre tank, which when full held about a hundred lbs of fuel. That much weight in those types of conditions would have to be a real handful to say the least but essential because of the huge distances covered.
In 2001 the Dakar covered nearly 10,000 km’s of mostly off-road riding. It travelled through six countries in some of the most challenging terrain in the world in its 21 days. Approximately 6,000 of the kilometers were special stages (otherwise known as competition stages). Given these facts it's no surprise that it is billed by some to be one of the world’s top five adventures; right up there with climbing Mt. Everest. It’s a race where as many as half the competitors don’t make it to the finish line. The race has even claimed the lives of 48 of its competitors and some spectators as well.
Getting to the Nitty-Gritty
I may be a little biased as I’ve admittedly been fascinated by the Paris Dakar Rally since I learned about its existence in the early 80’s when the ferociously fast Group B rally cars had their short lived heyday. They were just too fast and dangerous and were only around for four years. Sadly I do not have the skills or abilities that Lawrence Hacking has. But I jumped at the chance to pick up the book and read about a Canadian’s experience with the Dakar.
If you look at the list of competitors and their placement in rally's gone by on ASO’s website (TSO was the organizing body at the time of Hacking's 2001 race) you’ll see where everybody finished but that by itself is a little dull. The list of who won and their times doesn’t tell all the stories about the preparation, trials and tribulations, near disasters, sleepless nights, sand and grit, the desert, dunes, rocks, and all the amazing sights you pass though in the 21 days of the Dakar and the days leading up to it. To Dakar and Back tells that story from one man’s perspective. For 274 pages you’re with him on the bike throughout it all; experiencing in some small way, all the highs and the lows.
The first thing I noticed when I got the book and thumbed through it was the little symbols that appear alongside the page numbers. While not explained in the book these are very important symbols in the Dakar; they are a piece of information that appears on the road-book that participants get and remain secret until given to the riders. If you don’t follow the road book and stop at the checkpoints you’ll be given penalties up to an including exclusion from the race. The symbol is one piece of the information that appears and indicates the trail, terrain, and landmarks for a particular section. These little hieroglyphics are called tulips and they’re something that every rally participant needs to become very familiar with. Why are they called tulips you may ask? It dates back to the Tulip Rally (Tulpen rally) of the 1950’s.
I won’t wreck it for those who decide to get the book, but Hacking’s 21 days weren’t without drama. The book is full of unexpected events and challenges that need to be faced - all under the pressure of sticking to the rules and keeping within the allowable time. There were several incidents that threatened to end his rally before the finish line. His perseverance, preparation, and perhaps a little bit of luck all combined to get him to the finish line.
I’ve already said that I enjoyed the book. I really did, it’s a great read in my opinion and very reasonably priced at $17.95. The writing is clear and easy to follow, no doubt aided by the efforts of Wil De Clercq whom Hacking credits with turning his pile of notes into a story that "accurately conveys the message." The writing includes a fairly detailed account of each days race events; who won in each category, what their times were, and some of the major events of the day. Some readers may not find that element quite as interesting as Hacking's personal story in the race. He has an eye for detail and recalls the types of vehicles, names of riders he has conversations with, dates, and places. Something I really appreciated.
Even the typesetting of the book adds to its personality and enjoyment. If you have an interest in the Dakar rally this book gives a real perspective of what it’s like to be there. In terms of things I didn’t like about the book there are really only a couple of minor things that would have increased my personal enjoyment of the book. would have liked to have seen a more detailed account of what Hacking brought along with him. Chapter 3 reviews some of his preparations including what he did to prepare the bike. This was really interesting material that I would have liked expanded to include details on all the items he took. Maybe it could have been included in an appendix? And, though noted in some cases, I would have appreciated knowing each day’s start time throughout the 21 days. Those are minor points though and you may not even miss them.
On a side note – Hacking, who’s 53 years old, is planning on doing the Dakar again and was going to follow the 2008 race from Lisbon in a rented car as part of his preparation. Hmm, I wonder if the rental company knew about that plan? But as you may know, the 2008 running of the Dakar - which was its 30th anniversary, was cancelled for the first time in its history because of terrorist threats. I’ll certainly be watching closely to see how that story unfolds. With the Dakar being held in South America in 2009 and the 2010 running through Mauritania still questionable it'll be interesting to see what Hacking does. He was hoping to use the 2008 race as part of his methodical pre-planning. The event in South America will be a whole new challenge and with a relatively shortened time to prepare and plan.
Where Can I Get a Copy and How Much is It?
To Dakar and Back is published by ECW Press and can be purchased at major booksellers everywhere. Price as indicated on the back cover is $17.95
You can get it via Amazon Canada here:
Some other interesting links:
Official Dakar website.
Robby Gordon - Dakar Dictionary site.