Best-selling author David Hough is the anti-bad ass of motorcyclists, a serious down-to-earth master of two- (and three-) wheeled street rods who is interested in the safety and road smarts of his fellow motorcyclists. Mastering the Ride is his follow-up book to one that put him on the map, Proficient Motorcycling, and it goes one better. For motorcyclists ready to take their rides to the next level, Mastering the Ride is an exhilarating course in skills, safety, and common sense. Hough's writing style is straightforward and conversational, never professorial, preachy, or boring. With instructional color photographs and drawings, the book covers improving the rider's skills of speed and passing on superslabs, mountain roads, and city streets; anticipating and handling street and road hazards, from treacherous tar snakes to lane-weaving drivers; and learning the limits of sight distances, executing quick stops at sudden hazards as well as curves. The book devotes two full chapters to the skills involved in mastering cornering, with specific advice about rolling on and off the throttle, shifting, braking, countersteering, body steering and positioning, and cornering lines.
In the chapter "Mastering the Art of Conspicuity," Hough recommends riders understand and employ conspicuity, that is understanding how motorcyclists and car drivers see their surroundings and getting others to see you on the road by use of hi-viz clothing, LED lights, and other gear. The key to safety rests in increased situational awareness—the topic of the next chapter—the ability to predict how road events will unfold by thinking through the possibilities way before a potential hazard presents itself. Thanks to Hough's direct and specific instructions to riders for what they need to know, to improve, to avoid, and to do every time they get on their bikes, this chapter and the skills it describes are nothing short of life-saving.
In short, Mastering the Ride is a crash course in how not to crash—that is, after all is read and done, what every motorcyclists must avoid for his own life and the lives of others on the road. As Eric Trow, a motorcycle safety journalist and instructor states on the back cover, "Mastering the Ride should be required reading for every road-going motorcyclist and become the companion of any rider serious about advancing his or her road craft." Voni Glaves, the record-setting million-mile BMW rider, is a long-time Hough fan who relied on Hough's "wisdom" back in the 1970s when the author was a columnist. "The latest from David brings together his years of experience and his unique analysis to make the case for mastery in a conversational way that makes [Mastering the Ride] impossible to put down. The breadth and depth of the information…is astounding."
A section on the aging rider, including ways to compensate for older riders' slower reaction times and readapting their skills, is included in the appendix, as is a travelogue of Hough's road trips to some of his favorite locations. A glossary, resources section, and index complete the book.