by Sev Pearman
Publisher Wanchena demanded that I stop reviewing only motorcycle tour adventures and examine other types of moto-lit. At the top of this month’s pile was Ride Hard Ride Smart, by Minnesotan Pat Hahn.
This title isn’t for newbies or reckless glory riders. The author assumes that you choose to be responsible for your ride; that you choose to wear gear; and that you choose to separate your riding from yer’ drinkin’. He rates riding risk on a scale from one (safe) to ten, and discusses several strategies to help lower your own risk to a manageable level (3 or even 2).
Ride Hard Ride Smart is no Safetycrat snooze-fest. Mr. Hahn presents straight-ahead logic and ballsy observations such as, “‘I had to lay ‘er down’ is moron speak for ‘I don’t know how to control my bike, so I locked up the rear brake and crashed on purpose.'”(p. 26) You may not agree with all of his points, but be prepared to be buried by Mr. Hahn’s riding experience, motorcycle crash analysis and logic. This ain’t no MSF class, Junior.
We liked the photos and layout. The author uses PhotoShop® for humor and impact (p. 98) Local MMM readers may recognize reprobate riders (p. 133) as well as favorite roads. The text is well supported with plenty of illustrative images. There are additional overhead-view graphics that I thought complemented the text, but Passenger X felt were “too Driver’s Ed Manual-like.” Your mileage may vary. The best reading is found in the sidebars. Some of Mr. Hahn’s anecdotes are humorous; some are gruesome; all are astute.
The author presents many excellent observations and riding strategies. We liked the comparison of traffic flow to that of water in a river. This metaphor reduces individual rider ego and helps riders see themselves as part of a larger dynamic (and dangerous) system.
If you are confused about all of this, simply refer back to the title: This book is for any rider who acknowledges the real risks of riding, enjoys the well-ridden run, and strives to ride better. Ride Hard Ride Smart arrives in time for spring and just may save your biscuit. Sagely recommended with three out of four cylinders.
Squid–If they don’t accept this, try an Intervention.
Road Warrior–Hi miler vets will knowingly nod.
Master Pro–“Can one ride in the rain and leave no tracks, Grasshopper?”