Stayin’ Safe The Art and Science of Riding Really Well book102

by Lawrence Grodsky

352 pages, $24.95

Whitehorse Press, copyright 2008

by Sev Pearman

If you have logged any number of miles on a bike, you have likely found yourself in more than one hairy predicament. It may have been an inattentive other motorist. Perhaps you were over-riding your abilities. Perhaps you were the distracted driver. If you were lucky, you found enough time and/or distance to avoid wadding it. Smart riders examine these moments and learn from them.

Author, Lawrence Grodsky, spent the better part of his life examining such moments. Many of you will recognize his name as the author of over 200 “Stayin’ Safe” columns for Rider magazine. In addition, he was an MSF instructor for over 13 years. He then developed his acclaimed, on-road riding school. Between the two, the author is credited with teaching over 5,000 riders. Larry Grodsky lived and breathed motorcycling.

The title was chosen for name recognition and smacks of opportunism. Rather than being a surly diatribe on helmet use and deer whistles, it is a collection of Grodsky’s columns for Rider. You may not know that the author died in April, 2006 after hitting a deer while riding to his Pennsylvania home from California. The publisher, Whitehorse Press, published Stayin’ Safe in conjunction with Rider magazine and Violet Grodsky .

The columns are grouped into themes that include Riding Tips, Drills & Skills and Stories from the Road. The columns on The (different types of) Bikes and their relative merits had me chuckling. The author succinctly nails three bikes once owned by Publisher Wanchena. Yamaha XS750? “Worst Yamaha ever made.” Suzuki VX800? “…Good choice for large riders who want to live simply…”

Mr. Grodsky’s columns on rider technique include tips to improve your braking, cornering, and downshifting while braking. He shares insight on sightlines, body positioning and traffic strategies. The author is a motorcycling sage who doesn’t care a whit if you agree with what he has to say, but hopes that you live to see as many miles as he had.

Stayin’ Safe compiles one man’s experience in, and inquisitiveness toward, all things motorcycling. Read this book and examine your own riding for motorcycling is 90% mental. You may not agree with all of Mr. Grodsky’s writings, but you will come away thinking, Larry would have liked that. Three-and-a-half-out-of-four cylinders.

Verdict: Cynic – Pity Rider didn’t offer him a book deal while still alive.

Newbie – Grodsky’s wisdom requires rider experience to unlock.

Long Rider – How many versions of yourself will you recognize within?

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