How to Ride a Motorcyclebook81
A Rider’s Guide to Strategy, Safety and Skill Development

by Pat Hahn
144 pages
Motorbooks, Int’l, copyright 2005

by Sev Pearman

OK – so you recently passed your MSF Basic Riding Course (BRC) and got your motorcycle endorsement. Congratulations! Now what are you going to do? How do you make the transition from parking lot cone weaves to your first solo neighborhood rides? Author Pat Hahn (see also MMM #66) has written a book that tackles this very problem. How to Ride a Motorcycle – A Rider’s Guide to Strategy, Safety and Skill Development gets you out of that MSF parking lot and into the wind.

Author Pat Hahn is a rider, MSF instructor and amateur roadracer. How to Ride a Motorcycle is written from all of these perspectives. He poses questions as a new rider, answers them as an enthusiast with track time, and seasons his responses with the wisdom of a seasoned MSF instructor. He tells-it-like-it-is with the chops to back it up.

The author explains the importance of good gear, rider state-of-mind, preparation and motorcycle choice. He lays out simple riding exercises designed to build motorcycle familiarity and rider skill. Best of all, he sets the tone for rider responsibility and self-awareness. Motorcycling is a complex psychological sport layered with elusive subtleties. These cannot be experienced unless a rider accepts the responsibility to constantly improve their skills.

We enjoyed Mr. Hahn’s take on seven big secrets in motorcycling. See what he has to say about “There are two kinds of rider,” “Layin’ it down,” waving to fellow riders and the humble, overlooked and misunderstood centerstand. These hilarious “seven truths” are worth the purchase price alone. We also enjoyed his suggested reading lists at the end of each chapter. These are tailored to increasing rider experience and complement the reader’s experience level

One of the last nuggets shared by the author is his ranking of (street) riders. At the top are enthusiasts, followed by motorcyclists, riders and then at the bottom, posers and squids. Mr. Hahn states, “(Posers and squids) only care about motorcycling inasmuch as it helps them complete their self-image or attract a mate.” (p. 133) If there is one point to this month’s book, it is that you can always improve your skills and get better.

How to Ride a Motorcycle can be read, understood and appreciated by all riders; from the absolute beginner to the grizzled veteran. Kudos to Mr. Hahn for writing this long-overdue book. Where was this book when I started out? MMM heartily recommends How to Ride a Motorcycle, singing on four-out-of-four cylinders.


Thinking About Riding? — This will set the hook.

Recent MSF Grad — 100% recommended.

Road Warrior — Give this to a newbie.


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