By Jim Kerr

The days are finally getting longer, the streets are mostly dry and thoughts of riding my motorcycle go through my mind as I daydream while gazing out the window. The price of fuel has made many think of riding a motorcycle or moped on their daily commutes. Yes, motorcycling can be fun and you can save money on fuel, but it can also be dangerous and expensive.

As an experienced rider, I have no illusions about buying a motorcycle to save money. The money you save in fuel is quickly used up in the price of the bike and insurance to operate it. As for safety, government crash statistics show that you are five times as likely to be injured in a motorcycle accident as in a car. So why ride? The sense of freedom, wind in your face and a warm sun on your back are exhilarating. Doing it wisely and safely is the key and when I saw the latest edition of the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Motorcycles, I had to find out if it could provide me with additional wisdom, as we all can learn new things.

This book is filled with stories and comments that will entertain a seasoned rider, such as the tid-bit that Dennis Hopper, co-star of the movie Easy Rider, had only ridden a scooter before filming the movie. There are also chapters on the newest bikes on the market, although I must admit this would quickly become dated and magazines would be a better source of the latest information. Where the book shines is in leading a new or aspiring rider through the maze of motorcycle types, how to ride them safely and understanding the enjoyment of motorcycling. Even if you never swing your leg over a bike, this book can give you insight into those who do.

While providing a brief history of motorcycling, the chapter on Choosing the Right Bike is informative and accurate. Should you buy new or used? What are the hidden costs? What size bike is right for you? These are questions answered in the pages and each chapter is summarized with a few key points under the heading, “The Least you Need to Know.”

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