When I was 13, I asked my parents for a motorcycle, and they said NO. So, I settled for a bright orange Honda Express moped.
I thought I had died and gone to heaven the first time I rode it. Her top speed was a whopping 35 miles per hour (downhill). But that didn’t keep me from exploring places far from home. If my parents only knew!
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I enjoyed the freedom of riding the most. At every intersection, I decided all by myself which way I went next: left, right, or straight.
My Honda Express moped was (and still is) the most enjoyable material possession I’ve owned in my entire life. The motorcycle hook was set.
FAST FORWARD 27 YEARS.
When I turned 40, I decided that it was finally the right time in my life to buy a real motorcycle. I approached my wife with my big idea. I played the midlife-crisis-card pretty hard, and over time she graciously gave me her blessing. I wouldn’t have purchased it without it.
At 40, I approached motorcycling with a certain level of maturity. I wanted to experience all the pleasures of riding: making new friends, exploring the outdoors, and noticing things I had missed riding in a car. But I wanted to do it with the least amount of risk possible.
The first thing I set out to figure out was whether I could do things to change my chances of crashing. I’m not stupid. I knew I couldn’t reduce my chances of crashing to zero, but certainly, there were things I could do that would make me less likely to crash. Right?
I started devouring everything I could find—from 300-page motorcycle mega-books to every motorcycle crash study I could get my hands on.
And I found two men who graciously agreed to mentor me.
But I quickly became frustrated. I’m an engineer by training, and the mainstream resources available for riders didn’t answer my questions.
Sure, I wanted a helmet and riding gear. But more importantly, I wanted to know how I could reduce my chances of crashing. Helmets and riding gear don’t help riders crash less often.
The following questions floated around in my head:
- Can I change my chances of crashing?
- How do most riders crash?
- What the heck is this fear that overcomes me when I ride?
- Am I selfish for wanting to own a motorcycle?
But this is the statistic that shook my world:
Studies show that nearly half of all motorcycle fatalities are caused by rider error.
Let that sink in for a second.
If this is true, why weren’t the books I was reading talking about this? Why did so many sources focus on fashion over these facts?
Instead of showing riders what triggers most rider-induced crashes and how to avoid them, books talked about how to select a helmet, riding gloves, and a motorcycle—and how to attend your first motorcycle rally.
As an example, in one popular motorcycle mega-book, I found exactly one tiny paragraph on lowside and highside crashes—and an entire section on how to get the most out of your first Sturgis rally.
Give me a break.
Perhaps this was (and continues to be) the case because it’s easier to fill pages in books with words about helmets and rallies than it is to explain what triggers most rider-induced lowside and highside crashes.
Either way, the most frustrating part of my journey starting out was that I couldn’t find the book I thought I needed—that every rider needs!
Back in 2007, I invited my motorcycle mentors over for an evening of motorcycle talk in my basement. After a few minutes of lighthearted conversations, I pulled out a stack of notes, looked them straight in the eyes, and said:
“Someday, I want to explain motorcycles my way.”
So that’s what I’ve been doing with most of my free time. I’ve written a book that explains motorcycles my way.
It’s called Motorcycle Smarts: Overcome Fear, Learn Control, Master Riding Well.
Writing this book has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. If you’ve read Stephen Pressfield’s book, The War of Art, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Resistance poked its head out at every step along the way.
But now, I’m close to publishing it.
I want to be totally transparent here. The fact that this project has taken me nearly fifteen years to finish is one of the biggest regrets in my life.
What if something I wrote about could have helped ONE RIDER keep from crashing … or worse?
Several weeks ago, while making some last-minute edits to the book, I became frustrated with myself for taking so long to get this book out there.
Why didn’t you finish this years ago, David?
After a few minutes, I put my pen down and started thinking.
“How can I get this book in as many rider’s hands as possible, as quickly as possible?”
It was an amazing moment. Within a couple of minutes, two ideas popped into my head: I need to give away the pdf version of the book for free before it goes to press, and I need to ask every person who downloads the book to share it with one riding friend—so as many riders as possible can have access to the book before it goes to press.
So that’s what I’ve decided to do.
Before I offer the book for sale, I want to give it away for free!
That’s right. Before the paperback book is even available to purchase, I want to give away the pdf version to you and your riding friends for free.
Some might say this is crazy. I say it’s the right thing to do.
So why am I doing this? What’s in it for me? It’s simple. I want to pay forward what my motorcycle mentors did for me when I first started riding.
So, for a limited time, you can download the complete book instantly here:
I’m putting the final edits into the manuscript. Once the book goes to the publisher, I’ll no longer be able to give it away for free.
Oh, wait. There is one catch.
Before you download the book as my gift to you, I want you to agree to share it with at least one friend who rides. This is how I can give it away to as many riders as possible before it goes to press.
I know this makes no financial sense. But this is bigger than that.
Here’s the honest truth.
I can give this book away to hundreds of riders pretty easily. That’s going to happen from this one podcast by the end of today.
But with your help, together, we can get this book into thousands of riders’ hands this week before it goes on sale.
That’s where my heart is. Plain and simple. Would you help?
So that’s it. I would love to give you my new book for free BEFORE it comes out for sale.
You can download it at the link below.
If the site is slow, please keep trying. We tried to beef things up to handle the traffic, but who knows how this will work?
Thank you for helping me spread the word.
I really want to get this into as many hands as possible before it goes on sale.
This has been an amazing journey. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Thank you for being a part of it.
What do you struggle with most?
First of all, I’m a huge fan of your podcast and can’t thank you enough for the down-to-earth approach.
Now, straight into my struggle. I ride a Heritage softail which weighs about 850 pounds. I am a strong rider and I practice slow speed maneuvers at least 2-3 times/year. I ride with an MC called WOW – Women on Wheels. Our focus is on safety and “Riding to Ride Again.” But I live on a mile long gravel road with a fairly steep downhill entrance turning onto a 2 lane highway. The entrance is on a blind curve both ways, very dangerous for cars, much less motorcycles. I always wonder about the safest way to approach the highway. Should I come to a complete stop on the gravel hill as I approach the blacktop? Or ease up slowly, looking both ways and then accelerate quickly once I get on pavement? I typically opt for stopping completely, but it’s hard to control the bike and come safely to a stop heading downhill on the gravel.
The safest bet is probably to move to a safer place where I don’t have to deal with this!
I love the podcast and am so glad you’re back! Thank you for doing this! I’m sharing your free book download with my wind sisters in the WOW group tonight at our monthly meeting.
Thank you so much!
Thanks Jenean for sharing the page to download the book motorcyclesmarts.com/gift.
Gravel. Oh yes. My mentor wrote a several tips about riding in gravel.
So I have registered twice for the book and neither time was I sent the download link….
Are you aware the site is just looping, taking our email address, subscribing and not giving us the book?
Gus, I’m so sorry you are having troubles getting the book.
Please check your spam folder for an email entitled: “Motorcycle Smarts [download book here]”
Also, if you use Gmail, check “All Mail.”
If none of this works, email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you directly!
I felt that your podcast on losing your sister was beautiful, poignant, and really captured who you are. The podcast is about motorcycling, yes, but also about life, lifestyles, and, well, death if that is part of life. Keep following your gut, your heart. It’s all good.
Thank you Dan.