Sunday, 13 March 2011

Buy this book...ah, too late

Every now and then you pick up a book that you have to finish asap - it's that good. Last one for me was Mat Oxley's Stealing Speed but I've just finished Mark Gardiner's Riding Man and I think it might be even better. On the face of it, the book's just a go-ride-the-TT mid-life crisis by a guy who's done well enough in life to justify little sympathy from those of us with less opportunity and more responsibilities. But Mark's style is immediate, close up and personal - he is also a man with a huge sense of place and history; for instance, racing a Honda 600 because Honda can trace their roots back through the TT and European orthodoxy, inspired by Mondial especially. The other Japanese manufacturers owe their success to stolen two-stroke secrets, ironically the story Mat's book covers.

As a Canadian Mark also acknowledges countryman Mike Duff's place in history (Mike is still the most successful North American to race at the TT) plus a whole raft of Isle of Man folklaw and back story. By the end of this thoughtful, perfect book you'll feel you not only know Mark and his entourage, but also a little more about yourself. For a little know paperback to achieve so much is remarkable. I don't think you'd even have to know much about bikes to enjoy it, but as a lifelong biker it really got me thinking about my relationship with riding. My wife's horrified at the state of my copy because it went everywhere with me to make sure I never missed a chance to read it. Guess I'd better buy the DVD now...

So maybe it's no surprise to find the books sold out - but try to track down a copy, or persuade Mark to reprint or Kindle-up via his website

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