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Shifting Gears at 50: Bikernet Baggers Review

A Motorcycling Guide for New & Returning Riders

Von Frost


Shifting Gears at 50
A Motorcycling Guide for New & Returning Riders
Written by Philip Buonpastore with contributions by Walt Fulton. Foreward by David L. Hough
This is a book that needed to be written and targets the exact rider demographic that is at the highest risk, people in their 40s to their 60s who are interested in riding motorcycles. In recent years, the older rider has become the largest segment of motorcycle riders, and many in this age group see this as a great time to begin riding. Philip Buonpastore has written a book specific to those in this age group, providing advice for both first-time riders, as well as those getting back to riding after years away from motorcycling.

In 2008, motor vehicle crash-related deaths involving cars and light trucks reached an all-time low in the United States. At the same time, however, motorcyclist deaths reached an all-time high, more than doubling between 1999 and 2008.
Some of us get back in the saddle again without proper re-training assuming the old adage that you never forget how to ride a bicycle; well bicycles don’t have 100 horsepower. Walt Fulton is a recognized name in motorcycling and big contributor to the book. As lead instructor at Streetmasters Motorcycle Workshops Riding School this is a guy who knows his business and his tips alone are worth the purchase of this book. A former three-time winner at Daytona and team racer for Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki and Suzuki, Walt was a featured rider in the documentary On Any Sunday. He is a BMW Legends racer, a professional motorcycle accident reconstruction expert, motorcycle journalist and a private riding instructor. He has worked as an editor for Cycle Guide, Cycle World and Motorcyclist magazines and a contributor and the performance tester for Motorcycle Consumer News.
Buonpastore, Fulton and a cast of “Riders Tale” personal insights effectively address most topics for beginning and returning riders. Part 1: Becoming a Motorcyclist is 7 chapters dealing with getting your license, the purchase of a motorcycle, gear, physical conditioning and preparation. Other chapters recommend procedures for the first short ride, your first tour to distance riding techniques. Part 2: Traveling by Motorcycle is 84 pages of well written engaging tour stories accompanied by inspiring photography.
Published by BowTie Press, Shifting Gears at 50 is 240 pages printed on quality bond and worthy of your coffee table real estate. Shifting Gears at 50 is informative, entertaining and easy to read. This book does not address a few important topics like how to correctly upright a dropped bike. Older riders could easily put your back out, strain wrists and burn legs (all at the same time) trying to do so. Secondly, a mention of some basic dos and don’ts in the event of a more serious accident would be welcomed here. Shifting Gears at 50 is definitely recommended reading but in no way replaces the real world training you as a beginning or returning rider need.
Take the MSF course that replaces the DMV riding test and (re)teaches those skills needed for competent riding. Harley-Davidson offers a Riders Edge Course and Streetmaster is without a doubt one of the best real world training programs available. No matter how long you have ridden, old dogs can always learn new tricks.
Shifting Gears at 50, published by BowTie Press (bowtiepress.com) can be purchased at amazon.com.
Be sure to check out Phil's review of the 2012 Victory Cross Country Tour right HERE on Bikernet Baggers.



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Reader Comments

I'm not really sure what the fuck to say. I do know some shit about riding motorcycles and horses. Nobody over 55 should even consider doing either activity unless they had at least a 5 years of experiance riding at some time in their lives. I realize there will be exceptions to the age thing, some folks can do whatever they set their mind to do.Reading a fucking book and taking a Rider's Course is better than nothing but there are skills you can't learn in a parking lot on a nice day ,right? I've ridden motorcycles most of my life, and I'm gettin up there now ,and I am proud to say I still learn new techniques about riding , whether it be riding motorcycles,horses, or women for that matter.

Craig Copenhagen
Longview, WA
Friday, March 30, 2012
Editor Response While I tend to agree with many of your statements it's not up to you, me or the government to dictate that. Although driving and riding is deemed, "a right, not a privilege" I haven't seen many that earn that right.
For those of us that did ride in our teens- it's a miracle we made it.
Education is no replacement for experience but it is probably the best alternative and certainly augments experience.
Like you, for me every single day of riding is like the first time and the unthinkable can and does happen.


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