Randakk’s Riding Skills – Recommended Reading

Back to Riding Skills Introduction / Main Index

Riding into my 90’s and preferring antique Hondas will require that I keep the 2 wheel machinery operational. By disposition and temperament, I’ve never been one inclined to trust vehicle maintenance to others. Fast forward 30 years – I really doubt if GL1000 mechanics will be working at the local Honda dealership. Heck, you can hardly find a decent one today! Self-sufficiency on maintenance is essential. It helps keep you connected to the machine and aware of subtle changes in performance and operational feedback. In my experience, all top riders are “sensitive” to the condition and needs of their bike. The machine talks a very specific language – you must learn how to listen.

To keep your bike in top condition, a workshop manual is essential. On the topic of manuals, I rely on three: the Official Honda GL1000 Workshop Manual, plus the ones from Clymer’s and Haynes. Generally, the Honda manual is sufficient, but sometimes the others provide helpful cross-reference, alternative verbiage or photos from different camera angles that are often useful in understanding a mechanical procedure. I strongly recommend that you obtain at least one good manual before you delve into any repairs or maintenance.

For convenience, the books recommended here are listed via links to Amazon where you can get brief descriptions of each book and buy them at good prices. Buy them wherever you like. The main thing is that you have access to this information. Clicking on the book cover image takes you to Amazon.

A good source for the official Honda manual is: http://www.helminc.com/helm/homepage.asp

Workshop Manuals:

Clymer Workshop Manual for Honda GL1000 and GL1100 Fours (1975-1983)

Other Valuable Technical Titles:

Fundamentals TextHow to Set up Your Motorcycle workshop

Haynes Motorcycle Workshop Practice TechbookThe Essential Guide to Motorcycle Maintenance

Basic Rider Skills:

To make my goal, my riding skills must remain sharp. I will need to have physical and visions skills not typically possessed by most 90 year olds. I’ll also need the mental sharpness necessary to use these skills and thoughtfully manage the real risks associated with riding. There are a number of great writers who’ve written excellent books on motorcycle riding skills. I’ve read each of these books and highly recommend them to you. I guarantee you will become a better rider by reading them. Apply thoughtful reflection to the methods and techniques detailed in these books. Practice the recommended skills on each ride. As your skills improve, your confidence and enjoyment of riding will increase.

Proficient MotorcyclingMore Proficient Motorcycling

Street StrategiesMotorcycle Safety Foundation's Guide to Motorcycling Excellence

 Advanced Rider Skills:

As your skills improve, you will benefit from these titles.

A Twist of The WristSport Riding Techniques

Smooth Riding the Pridmore Way Total Control High Performance Street Riding Techniques

Endurance Riding Skills:

These books were written by my friend and mentor Ron Ayres. Many of you may know Ron as the founder and owner of Ayres Adventures – which specializes in motorcycle tours to South America, Africa, Europe, New Zealand and beyond.

A legend in BMW circles, Ron is quite famous for his exploits as a long distance, endurance rider. He’s penned these great books which are must read information for anyone contemplating long distance riding.

Ron has credibility galore. A few years back, Ron set the Iron Butt Association record for traveling through all 49 states in only 7 days!

Against the Clock Against the Wind


Physical Health:

This is perhaps the biggest bogey of all. Good habits and genetics will help, but there are no guarantees in life…especially when it comes to health. Ordinary health is one thing, but the degree of “health” necessary for an advanced “senior” to operate a motorcycle skillfully is fairly daunting.

This book will definitely help!

Younger Next Year

Financial Health:

Assuming I’m still around at 90, I’ll need to avoid poverty to make my goal. Poverty sucks! I implemented this plan long ago…it really works:

The Millionaire Next Door

Be an “Angel:”

“The Measure of life is not its duration but its donation” – former US Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall

Everyone needs purpose in their life. Myself, I’ve been blessed in many ways that are hard to square with some of the choices and decisions I’ve made earlier in life. My view is that everyone approaching maturity needs to define a reasoned plan to “give back” something for posterity. You must figure this out for yourself. Do it!

The Purpose-Driven Life


This book covers everything else important in life.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


  1. rodney anthony says:

    thank you for your advice you are quite a standup man. My Dad just lent me the book on Proficient motorcycling, wow what a good book. I just purchased a 1980 gl1100 that the previous owner had for almost twenty years! He has taken good care of it. I would like to purchase your carb kit next fall! I enjoy riding my atv off road and I have always wanted to own a street bike, other priorities. I love motorcycles and the enjoyment they bring wind on my face acceleration feeling free etc… I will be taking my motorcycle course in the spring and am looking forward many seasons of motorcycling. I am also glad that I will be able to work on my bike during the winter and learn all about motorcycle repair and maintenance. After purchasing my bike, I can see that some parts look aged my mufflers are finished a leaking hose from gas tank and the front master cylinder reservoir needs to be changed. I am glad that they are minor repairs! Thanks again and look forward to ordering your products

    • Thanks. Glad you liked that book …it’s one of my favorites. I’m also glad you plan to take the rider’s course. That is CRITICAL for any new rider. You will learn MUCH valuable information. Good luck!

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