Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Book Review: Riding Man

Riding Man: A brilliant story of what it's like to go racing on the IoM...

Watching the Isle of Man TT races on television is, no doubt, absolutely fascinating. But for most of us, the idea of ever taking part is a bit scary. Or even absolutely terrifying. It’s a race where participants go around narrow, winding mountain roads at 300km/h, knowing they can crash into poles, trees and hedges. Or crash through walls and end up in somebody’s living room. Or even crash and fall off the mountainside and end up dead, or worse.

If there is one motorcycle racing event in the world for which we don’t have words with which we can even begin to describe the participants’ sheer skill and bravery, it’s the Isle of Man TT races.

Gardiner and his Honda CBR600 F4i racebike on the Isle of Man

Which is where Mark Gardiner comes in. Like us, he’s been fascinated with the IoM. And unlike us, he had the dedication and the gumption to pack everything in and head to the Isle of Man. Not just to watch, but to race. Riding Man is his story – a fascinating account of how one man puts his life on hold in return for a shot at going up against the IoM’s 60km circuit.

There’s no fancy sponsorship deals, no factory supported exotica, no celebrity circus here. Riding Man is a hearty, honest to goodness tale of one Joe Average living his dream of racing on the Isle of Man. Pithy and real, it’s a story of wit, riding skills and experience pitted against the treacherous, merciless IoM, a road course that’s claimed so many lives over the last 100 years.

Would you risk everything to go racing on one of the world's most dangerous road courses? Mark did, and he tells a compelling story...

Apart from the bikes and racing, the book also gives you a peek into life on the Isle of Man. For many of us, who’ve only seen TV clips of the IoM during TT week, Mark’s book lets you in on how things are during the other 355 days. The people, the workshops, the pubs, the “drinking culture,” and how the way almost everything on the Island seems to revolve around motorcycles and motorcycle racing.

If you’ve been fascinated by the IoM TT races, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of Riding Man. Unlike Mark Gardiner, most of us will never get to actually race on the Isle of Man. But the book tells us how it might have been, if we ever had that rare opportunity...

You can order your copy of Riding Man here. Also read about One Man's Island, the DVD which chronicles Mark's racing adventures on the Isle of Man, here.

All three pics used in this post were clicked by Peter Riddihough.

Also see:
John McGuinness wins 100th Anniversary Isle of Man TT Superbike race!
Frank Melling: Memories of the Isle of Man TT...
American Borders: A motorcycle misadventures journey
Across the US on mopeds...!
Who are your motorcycling heroes?
Get ready for the $10,000 speeding ticket!

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