Motorcycle Riding Skills: Proficient Motorcycling, David Hough

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Proficient Motorcycling

Hough's Book Is A Winner

Anyone who had the pleasure of riding the 2000 Bonehead Enduro through the Cascades behind Snoqualmie might remember a blue BMW sidecar operated by David Hough (sounds like "huff) that made the 50 mile trek down Weyerhaeuser logging roads. Hough won the award that day for being the eldest rider in the group clocking in in his mid-60's.

David Hough

And it is Hough's riding experience and his drive to make a science out of it that has led him to produce numerous columns concerning safety over the years that have appeared in Motorcycle Consumer News and Road Rider magazine. Now much of his work and wisdom has been compiled into a new book, Proficient Motorcycling , released last year by Bowtie Press.

Hough opens the book with a grizzly story of riders who experienced a fatal spill in the mountains of Colorado during a Sunday morning ride. The story is indelible and a reminder of how important it is to understand your machine, skill level and the probabilities of human nature.

From here Hough immediately launches into rules for safe cornering and before you've completed the first chapter you're already riding better from his short bits of advice. 

The book continues to flow with statistics, more lessons, personal experience, more lessons, more statistics, and more wisdom than you can shake a witching stick at. The content breathes in between riding exercises allowing the reader to pick up and put down the book at random, each time taking something new out to the bike with them.

So just how popular is it?  Well, we took a look at and if the rave reviews from readers are any indication, it's one everyone should own.  On top of that MSF publishes their own book that ranks around # 4100 on Amazon's rankings – Hough's ranks at # 700! To date the book has sold around 30,000 units and that's primarily via word of mouth since it's been ignored by motorcycle publications who compete against Motorcycle Consumer News. Bowtie has a home run on it's hands.

A few minutes at a time in this book is all it takes to be on the road to better riding. Much of what Hough has written over the years has become curriculum in MSF's New RiderCourse and it's Experienced RiderCourse classes.  This is not to say that Hough is the end all guru of safety in the region, but indeed his direction is lifesaving and practiced by many each day.

While Hough is best known for his skill articles for two-wheelers, he is one of the few motorcycle journalists in the country with a direct involvement in sidecars and trikes. Several years ago Hough designed and developed a new sidecar training course for novices--a three-wheeled equivalent of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation "Motorcycle RiderCourse".

Dave subsequently became the President of the Side Car Safety program , which administered three-wheeler training and sidecar instructor training courses until the start of 2000 when the Evergreen Safety Council (Seattle) purchased the rights to the SSP courses and books. Today, the ESC Sidecar/Trike Education Program manages three-wheeler training in North America. The Sidecar Safety Program continues as a volunteer, non-profit corporation, serving in an advisory capacity.

TM/Spring 01

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