Moto-Therapy: Two Great Motorcycle Books

zenmotorcycleMany of us consider motorcycling to be a form of therapy. For us, the vinyl motorcycle saddle is an effective replacement for the leather psychiatrist’s couch. Here is a look at two notable authors who let us ride along as they traveled the road to inner peace.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig
I first read this iconic motorcycle tome in college. To be quite honest, I wasn’t ready. About a year ago, I read it again. It was still a massive intellectual undertaking, but I found it much more relevant.

A brief synopsis cannot do this novel justice; it is too deep and expansive. However, the basic premise is that we are allowed to ride along with the narrator Phaedrus on a cross country motorcycle trip with his son. The narrator’s contemplative view of both riding and maintaining a motorcycle reveals his deep philosophical outlook. It also lets the reader enter the narrator’s strikingly troubled mind.

This is not light summer reading. However, it is a must read for any informed and cerebral motorcyclist. A word of warning, you may be tempted to quit reading in the dense philosophical meanderings of the latter chapters. Don’t. The end is worth the work.


Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road – Neil Peart
Peart is arguably the greatest rock drummer of all time. At the very least, the Rush drummer is in the top 5. So why would a wealthy and world-renowned rock star need motorized therapy? Well, in a span of less than a year, Peart tragically lost both his daughter and his wife.

The famously introspective and isolated man needed to find a way to cope with his loss. His healing is found in a 55,000-mile journey on a BMW across much of North America, down through Mexico to Belize, and then back.

You will notice that Peart (a Canadian) can be very critical of elements of American society, but this bias does not spoil a truly intriguing piece of non-fiction.

Last Words
These two books are very different roads to the same end. However, both contain enough motorcycle content to keep the reader interested on a mechanical level. They also both have enough depth to keep savvy readers intellectually stimulated.

We’d love to hear your additions to this short list of valuable motorcycle-themed books and novels.

Courtesy of

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