If you’re looking for a light read about motorcycles, the riding lifestyle and growing old gracefully, check out Shiny Side Up by BMW fan Ron Davis.
The book consists of extracts from the Wisconsin rider’s columns, features and stories published in various magazines, mainly BMW Owners News.
Hence the book’s subtitle: Musings on the Improbable Inclination to Travel on Two Wheels.
Ron may be a BMW rider and all that goes with that and he may be a farkle fiend, but he’s not a bad bloke for a Yank!
Shiny Side Up
Despite all that, his writing feels inclusive, although maybe it’s just that I can empathise being of a similar vintage.
What I like about Ron’s writing is what it is not. It is not contrived nor an imitation of Hunter S. Thompson (you know who I mean), it is not boastful (yes, him again) and it is not sesquipedalian-ly loquaciousness (look it up – and yes, him again).
Ron’s self-deprecating whit is charming, inoffensive and clean!
Here’s a lovely extract from the second chapter “How to lose friends and influence absolutely no one” where Ron attempts small talk at a neighbourhood cocktail party:
Somehow, knowing the name of Hans Muth’s dog, or the incredible run of sixties-era BMW sidecar victories turns out to be, socially, the equivalent of having breath that smells like a bucket of walleye guts … after three days … in the sun.
(By the way, a walleye is a type of North American fish.)
Ron is based in Wisconsin so there are a few travelogue chapters that may feel alien to non-Americans. Or maybe they will entice you to head State-side.
And because the book’s chapters are taken from his magazine articles it can be disjointed and a little repetitive, but only if you try to read it in one sitting as I did while I waited for my bike to be serviced.
Best of all, the paperback fits nicely in your tank bag so you can take it on your next riding holiday to fill in those lonely hours while you wait for the tow truck. Unless, of course, you own a Japanese bike.
Shiny Side Up is published by Road Dog Publications and you can buy it from Amazon for $8+ on Kindle or $31.55 in paperback.