Books About The Philosophical Side Of The Motorcycle

I think, therefore I ride.

The beauty of the motorcycle is that it can be the lens through which we view the world. If you’re interested in history or art or engineering or philosophy, the motorcycle is a ready subject of contemplation. As the following books explore, wrenching on a motorcycle can express the dignity of manual work, it can be a tool of existential discovery, and it can be a tool for observing the human condition and formulating a political ideology. Check out the philosophical side of the motorcycle with three books that confirm that it’s more than just an assemblage of hardware.

Shop Class As Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into The Value Of Work

Shop Class as Soulcraft
Crawford’s work is profoundly important for a generation that grew up witnessing the drudgery of mom and dad’s office jobs, who strive to redefine cultural expectation in light of a broken higher-education system, and who are tired of paying someone else for work their grandparents would have done for themselves.Amazon

Matthew B. Crawford holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, but his work as a motorcycle mechanic and an electrician has likely been his most formative education. In Shop Class As Soulcraft, Crawford makes a case for the value of the manual arts, both as an economic good and as an ennobling act that affirms the wholeness of being. We don't merely have_bodies; we _are bodies. The disassociation felt by the disaffected "knowledge worker" is rampant in a culture that has thumbed its nose at manual labors. Crawford's work is a call to come to our senses.

Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

Zen and the Art
Zen and the Art remains a cultural phenomenon, even if it's not everyone's cup of tea.Amazon

If you picked up Robert Pirsig's classic narrative hoping for a book about motorcycles or motorcycle maintenance, you were probably sorely disappointed. Zen is about a man's quest to figure out how to live. Like a motorcycle trip, the story is more about the journey than about the destination. It's a quietly sad book, but one that's stood the test of time.

The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes On A Latin American Journey

The Motorcycle Diaries
Guevera’s journey aboard a Norton 500cc single helped define his future path and cement his ideas.Amazon

Che Guevara’s mustachioed, beret-wearing likeness, printed on T-shirts and worn by unwitting teenage suburbanites who think they’re being countercultural, has become a meaningless symbol swallowed up by a capitalist machine that’s packaged it for mass consumption. Oh, the irony. Guevera’s pre-revolutionary motorcycle journey across South America is insight into his formative years.