Live to Ride

The Rumbling, Roaring World of Speed, Escape, and Adventure on Two Wheels

By Wayne Johnson
(Atria Books, Hardcover, 9781416550327, 288pp.)

Publication Date: June 15, 2010

List Price: $25.00*
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Live to Ride is pure adrenaline—a full-throttle exploration of motorcycles that pushes to the limit, with heart-pounding accounts of riding the greatest bikes of all time, all over the world.


“Live to ride, ride to live.” For many motorcycle riders, these words express life’s guiding principle. Just take a look at the patch emblazoned on the jackets of legions of riders. Whether they’re roaring down an empty highway on two wheels at an insane speed, hopping on for a few mind-boggling loops of motocross, joining in the “rolling thunder” of a veritable outlaw motorcycle club, or just cruising on a Harley on a Sunday afternoon, motorcyclists of all stripes share a common love of the freedom that is riding.


Wayne Johnson, a lifelong motorcycle-lover and acclaimed writer, takes us around the globe and onto the terrain where the most extreme, thrilling forms of riding happen. Johnson shows where it all began more than a hundred years ago when the first motorcycle evolved from the bicycle and lands us on the track today with some of the world’s highest-paid athletes— professional motorcycle road racers. From there we go inside radically different competitions like the vertigo-inspiring “Widowmaker Hillclimb” and the fastest land racing on the planet at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Johnson also offers an inside look at the legendarily secretive culture of biker clubs with firsthand accounts of his own wild rides with an outlaw club. In every one of these venues, you aren’t just passing through as an observer—you are on a bike, racing across new and undiscovered country, the horizon your only destination.


If you have ever wondered what it’s like to climb on a motorcycle and feel its engine roar to life, or have actually done it and felt the rush of flying off into the wild blue yonder, or have simply been intrigued by this iconic part of American culture and history, hold on tight for this irresistible, one-of-a-kind journey into motorcycling.

About the Author

Wayne Johnson is the acclaimed author of White Heat and four novels. He has been a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and held a Chesterfield Film Project Fellowship in Hollywood. A long-time faculty member at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, he also teaches screenwriting at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. Wayne has lived, breathed, and dreamed bikes since he was just a kid craving the freedom of the open road. He currently rides a Ducati ST-4. 

Praise For Live to Ride

“A marvelously entertaining and masterfully written ode to the many joys of two wheeled motorized transportation...This very special book transcends its seemingly narrow subject matter to touch the pulse of life in modern America.”

Booklist (starred review)

“Enjoyable and informative—one of the best book on the topic in years ... [Live to Ride] captures the obsessive excitement of motorcycle culture with enough verve to make nonriders understand, and jealous.”


“If it involves a motorcycle, Wayne Johnson has it covered...[his] passion for riding is unbridled, and his prose sometimes sings like the smooth engine of a Ducati.”

Publishers Weekly

“Rich with personal experience and deep with knowledge of motorcycles since their first invention, Live to Ride brings home the full rush of the need for speed.”

—Madison Smartt Bell, author of All Souls’ Rising and Devil’s Dream

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