Isle of Man TT Memoir
Riding Man, Mark Gardiner’s memoir of an everyman’s effort to qualify for the Isle of Man TT, is back in print.
The book focuses on a year in the life of Gardiner, an ad agency Creative Director and club-level racer who quit his job, sold everything he owned, and moved to the Isle of Man in an effort to qualify for the TT. He did, finishing two races in 2002. Gardiner admits that he may have been the least talented, most cowardly rider ever to achieve that goal.
“Ironically, Peter Egan made ‘Riding Man’ the subject of a very flattering column in Cycle World almost on the day that the first edition of the book sold out,” laughs Gardiner. “At one point in his column, he wrote ‘I’ve always been drawn to stories like this, where people make a big change in their lives just by taking resolute action — Bob Dylan and Jack Elliot leaving their comfortable middle-class backgrounds to hit the road and become ramblin’ folk singers like Woody Guthrie; Winston Churchill rejecting his apparent fate… Teddy Roosevelt deciding to become a cowboy…’ I was really glad that he liked the book, but a bit embarrassed by even an indirect comparison to Dylan or Woody Guthrie!”
In the last couple of years, Riding Man’s also attracted attention in Hollywood. After Tom Guttry (Airspeed Productions) became fascinated by the story, he pitched it to Mark Clayman of One Way Productions (he produced the Will Smith film ‘Pursuit of Happyness’ .) Guttry and Clayman then teamed up with another veteran producer Bob Teitel, of State Street Productions. That trio pitched it to Jason Blumenthal, at Escape Artists (A Knight’s Tale, and The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3). At this point, Blumenthal and Escape Artists are looking to ‘attach talent’ as they say in the film business.
“I was hoping to wait for an announcement on the film before releasing a second edition,” says Gardiner. “But putting together movie deals takes forever. Meanwhile I saw a mint copy of the first edition sell for a hundred bucks on Amazon. At that point, I realized two things: first, that if prices got any higher my mom was going to sell her personal copy and second, that it was time to print a second edition.”
Later this month, Gardiner will read from Riding Man in Tacoma at LeMay/America’s Car Museum. The museum is holding a cool motorcycle event, ‘Meet at the Ace’, August 24-26. The second edition is already available at Amazon.com. Readers can get a signed copy directly from Mark, with free postage, at RidingMan.com, or by visiting his popular blog at bikewriter.com.
For more information about the Meet at the Ace event, visit LeMayMuseum.org.