The Meaning of Life According to Bikers: The Biker Book for Charity
Whether you prefer the term “bikers” or “motorcyclists,” books about those of us who ride tend to focus on buying, building, restoring, riding, racing, collecting, brand histories or other aspects of motorcycling in general.
Books that plumb the depths of the deeper philosophical questions of life are rare. Among the dozens of books I have accumulated over the years about motorcycles and the people who ride them, I can find but one that takes on this philosophical task: The Meaning of Life According to Bikers, The Biker Book for Charity, edited and introduced by Louise Lewis.
For more than a decade, Lewis has examined the charitable, humanitarian aspects of what some have come to regard ambiguously from a distance as “biker culture.”
Indeed, biker culture in the minds of many is often framed in terms that are anything but charitable. But Lewis became convinced there was a lot more to the culture and those who define it when she witnessed a Christmas charity ride by a local HOG (Harley Owners Group) Chapter to benefit a children’s hospital.
Many of the riders had the classic outward appearance associated with the stereotypical bikers with a bad attitude and antisocial, counter-culture behaviors. But Lewis quickly realized that the people on those raucous motorcycles were anything but bad news; they brought gifts, friendship and support to a lot of kids who sorely needed it.
The experience was transformative and Lewis began gathering the material that became The Meaning of Life According to Bikers.
The book includes insights from famous and not-so-famous alike, from regular folks who ride and pitch in for their local charities to the likes of:
- Retired General Tommy Franks (who led U.S. and coalition forces during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom)
- The late Greg Allman of the Allman Brothers
- Genevieve Schmitt, founder and editor of Women Riders Now
- John Kay, front man for Steppenwolf
- Kirk Watson, Texas State Senator
- General Richard B. Myers, U.S. Air Force (Ret). former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Peter Fonda, actor and star of Easy Rider
- Luminaries from the arts, science, government, and just about any walk of life you can imagine
The meaning of life as defined by this wide range of people who have a common bond in the saddle of a motorcycle is inspirational, amusing, refreshing and in many ways surprising. The contributors to this book reveal some things about themselves in what they see as the meaning of life that is moving, emotional and often unexpected and profound, even when stated with remarkable brevity.
“Every day you get the opportunity to prove who you really are,” Joseph Onesto, real estate broker.
“The meaning of life for me is how you can look into your heart and believe that life itself is worth living,” Gilles Marini, film and TV actor.
“In the short time we have here on earth, make a difference in the lives of people in the circle of our own life,” Steve Alesio, former CEO and Chairman of Dun & Bradstreet.
“Making life better for others. It is as simple as that,” Duane “Digger” Carey, former NASA astronaut.
Enlivened with dozens of images of many of the contributors to the book, it is a fascinating work that reveals core truths and attitudes that make bikers—or motorcyclists, if you prefer—a uniquely giving, unselfish part of humanity unified by their love of the freedom of the open road; and their powerful caring toward others.
Looking for a book that is at once inspirational and fun to read? Give this one a look.
- Title: The Meaning of Life According to Bikers—The Biker Book for Charity
- Author: Edited and introduced by Louise Lewis
- Published: 2018 Hard cover. 175 pages. Measures 7.0” x 7.0.” 90+ Color images.
- Publisher: Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 4880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, PA 19310 www.schifferbooks.com
- ISBN: 978-0-7643-5596-7
- MSRP: U.S. $24.99