“Some people see motorcycles as a symbol of rebellion: anti-establishment, renegades, outlaws. Others see the motorcycle as a metaphor for freedom: the open road, wind in the hair, nobody to answer to, no required place to be. Nice images, but they were not mine. I liked motorcycles because they were fun, inexpensive transportation. It was that simple, I told myself and others. But it really wasn’t quite that simple.”
And that is how Paul Ritter begins Chapter 1 of his autobiography, entitled Racing the Gods. He then goes on to explain how he went from university student riding around campus on a too-small motorcycle to a pioneer of the American Superbike racing scene.
The book is divided into two parts. The first follows Ritter’s success as a racer, starting in 1977 when he won the first professional race he entered, to 1998 when a crash in a vintage race left him paralyzed from the chest down.
Adjusting to life in a wheelchair wasn’t easy and in the second part of the book, Ritter reflects on how he dealt with the different stages of rehabilitation. He also explains how and why he has continued to live a meaningful and exciting life.
Fans of superbike racing or not, readers of this book will likely appreciate Ritter’s conversational writing and his unclouded love of motorcycling.
Racing the Gods is published by Octane Press. It is also available on Amazon.
To read stories not published in Racing the Gods, check out Paul Ritter’s blog.