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flash gordon, m.d.

The Sound RIDER! Interview

As both a primary care physician and a motorcyclist, flash gordon has shared his knowledge of the human body and how it relates to motorcycles through countless columns in San Francisco's City Bike magazine and now Motorcycle Consumer News. If you've missed the MCN articles, fear not, Whitehorse Press has just released an edited collection of the articles in flash's newest book, Blood, Sweat and 2nd Gear.  The book is filled with more information and wisdom than any doctor could single handedly feed you in a few trips to the clinic. It's an excellent read and will make sense out of a number of issues that motorcyclists ponder today. 

At Sound RIDER! we're big advocates of keeping your riding skills sharp by constantly reading books on the subject. Beyond performance skills, a little human body know-how will make you an even better rider. This is a book everyone should add to their "must read" list.

In fact, we liked the book so well we contacted the good doctor directly and requested an interview. While the doctor does have a little trouble locating the shift key (we didn't edit this), we think you'll find his informative and candid interview here similar to the serious yet light-heartedness of his book-writing style.

SR!: Blood Sweat and 2nd Gear is actually your second book about medicine for motorcyclists. Your first book, Blood Sweat and Gears (1995 Whitehorse Press) appears to have gone out of print. Is this the case?
fg: right - BSG is no longer available, tho' i've seen it for $30 to $40 on amazon.

SR!: With the new book do you feel you updated a lot of the content from the first?
fg: no, it's all new content. the original BSG contained columns from citybike magazine - BS2G is based more loosely on material from motorcycle consumer news.

SR!: In your book, you talk about how poorly-designed some parts of the human body are. If you were to redesign a part of the human body, what part would you most want to redesign and how would it look when you were done?
fg: aside from *my* particular body (10" taller, and the same weight) i think coronary arteries need redundancy. now, one clot and you're likely to keel over dead (one of four deaths in the US from *ALL* causes, including crime, trauma, and all diseases, is sudden cardiac death).

SR!: As an experienced rider I found the book full of great new wisdom. In your opinion, at what point in a rider's progression from beginner to experienced is it the right time to pick this book up and start reading it?
fg: i think anybody with a human body could benefit.

SR!: You're from the San Francisco Bay area. Do you ever mingle with Doc Wong? Do you ever treat any of his students for crashes?
fg: i know doc wong - i think he does a **great** service with his classes. and from what i've heard, people who pay attention to the message he's putting out are *less* likely to crash.

SR!: Share with us something you wish had made it into the new book but did not.
fg: a picture of me, ten inches taller.

SR!: In the book you discuss the symptoms of prostate cancer. What are the proper undergarments for a man to wear while riding who has dealt with prostate cancer either by radiation or surgery? What would be improper?
fg: in general, i like wicking underwear since it doesn't get moist and chafe the skin. improper: anything else.

SR!: I clicked with the "Wide Load" article because I myself dropped 15 pounds in a year. My method was cutting back on carbs like french fries, onion rings and carbo side dishes. Pasta was completely eliminated from my food choices. What strikes me when riding is I'm able to eat light all day and not feel too hungry. It seems that metablolically things are very different when riding rather than doing the usual weekday routine. A motorcycle trip seems to be an excellent time to diet. Care to elaborate?
fg: it's harder to snack while riding than while sitting in your kitchen, i agree. besides, folks pay hundreds of bucks for a carbon fiber or titanium doohickey - think how much you'd have had to spend to lower your bike's weight by fifteen pounds . . .

SR!: Hearing - you touched on the importance of earplugs. Then there are those who have devolved into wearing hearing aids. What should a wearer of hearing aids do when they get ready to ride?
fg: depends on the aid. i take mine off (they fit behind the ear, with a tiny speaker inside the canal) since the pressure of the helmet isn't comfortable. i'd just want to be sure that they don't compromise hearing protection - at the least, they should be turned off, and at best, removed and replaced with good earplugs.

SR!: A little more on hearing. We're seeing a lot of blue tooth and intercom products coming to market. The Nolan BT helmets, Garmin's Zumo and so on. How many months or years are we from evolving and noise reduction headset for internal use in a helmet?
fg: i don't encourage headsets for two-way communication when riding - i think they're too distracting. just hearing alerts from the radar or directions from the GPS is ok, and that's available now. as far as noise reduction - i don't know. money drives the market, and the motorcycle market might be too small to lead to rapid development.

SR!: Nice section on farts. Besides the first seven notes of "Somewhere over the rainbow" are there any other tunes you've mastered?
fg: i'm working on some back lute suites (i call 'em "toot suites") but am having some difficulty with the arpeggios.

SR!/Fall 2007


Blood, Sweat and 2nd Gear is available now through the Sound RIDER! online store Click here to purchase your copy now.


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