The Rider

Mark Gardiner was a successful Canadian advertising creative director. Then, in January of 2002, at the age of 46, he quit his job, packed his bags and set off for the Isle of Man with two purposes in mind: to race the TT and answer the question, why go racing?

Born in Vancouver, Gardiner learned to love racing motorcycles as a teenager in Calgary. "I was terrible at it… I never learned how to actually do it." Gardiner gave up the sport and chose a responsible career in advertising.

The boyhood dream of racing never disappeared; in his 30's Gardiner started riding again, this time he began by learning how. He became an obsessive weekend amateur. Then, in his 40's, Gardiner was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus. Faced with the realisation that he might very soon not be able to ride at all, he began to dream once again of racing the TT.

By 2000, he had enough technical experience to qualify as an international entrant; his AMA (American Motorcycling Association) and FIM 'expert' status made him eligible for direct entry into the TT. "In many ways, I'm typical of 40-something, born-again bikers," says Gardiner. "The difference is that instead of just coming back to riding, I came back to racing, earning an expert license. That said, I think my value as a motorcycle writer is that my perspective is one of the average rider, not a racing star."


Riding Man is Mark Gardiner's book about his experiences in the Isle of Man TT race. The book is part memoir, part history, and part travelogue. "My goal was to do for motorcycle racing what Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance did for motorcycle riding,"

Gardiner has been writing about motorcycling for many years. His first book, Classic Motorcycles (Metro Books, New York) a social, political, and cultural history of the motorcycle, has sold 20,000 copies in hardcover. His feature stories on the subject have appeared in a variety of related magazines, including RoadRacerX, Motorcyclist, Cycle World, Cycle Canada & Classic Bike.

Riding Man is now available in paperback. For more information please visit Mark's website:

Read Mark's regular column in RoadRacerX