"Riding Man" Book Selling Out

Feature film in negotiations

By Kevin Duke, Dec. 10, 2010
Mark Gardiner is a somewhat eccentric motorcycle enthusiast, which makes him a great storyteller for the two-wheel world. The motojournalist has been a contributor to MO over the years, and he’s also the author of a terrific book about his experience racing the Isle of Man TT called Riding Man.

He recently dropped us a note to let us know the first edition of his book is on the verge of selling out, and he hints about the development of it into a feature film.

A decade ago, Gardiner quit his job, sold everything he owned, and moved to the Isle of Man to see if a completely ordinary motorcyclist could qualify for the famed TT races. He did, and his story was told in a well-received documentary film, One Man's Island. A few years later, Gardiner published his memoir of those events. Despite a lack of advertising or store presence, Riding Man  has become a cult book among motorcyclists. “It's all word-of-mouth,” says Gardiner. “I have one reader in New Jersey who just bought seven copies, so he can give one to each of his riding buddies. That's how it goes.”

Mark Gardiner

With the first edition nearly sold out, Gardiner kept a few cartons so that he could still offer signed and inscribed copies from his http://www.ridingman.com/ website.

Gardiner plans to release an electronic version of Riding Man early in the New Year. “If you get a Kindle or an iPad for Christmas,” he says, “I hope to have Riding Man available for download soon. The e-reader version will include a chapter that was cut from the print version at the last minute.

Gardiner’s tale has now gotten the attention of a Hollywood insider. Tom Guttry, an avid motorcyclist who fell in love with the story, set up a meeting between Gardiner and Mark Clayman, who was the executive producer of the Will Smith film 'Pursuit of Happyness.'

Riding Man“Frankly, I don't know who was more skeptical that Riding Man could survive in Hollywood, Clayman or me,” say Gardiner. “But after bouncing it around for a few hours, I agreed to go home to Kansas City and write a treatment for a feature based on Riding Man .” That synopsis, which includes material left out of the book – weaving in aspects of Gardiner's life before and after his time on the Isle of Man; new characters; and things that happened to other people – has been getting positive industry feedback.

Gardiner says he'll reprint Riding Man if Clayman succeeds in attracting financing for the film. “The TT's really caught a second wind in the last few years,” says Gardiner. “The HD coverage on Discovery has created whole new TT cult in the U.S., and the time's right for a mainstream film about it.”

Gardiner's also circulating a separate feature film screenplay based on the British Army motorcycle team's escape from the Nazis during the 1939 ISDT competition.

So if you’re looking for a great gift for the motorcyclist on your shopping list and you’d like to help out an industry good guy, browse on over to RidingMan.com to order a copy.

And if you’d like to sample his writing style, surf on over to the following articles he’s written for Motorcycle.com.

2007 Isle of Man report
2008 Isle of Man report
2010 Zero MX Review
2009 Yamaha T-Max Review
2008 Zero X Review
2008 Suzuki B-King Review
2009 Honda VTX1300T Review