I'm a self taught motorcycle rider that's been riding for over 15 years. Long distance to me meant riding from Los Angeles to San Francisco. A friend decided that it was time to go cross-country and during my planning I came across this book. It is a must read for novices like me. The book is full of valuable advice, insight, and recommendations.
What it offers...
1. Riding a motorcycle for many hours does not have to be an uncomfortable affair. Ron dedicates a whole chapter on 'comfort'. After reading this chapter I became aware of how grossly unprepared I was. He discusses in great detail what experienced long distance riders wear and modifications they do to their bikes. For example, I would never have consider wearing ear plugs or buying a seat cushion. The benefits of both of these items are now very apparent to me. This was the most valuable chapter in the whole book for me.
2. The next chapter is all about 'safety'. A lot of it is good old common sense, like stop if you are drowsy, wear reflective gear, stay hydrated, etc.
3.The third chapter is about planning and maybe the most out-dated chapter of the book. It is not his fault. It's the nature of technology. He discusses the use of GPS and mapping software, and a few other electronic devices that can make your trip safer and easier. It is a good chapter if you have never used a GPS device or computer software, but most people have been exposed to them by now. The last part of the chapter is very useful. Here, he proves a rudimentary packing list, the importance of following your motorcycle's carrying capacity guidelines, and some organizations you can count on if you should get in trouble on the road (worth the price of the book).
4. The next chapter is called "Building Mileage". The title is a bit deceiving. For example, it isn't a program designed to help you build your stamina and endurance on the bike, but a list of associations that give out long distance awards. The most famous is the Iron Butt Association Award(for more info do a quick search). The members of this association are a very exclusive bunch. Tips are given at the end of the chapter for long-distance riders. The most valuable advice in my opinion deals with riding at night. This is something I 'never' do. You never know what creatures will cross your path. Here, Ron provides tips if you should encounter deer on the road.
5. The last two chapter are of no interest to me. For example, I don't intend to compete on endurance rallies and I won't be traversing the country on unpaved roads. Furthermore, I won't be traveling to undeveloped countries on my motorcycle any time in the future. If these are of interest to you, then you will find these chapters useful.
The book is filled with practical advice, commentary from 'professionals', websites, gear reviews and recommendations, and a page full of additional reading material. It reads fast and easy. The pictures are not color, but it didn't matter to me. Get it before you go on your next trip.