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The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel

The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel: Tips, Technology, Advanced Techniques

Review Summary
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By: Dale Coyner
ISBN: 1884313590
Dimensions (inches): 8.25 x 10.5
Publisher: Whitehorse Press, 2007
176 pages, Color Photos and Illustrations
Cost: $24.95 (U.S.)
Review Date: July 2007

Editor’s Note:  This marks our 100th book review!  More reviews…

Dale Coyner is a clever bloke. Read the title and you’d think that his book is all about setting up for long-distance motorcycle touring, right?

But, as I discovered, the words “motorcycle travel” are used in their broadest sense, covering everything from a simple trip to the local 7-11 for a cup o’ Joe to an adventure ride to Colombia for the beans.

Oh, sure — the book includes plenty of good tips for long-distance touring, but the information is just as useful for plain old everyday motorcycling.In fact, I’d say that this book contains nearly all the information that any motorcycle owner needs to know for any type of riding, anywhere, any time.

And that goes double for beginners. We often get emails from new riders asking the types of questions whose answers experienced riders take for granted — like “What’s a good replacement light bulb?” to “Which jacket should I buy: leather or textile?” to more complex stuff like “Where can I buy a fuel cell?”.

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Do you know the answers to questions like this?  New riders don’t, and experienced riders won’t admit to being stumped.

It’s not easy to satisfy different tastes and goals, especially with a motorcycle book whose title includes the words “Essential” and “Guide”, but I definitely think that anyone from a new rider to a first-time long-distance tourer will appreciate the honest, straightforward advice that’s obviously based on years of experience in this book.

The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel is supposed to have been “written to help motorcyclists prepare themselves and their motorcycle for traveling long distances over extended periods”. But the four sections, including Trip Planning, Rider Preparation, Outfitting the Motorcycle and Getting on the Road are just as valid for trips of any length or duration.

For example, I’m sure you’d agree that information about maps, GPS, clothing for warm and cool weather, lighting, modifications, comfort and riding tips are all useful information, especially for new riders.And there truly are some good “secret” tips here, not just fluff designed to fill out the 176 pages.

There are also plenty of good quality color photos, charts and tables and an easy-to-read layout also compliment the utility of the book.And, of course, Dale recommends visiting to learn more! So how could anyone possibly not like this book?! 😉

I’ll bet most riders, new or grizzled, don’t know how to calculate the net allowable weight that their bike can carry.How about trailers and sidecars? Do you know how they work, how to ride with them and how to set them up?

Then there are the many checklists, including which tools to carry, how to do a ground loop isolation to cure electronic “buzz” in your earphones (Huh? An iPod-phobic like me didn’t even know such a thing existed!), the ins and outs of electric clothing and tips on using GPS, among others.

It would have been very easy to slap together a book with generic information covering everything you need to know about outfitting a motorcycle, but Whitehorse Press and Dale Coyner took the high road and really put some good, honest, real-world busted-knuckle experience into this book, and I can recommend it for anyone starting out on motorcycles to those who are planning their first long-distance adventure.

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