Don't know Fred? What rock have you been living under? He's the excellent MCN columnist and the last word on motorcycle touring. This fine, beautifully produced book proves his skills.
If you don't read, study and absorb this book and Rau's condensed wisdom of decades and hundreds of thousands of touring miles, and have problems on your next ride, don't come whining to me. He has seen it all, from sublime to obscene.
Rau defines touring, establishes priorities, helps you avoid problems and plan your tour, suggests packing, picking the right gear and accessorizing your machine, identifies the pitfalls that await you, and pinpoints miscellaneous essentials. He uses many photos to illustrate the multi-faceted aspects of touring and to identify specific bikes to choose, across the full spectrum of available machines. One point he emphasizes, neglected by too many manufacturers: range. He nails Harley-Davidson to the wall on this issue.
Rau's writing style is comfortable and his liberal anecdotes ragingly entertaining, citing touring highs and lows in ways that endear one to him. Too numerous to cite in a short review, but one married couple faces matrimonial and motorcycling doom, trying to get three times too much luggage onto their bike.
Two omissions deserve your attention. Rau points out that too much motorcycle, or the latest thrill, may not be for you. But he misses two huge issues that confront average riders: a bike that is too big and heavy (drop it, riding alone, and you'll walk home); and the insidious problem of aerodynamics, using side and (especially) tail bags that move the center of pressure aft and create serious instability at speed. Other than these minor matters, he nails it. Highly recommended.