There's nothing quite like the feeling of anticipation when setting off on a motorcycle road trip. From planning your itinerary to choosing your equipment, strapping down your bike, and donning your protective gear, the excitement builds as you rev your engine and pull away into the great unknown. The combination of the open road, the surrounding scenery, and the hum of the engine is an immersive experience that all bikers appreciate. Add to this the element of adventure, and the draw is irresistible.
Good preparation is vital to enjoying a successful motorcycle road trip. Make a checklist that includes all essentials and safety items so nothing gets left behind. It is a good idea to check local regulations and weather conditions, and safety should always be your top priority, so wear appropriate gear and ensure that your bike is in good working order before you depart.
Motorcycle road trips are an exhilarating way to explore new places and experience your natural surroundings. It's easy to pull over and take a break, grab a bite to eat, admire the scenery, and take a few photos whenever you feel like it. Here, we have selected locations with proper thoroughfares accessible to all motorists but well suited to bikers for their scenic views and serpentine twists and turns. Every biker should consider the following 10 fantastic destinations for their road trip adventures.
Whether you are headed north or south, the Pacific Coast Highway promises a spectacular experience. Known for its breathtaking coastal views, the highway occupies around three-quarters of the California coastline on California State Route 1. It offers bikers a relaxed cruise of around 655 miles, but if you are feeling adventurous, you can join Route 101 at its northern terminus, which will take you to the Canadian border. Head south, and you can merge with I-5, which terminates at the Mexican border. However, the highway itself has plenty to offer and deserves a few days to experience it properly.
The PCH has a storied history as it was built using labor from Folsom and San Quentin prison inmates, who were paid the miserly sum of 35 cents per day for their backbreaking efforts. It formed after the consolidation of roads linking Los Angeles and San Francisco with other coastal settlements and finally opened in 1937. Throughout your trip, you'll pass through delightful towns like Big Sur and Carmel, experience the natural wonders of the giant Redwood forests and the Oregon Sand Dunes, and enjoy stunning vistas of the Pacific Ocean.
The roads are well-paved throughout the Pacific Coast Highway, and the trip could best be described as leisurely, with plenty of places to stay and sightseeing opportunities along the route. Don't forget to bring comfortable shoes and a daypack for essentials when you're not on the road, and bring wet-weather gear, especially if you are thinking of riding in the fall or winter months. Temperature ranges can vary widely in the state of California, so you should also consider appropriate clothing while planning your trip.
The Highlands of Scotland are a little off the beaten track, even by European standards, but the rewards are most certainly worth it. Using Edinburgh's hilly, granite capital as a jumping-off point, you can enjoy the nightlife and historic attractions and even rent a motorcycle before embarking on a trip that could take you over a thousand miles into the Scottish interior and its stunning islands. The rugged terrain and breathtaking landscapes make it an excellent destination for motorcycle touring, and you'll get to explore historic castles and lochs (home to the elusive Loch Ness Monster) as you ride through the remote and sparsely populated countryside.
You'll find plenty of campsites across the country if you're traveling in the summer months (which is highly recommended, given Scotland's unpredictable temperate climate), as well as an assortment of hotels and B&Bs if you aren't keen on "roughing it" — although these can be pretty expensive. Roads are generally well-paved but are almost exclusively single-lane country thoroughfares, and speed limits are understandably low, leaving you plenty of opportunities to admire the scenery as it passes by. Livestock outnumbers people significantly, so be wary of sheep and the odd Highland cow as you navigate rural areas.
Points of interest might include John O' Groats (mainland UK's most northerly point), the Isle of Sky, with its dramatic scenery, the stunning A87 roadway, the Cairngorm Mountains, Loch Ness, and the North Coast Road. Don't forget to pack mosquito repellant, especially during summer, and expect to get rained on at any time of year. Remember, there are many remote destinations in Scotland, and due care should be taken on your motorcycle, especially if traveling alone.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has become a Mecca for motorcyclists, especially those who favor the great American brands. Every year, the biking community descends upon this small town in South Dakota's Black Hills for 10 days and nights. Here, it partakes in several scheduled bike tours, live music, events, competitions, and plenty of food and drink at this celebration of life on two wheels.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has been around for a while, established in 1938 as a series of racing and stunt-riding events. It has since grown into an internationally recognized festival that regularly attracts over half a million attendees. A choice of accommodation is available, including hotels, cabins, RVs, and camping options. Once settled in, participants can enjoy several planned bike tours, including the Mayor's Ride, Police Chief's Ride, and Veteran Warrior Ride, which require registration or a donation to join.
Each pass by various local landmarks and points of interest, such as Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, the Devil's Tower, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. If you'd rather go solo or travel in a small group, numerous circuits, as outlined in official ride maps, can be completed over a few hours.
If you plan on heading to the Sturgis Rally, plan in advance and book your accommodation early to avoid disappointment. As with all festivals, it's never a bad idea to stick to a daily budget and reserve money for unexpected expenses. As the rally takes place in early August, the weather is usually pleasant in Sturgis at this time of year, but always plan for the worst-case scenario and include a rain jacket along with your sunblock.
Italy has so much to offer its visitors, including Renaissance artworks, fine food and wine, museums, café culture to rival that of France, and stunning scenery. Of course, it is also a top motorcycle destination and home to venerated brands Ducati, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, and Aprilia.
The country's Amalfi Coast provides a dramatic coastal ride with cliffside roads overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea that makes up part of the Mediterranean. Here, you'll explore charming towns like Positano, Amalfi, and Ravello along the way, with balconied houses overhanging their winding streets. These open up to well-paved roads that meander through scattered vineyards, with mountainous hillsides lined with Cypress trees inland.
To tour the Amalfi coast, you could start in Rome, where motorcycle rental shops are abundant, and cruise south through the Campania region before arriving in Naples. This is the jumping-off point for most Amalfi coast trips and is home to Mount Vesuvius and the ruins of Pompeii a bit further south for some unforgettable sightseeing. Afterward, head south and travel from Sorrento to Salerno, taking in all the wonders of the Amalfi Coast along the way. You can take the highway back to Rome from Salerno in just a few hours to complete your tour, which can take as little as two days, depending on your schedule.
Italy is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit is early or late summer to avoid searing temperatures. Bring some Euros in cash to pay for tolls getting to and from the Amalfi Coast, and perhaps most importantly, relax and don't rush the experience, as there is much to see and do over its short 50-kilometer distance.
Eastern Europe offers some fantastic travel opportunities as part of a more extensive motorcycle tour, with cities like Prague, Budapest, and Bucharest boasting stunning architecture and culture at far more affordable prices than their Western European counterparts. The latter of these, Bucharest, is the point of departure for most people embarking on a bike tour of the Transfagarasan Highway. This mountain pass in the Carpathian Mountains offers a varied and beautiful ride, taking you through some dramatic scenery and passing through many tunnels and hairpin turns at elevations of up to 6,700 feet.
Jeremy Clarkson, formerly of "Top Gear," once described the Transfagarasan Highway as possibly the best road in the world, and for once, he may not have been exaggerating. The number of serpentine twisties and steep descents that cut through the mountain passes make this the perfect road for bikers, and as a relatively new road created as a military thoroughfare during the last days of Communist Romania, it is well maintained. The Transfagarasan Highway spans the historical provinces of Wallachia and Transylvania, home to the fictional Count Dracula and his real-life inspiration, Vlad the Impaler, who lived at Poenari Castle, which you can visit along the way.
The Highway is closed for much of the year, between October and June, so plan your trip accordingly. Adverse weather conditions can strike year-round, resulting in road closures, so check information boards in towns and online before departure. Heavy rain and poor visibility are common throughout the high passes, so make sure you travel with a rain suit and treat your visor with anti-fog spray or use a Pinlock for improved vision while you ride.
Ruta Cuarenta, or Ruta 40, is a vast 3,000-mile road almost the length of Argentina. This iconic highway runs alongside the Andes, offering riders a chance to experience the country's diverse landscapes, from the deserts of Patagonia in the south to the wine country of Mendoza in the north and plenty of wonders in between. You will encounter 27 mountain passes that can reach over 13,000 feet, the vast Patagonian Steppe, 18 large rivers, and 20 national parks as you enjoy this famed bucket list motorcycle trip.
Any biker attempting to undertake such a trip should already be aware of the amount of planning required. Essentials should include comprehensive protective gear, warm and cool weather clothing, and practical bike repair and medical items. There can be 200 miles between fuel stops on the Patagonian Steppe, so know your bike's limitations and plan to carry extra gas. The roads here are mostly unpaved, so use appropriate tires with off-road capabilities.
The best time to travel on Ruta Cuarenta is in the Argentine spring between November and December. Leave it any later, and winter encroaches upon the south, so bear this in mind when planning your schedule. As one of the longest overland thoroughfares in the world, you should expect your trip to take at least a couple of weeks, and cellphone coverage is sparse outside of populated areas.
Australia is one of the least densely populated countries on Earth, and it offers some serious adventure destinations across its vast and varied landscape, as well as plenty of exotic flora, fauna, and wildlife, much of which is unique to the continent. The Great Ocean Road runs along Australia's southern coast and offers stunning ocean views, lush rainforests, and iconic landmarks like the Twelve Apostles, 12 limestone stacks jutting from the ocean.
The Great Ocean Road is situated just south of Melbourne, and it is well-paved throughout, making this route well-suited to all two-wheelers, whether you ride a 105cc Australian Postie Bike or a BMW R 1250 GS. Leaving Melbourne early, you can make it to Port Campbell in a day, with plenty of stops for pictures and rests. The town is just past the Twelve Apostles and at the road's furthest point, so you can take in a stunning sunset at the landmark and head for some good food and accommodation for the night before heading back to Melbourne the next day.
While the Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's more relaxed motorcycle tours, it is not without its hazards. The steep hillsides often leave scattered rocks and debris on the road. Bear this in mind, especially as you enter corners. There are many corners along the road's length, with extreme cambers and hairpins. Wherever you ride on the continent, you should watch for wildlife on the road and monitor your speed to avoid collisions. As is typical when biking, humans pose one of the greatest threats, so watch for tourists driving erratically, especially when pulling in and out of viewpoints or picnic areas along the route.
While it may be the shortest motorcycle road trip listed here, the Tail of the Dragon is among the most exhilarating. This 11-mile stretch of US Route 129 traverses the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. It is a magnet for motorcycle enthusiasts, especially sport bike riders, with 318 curves, making it one of the most challenging and technical riding roads in the United States.
Running almost parallel to Calderwood Lake, the Tail of the Dragon twists through dense forest as it slices through the mountains and past the Cheoah Dam, the location of Harrison Ford's daring leap in "The Fugitive." While the scenery and surroundings are impressive, this stretch of road is all about the ride as you grip the handlebars and negotiate its curves as safely as possible. Many riders have met their deaths at the Tail of the Dragon, and it is essential that you know your limits, know your bike's capabilities, and pay attention to the weather and road conditions as you ride.
The best time to attempt the Tail of the Dragon is either in the summer or fall, and there are plenty of places to eat, drink, and stay the night in the surrounding area. Ensure you perform maintenance on your motorcycle before setting off, including checking your brakes and tire pressure, to help avoid any spills on the road.
Canada has a shorter riding season relative to destinations nearer the equator. Still, with its many picturesque, well-maintained, sparsely-populated highways, it is among the most rewarding countries to travel by motorcycle. The Cabot Trail is a scenic road that winds through the Cape Breton Highlands, offering sweeping ocean views, lush forests, and the chance to spot wildlife like moose and bald eagles. The trail is 186 miles long and hugs the Atlantic coast of Cape Breton Island in a well-paved circuit.
The Cabot Trail takes you up and down in elevation and through shade and light. You will experience many changes in temperature along the way, so bring appropriate clothing. There are plenty of places to stop for breaks and sightseeing, but make sure you buy a $10 Park Pass if you want to take a break at any point, or you will incur a fine if checked.
The best time to visit the Cabot Trail is from early May to late September, and the general consensus is that counter-clockwise is the preferred direction of travel. It's best not to ride in the evening to avoid moose and fill up gas at a larger town, as those further down the trail may not sell the premium fuel that our cherished bikes prefer.
For an epic adventure, consider riding through the Himalayas. As the tallest mountain range in the world, this barrier separating the Indian Subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau is steeped in mystery, Buddhist spirituality, geological wonders, and breathtaking views of some of the world's highest peaks.
Ride north from New Delhi, or take the bus to Manali. You can rent motorcycles in either of these locations, usually a native Royal Enfield model, such as the aptly named Himalayan. From Manali, spend a few days acclimatizing to the altitude (6,398 feet) in preparation for much higher elevations later. Set off through the foothills and scale the Rohtang La (13,051 feet). Refuel in Keylong (the next gas station is over 200 miles away!) and stay the night in a tent in Sarchu camp. The next day, you will head to the remote city of Leh with its palaces, ancient monasteries, and stupas, via challenging terrain, high mountain passes, such as Tanglang La (17,480 feet), and the 21 hairpin bends of the Gata Loops.
From Leh, you can spend a few days touring. Head north to the Nubra Valley, East to Pangong Lake, or continue your voyage west to Kashmir, passing through lush green valleys, the 11th-century monastery at Lamayuru, and the city of Kargil. Once you reach Kashmir, stay on a traditional houseboat in Srinagar with a local family and drink in the incredible scenery before completing your circuit.
The high passes are closed for much of the year, and it is best to travel the Manali–Leh Highway between June and September. Clothing and additional fuel are essential, as is plenty of money in cash. Permits are required for some locations (arrange with a local tour guide) and prepare to be amazed by this unforgettable trip of a lifetime.
Read the original article on SlashGear.2023-09-24T14:32:05Z dg43tfdfdgfd