Top 5 Most Legendary Motorbike Routes in The World
Travel & Motorbiking are two of my great passions in life and when you put them together that’s just my idea of heaven, albeit a sometimes noisy, dirty and tiring heaven.
Ever since man first began laying roads to connect the towns and the cities of the world together other men were soon figuring out the fastest and most fun way to use them. From foot to horse to chariot to combustion engine, the advancement of transportation has come a long way.
Some journeys are of course better than others and some have even gone down in legend as definitive travel experiences. Today we shall examine the 5 Most Legendary Motorbike Routes in the world!
- Route 66
Let’s start our Top 5 Most Legendary Motorbike Routes in The World with the damn obvious. The United States is intrinsic with motorcycling history and Route 66 is an intrinsic part of the history of this great nation. The Great Road West once transported countless thousands of hopeful immigrants and prospectors hoping to find their fortunes in California’s paradise.
Starting out from Chicago, passing through Denver and ending in LA the road is in so many ways the quintessential essence of America in concrete form.
The road is no longer maintained by the Highway’s agency and is steadily falling into disrepair. Whilst this should not be a problem for the adventurous rider, do bear in mind that the extra impact may takes its toll on your machine so be sure to check it’s all in good order before you depart.
- The Road to Kashmir – India
Whilst the definitive way to cross the low lying Indian plains is by train (no not by elephant, that’s patronizing to Indians and cruel to animals…) the ultimate way to experience the majestic Himalayas is by motorbike.
The legendary Royal Enfield is the most popular bike in India and they are available to buy and rent absolutely everywhere. Whilst they are not necessarily the sturdiest design in the world their popularity does mean that mechanics have a lot of experience with them and know how to fix them.
The road from Manalli through Leh, Ladakh and towards the disputed territory of Kashmir is not the easiest as the mountain passes twist and turn and are prone to landslides. However, riding the route is much faster than taking the (dangerous) busses and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.
…Speaking of breathtaking, the elevation does climb to 5000 metres so it is important to stop for a few rest days once you reach 3000m to protect against altitude sickness. Also note that much of the road does close for snow and monsoon between November and April.
- The Road of Bones
Not the most inviting of names right? Well it’s not the most inviting of Roads either taking in some of the most hostile environments in the world across Siberia.
The road gets its name from a harrowing era in Russian history where slaves and later political prisoners were sent to work themselves to death mining for gold below the frozen wastelands.
This road, whilst epic, is not for the fainthearted and inexperienced. To make sure you don’t end up adding you own bones to the routes history prepare for the weather and make sure you bike is in good order and all the parts are in good working order.
- The “Death Road”
Another sinister name although mercifully this one’s bark is worse than its bite. The North Yungas Road stretching 56km from La Paz to Coroico gets its name from the rapid, dangerous downhill descent where 18 riders have perished since 1998.
The road is dangerous but steps can be taken to mitigate its risk such as driving slowly and carefully and in convoy.
Bolivia is also home to the legendary Salt Flats which the ancient native Inca people described as the “Gap Between Heaven and Earth” which is another great ride.
- The Swiss Alps
Michael Caine made the ill advised decision to cross these by Mini in the Italian Job whereas in fact you’re much better of doing them on a bike (although admittedly a bike can’t carry quite as much looted gold).
The classic route starts from Grenoble in France, crosses the mountains and winds up in Venice. This is Europe so whilst the roads are in good condition they are tolled and this can get expensive. Save money on accommodation by camping the route and try to avoid in the Peak Summer season.
The beauty of this one is that you take your own machine from the UK via the Channel Tunnel. To avoid breaking down in expensive Switzerland get your bike in working order before you leave and check that all the parts are healthy and be sure to replace any old ones by buying new parts online.
Well, that’s it guys. I guess I’ll see you out on the highway!