Best Motorcycle Adventure Tours in the World
Travel & Motorbiking are two of my great passions in life. When you put them together, well that’s just my idea of heaven, albeit a sometimes noisy, dirty and pretty 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 ways to use them. From foot to the horse to the chariot to the combustion engine, the advancement of transportation surely 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 in of themselves.
Today we shall examine the best motorcycle adventure tours in the world!
Awesome Motorcycle Adventure Tours!
Let’s start our best motorcycle adventure tours with the damn obvious. The United States is synonymous 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. Some did whilst others didn’t and it seems that California is pretty much the same today. America’s great “Mother Road” is perhaps the most definitive of all motorcycle adventure tours.
Starting out from Chicago, passing through Denver and ending in Los Angles at Santa Monica, the road is in so many ways the quintessential essence of America condensed into 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The road is no longer maintained by the Highway’s agency and is steadily falling into disrepair.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 take its toll on your machine so be sure to check it’s all in good order before you depart. Route 66 remains amongst the best American road trips.
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 across India does mean that parts are widely available & cheap, mechanics have a lot of experience with them and know how to fix them quickly.
The road from Manali through to 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 meters 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. Finally, the political situation in Kashmir is unstable and this can cause periods of civil unrest. Be sure to check the local news and the travel advice of your government’s website before you ride any further North than Leh.
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 whole world going right across Siberia. This is one of the motorcycle adventure tours best left to experienced riders and hardened campers.
The road gets its name from a harrowing era in Russian history when slaves, and later political prisoners, were sent to often 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 your own collection of bones to the route, do prepare for the weather and make sure your bike is in good and proper order and all the parts are in good working order.
Summer is the easiest time to do the route but is very humid and the bug situation is insane – bring plenty of insect repellent.
The “Death Road”
Another sinister name on our list, although mercifully this one’s bark is far 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. The biggest danger awaiting you in Bolivia is probably waiting for you back in the capitals famous “Cocaine Bar”.
Bolivia is also home to the legendary Salt Flats. The Salt Flats, where sacred to the ancient native Inca people who described them as the “Gap Between Heaven and Earth”. This is another great ride you can do if you are ever in Bolivia.
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 also tolled and paying these fees this can get expensive. You can, however, save money on accommodation by camping along the route. Also, try to avoid the Peak Summer season when prices spike.
The beauty of this one is that you can take your own beloved machine from the UK via the Channel Tunnel. To avoid breaking down in ridiculously-overtly- expensive Switzerland, then get your bike in pristine 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.
6. The Iceland Ring Road
Iceland is now well established as a popular travel destination on account of its unique geology, bleak beauty and of course the majestic Northern Lights. To do Iceland the justice it richly deserves you need a vehicle of some kind as relying on public transport will severely limit what you can and cannot see.
The famous Ring Road loops the outer shell of the island both starting and finishing at the nation’s capital city of Reykjavik. Iceland is at it’s most beautiful in winter but harsh conditions can make road travel difficult especially on a motorbike. You had, therefore, best stick to Spring and Autumn as you get the balance of acceptable weather (but still be ready for the worst) and the Northern Lights.
7. The Transfăgărășan Highway
Romania is one of my favorite countries in the world and so I was always going to feature this one. It is nowhere near as long or hard as some of the others on this list and can easily be done in 2 steady days (1 if you rush). The route starts at the charming, old city of Brasov and ends at the even more charming, even older city of Sibiu.
The road traces the beautiful Carpathian Mountains and passes a clutch of atmospheric castles including Bran Castle – one time home of Vlad the Impaler and the inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel.
Note that due to snow, the road is generally only open from June to October. Check ahead.
8. The Wild Atlantic Way
Little Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is actually the longest coastal road in the whole world (nearly 2000 km) and therefore, utterly worthy of a place on this list. The route is best enjoyed South to North from Kinsale in Country Cork up to Londonderry in Northern Ireland. Note that Eire/Republic of Ireland is part of the Schengen EU zone whereas Northern Ireland is part of the UK and therefore isn’t. The road signs and speed & distance measurements will also change once you cross the border as does the currency.
Ireland’s Atlantic coast is both beautiful and unspoiled but the winds can be severe so ride carefully.
9. The Great Ocean Road, Australia
Australia’s Great Ocean Road stretches some 250 km through the state of Victoria from Torquay to Allansford. Interestingly, the road is actually a War Memorial to the Ozzy soldiers killed during World War I – I’m sure you agree it beats a statue or a plaque hung in a town center.
The road is very popular amongst visitors to Australia and offers access to some prominent landmarks sich as the 12 Apostles Rock formations.
I really could keep going with this one as there as awesome rides to be had in so many countries I’ve visited such as Pakistan and the Levantine, Middle-East. Maybe I’ll do a whole new post on sometime in the future…
But that’s it for today guys. I guess I’ll see you out on the highway! Ride safe.