Posted: 01 Mar 2012
Wish you were there Biking holidays have been around for a while, but it’s only since Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman toured the world on two wheels in the TV series Long Way Round in 2004 that the industry really started to take off. Packing your panniers and escaping on a round-the-world adventure is everyone’s dream, but it’s simply unattainable for most…
For those who aren’t comfortable re-mortgaging the house, taking time off work or packing the kids off to their grandparents for a few months while they undertake the two-wheel trip of a lifetime, there is an alternative.
Short breaks and longer holidays specially designed for motorcyclists and their pillions are popping up all over the world, so it’s simply a case of sticking a pin in the map and, well, riding!
There are a number of ways to take a two-wheel holiday, all with their own pros and cons. Whether you fancy navigating the Yorkshire Wolds, getting lost in an African desert or experiencing the breathtaking landscape of North America, there’s bound to be a trip out there for you. By far the easiest way to holiday on two-wheels is to join an organised tour.
These guys are experienced in touring and take care of everything from the route and hotels to the paperwork you need – particularly if you’re on an overseas trip. Some operators provide bikes, and you pay a premium depending on the make and model you want, while some offer escorted or self-guided tours only.
Make sure you do your research before going ahead and booking – every operator has its own terms and conditions.
Overseas rental or Flyride may suit you better. Simply book yourself a cheap flight to the destination of your choice and the operator will do the rest. They provide the bikes and necessary paperwork, and in the case of a Flyride, will also look after the route and hotels. Just drop your bike off at the end of the tour and catch the Easyjet back to Blightly. If your idea of a motorcycle adventure includes riding your own steed, be prepared. No, be really prepared.
If you’re taking your own bike to the continent (or beyond), chances are you’re planning your own route too so be realistic about what you can achieve. You’ll need to consider everything from daily mileage and accommodation to paperwork, support and communicating with the locals if they don’t speak English.
If you’re a modern-day adventurer, this level of control is probably right up your street, but if you prefer your holidays to be stress-free, consider an assisted tour instead.
Why ride it: The Futa Pass connects Bologna with Firenze and is the road that Ducati uses as its test track to evaluate new bikes, which tells you all you need to know! The Multistrada was developed to cope with the numerous twists and turns of the Futa Pass and as well as stunning views there is the pleasant surprise of the Mugello circuit half way along. Petrol heads will appreciate the chance to visit Ducati’s factory in Bologna and even Ferrari’s factory in nearby Maranello.
Why ride it: Outside the wonderfully named Tossa de Mar is one of the best stretches of road in Spain that is often used by manufacturers to demonstrate a new motorcycle to the world’s press. Connecting Barcelona with Tossa, the costal road is challenging to ride with awe-inspiring views. Yamaha’s 1998 R1 and MT-03 were first ridden here and after a quick blast along it you will see why. Well worth the trip and why not combine a visit with a day out at the Catalunya Circuit for the MotoGP?
Why ride it: One reason – the Millau Bridge. This stunning construction spans the valley of the river Tarn and is the world’s tallest bridge. Crossing this 2.5km wonder makes you feel very small indeed and the views are mind-blowing, especially when the sun is setting. The road to and from it is a fast and flowing dual carriageway over the Massif Central that is remarkably fun to ride, but in all honestly it’s all about the Millau Bridge. Amazing.
Why ride it: When you say America, people instantly think of Route 66 due to its iconic status. But why not try something different? Every August the small town of Sturgis in South Dakota plays host to one of the largest annual motorcycle events in the world – the Sturgis Rally. Around this event are located some amazing roads through the Black Hills National Forest – hire a Harley and cruise these roads, it’s what the bike was designed for.
Why ride it: This is the only chance you get to see how fast your bike will actually go, if you are brave enough. On certain sections of Germany’s Autobahns there are no speed limits, meaning you can go flat out without the fear of a jail sentence. Don’t treat it like a race track, the police still get upset if you ride like an idiot, but you have to go once in your life for the thrill of seeing some seriously large numbers on the speedo…
Why ride it: The E30 isn’t a great riding road, however it is a road that makes you appreciate all the good parts of western Europe. Along this desolate stretch of tarmac that leads from Poland to Moscow (it actually starts in Amsterdam and crosses the whole of Europe) you are constantly surrounded by reminders of the communist regime. Passing through the intimidating border control and into Belarus the buildings turn grey and the road cuts through mile upon mile of forest, only punctuated by the occasional village. It’s a lesson in history and somewhere that very few venture, making it feel more remote than it actually is.
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