Touring trips to inspire

Posted: 14 Jun 2013

Touring trips

Now that the summer has well and truly arrived, many riders will be starting to think about that two-wheel road trip they’ve always dreamed of going on. However, with so many destinations to choose from and so many factors to consider, many people will give up before they’ve even got their adventure booked!

We asked touring specialist and H-C Travel founder David Grist, who has been professionally involved in touring for 20 years, to inspire us… 

I've done some UK and European tours with mixed success

Before setting up H-C Travel in 1994, I’d been on a few UK and European tours with mixed success. My worst experience was suffering a broken crankshaft in Brentwood before I’d even got to the ferry, only for customs in Germany to rub salt in the wound by thoroughly searching my luggage when I walked off the ferry in Hamburg the next day (and all that neat packing was undone)! Since then I think I’ve got the hang of it a little more, fortunately, and want to bring my love of riding and discovery to anyone with blood in their veins.

Start a ‘bucket list’

If you’ve ever considered touring, my advice would be to start with a ‘bucket list’. If you don’t already have one, create one. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you need one of these otherwise you’ll always stay a dreamer!

These days it’s more complicated to tour, but it doesn’t have to be stressful

In the early days there was no internet and fewer touring companies and therefore fewer options for riders. However, it was also a lot easier to arrange travel and a lot more straightforward to tour. It doesn’t have to be as stressful as you think though.

Top ten trips

I’ve travelled all over the world on two wheels, and seen a lot of fantastic sites. If you’re looking to be inspired, check out my top ten touring trips to get you started. Ok, so all of these will take a bit of planning and will probably push your boundaries a little, but the world has got so many great places to ride a bike… don’t miss out on them!

  1. Khardung-La. We’ll start at the top, literally. The highest pass in the World, in Northern India, 5,605 metres. Believe me, there will be a time when you’re either too old or unfit to do this, so this one is urgent!
  2. Route 66. Not the most exciting ride in the world, but certainly the most iconic. Unless you can think of another road that crosses a continent, has a song, several books and a TV series all to itself. And if you only ever ride a Harley-Davidson once in your life, this is the place to do it. And there’s a lot to see too if you do it right.
  3. R44. Gordon’s Bay to Betty’s Bay, South Africa. The sun always shines and it’s a short stretch of coastal heaven. Forget Chapman’s Peak which is frustrating and full of tourists, go 40 miles east of Cape Town for this slice of smooth curves.
  4. Do a track day. Anywhere, your choice.
  5. Highway 6, New Zealand South Island. Possibly the best long stretch in a country famous for having the best biking roads on the planet.
  6. Stelvio Pass. Can be hard work on a busy day, but it’s about as long, steep and twisty as you can get anywhere.
  7. SR129, North Carolina. Better known as the ‘Tail of the Dragon’, and proof that Americans can build and ride amazingly twisty roads. 318 mostly blind bends in 11 miles, that’s about one every 50-60 yards.
  8. Do an off-road weekend. Anywhere, just do it. A few square miles of British mud and countryside can change your life!
  9. Ruta 40, Chile/Argentina. Not the easiest place to get to from the UK, but this famous road leads you to all sorts of spectacular landscapes.
  10. Stuart Highway, Australia. North to South, with some tough desert riding and some great side trips.
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