Now that summer is here, well at least in this part of the world, motorcyclists are ready to take their beasts out for a ride. The freedom you feel while riding a motorcycle is difficult to explain to the layman. This almost indescribable joy is taking over more and more adepts as the motorcycling industry is changing and evolving to new customers.
Back in the days, riders were considered either bad boys or part of a gang of ex-cons looking for trouble. Nowadays, anybody can enjoy a motorcycle riding experience. The mentality has changed and so did the equipment as well as the motorcycle industry.
Motorcycle rides for riders of all ages, gender, and styles
There are younger generations of motorcyclists now. The well-known dealer, Harley Davidson, had to adjust its fleet of motorcycles to attract a younger clientele. More fluid curves and the new need for more sporty and urban looks pushed HD amongst other motorcycle manufacturers to innovate to attract a new generation of hipsters and millennials.
The recrudescence of female riders is also easily spottable on the streets with their own vestimentary styles and trends. Gone are the days where a lady would ride on the back of her man. Now, they don’t want to just ride in the back and be a passenger, they want the full experience of a motorcycle ride of their own. Atta girl!
1. The iconic U.S. Route 66
U.S. Route 66 has been seen in movies, commemorated in songs, and it’s always on everybody’s lips concerning motorcycle rides. Also known as “Main Street of America” and The Mother Road”, the route is without any doubt on every rider’s bucket list. Dating back to 1926, it originally covered a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). The most famous road in the United States ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending its curves in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California.
Not only is it part of the motorcyclists’ well-known dream of scenery, but it also served other purposes, such as a primary route for migration to the west and it made the economies of the communities prosper along its course. Later on, these same communities engage in a fight to avoid US 66 being bypassed by Interstate Highway System. Unfortunately, in 1985, the route was officially removed from the United States Highway System after it had been replaced in its entirety by segments of the Interstate Highway System.
A section of the road passing through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona has been appointed National Scenic Byway and named “Historic Route 66”. Non-motorized vehicles such as bicycles are also using the corridor, expanded into U.S. Bicycle Route 66, as part of the United States Bicycle Route System development in the 2010s.
2. Tennessee’s beauties and adrenaline rushes
Tennessee is full of options when it comes to motorcycle rides. The very well-known Tail of the Dragon or US 129 will give amateurs a rush of adrenaline while they devour the 318 curves stretching 11 miles or (18 km). It is claimed to be America’s number one motorcycle and sports car road. A view of the tree of shame, covered in wrecked motorcycle parts, might make you reconsider braving the Tail of the Dragon.
The nearby Cherohala Skyway is another spot not to be missed. This 43-mile National Scenic Byway provides riders with overviews of a forested mountainside. The green luxuriance is abundant on this trail and a place on the Discovery Channel’s Top 10 Motorcycle Rides in North America is definitely worth a mention.
Next heading to Great Smokey Mountains, the name commonly shortened to the Smokies, is a wide chain part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You must wonder where they get their names from? The name “smokey” comes from the natural fog that often dangles over the range and looks like a large smoke plumage from afar. The vegetation emitting volatile organic compounds is the cause of the fog. Riders must be careful because, when the fog is really at its peak, they will not be able to see in front of their bikes. Make sure to bring rain clothes as, on top of the fog, the Smokies receive a heavy annual amount of rain from 50 to 80 in (1,300 to 2,000 mm).
3. The one and only Cali
Who hasn’t dreamed of the California vibe? Sun, beaches, palm trees, rollerblades, or skates as your heart desires, are what California should look like. Movies and songs always show us, Cali, as one of the coolest states where surfers and writers make it into the world and live their best lives. How about taking this to another level and visiting this part of the United States on a bike?
Yes, ride along the Big Sur Highway, also known as the California State Route. It is one of the most scenic driving routes of the United State, if not in the world. It stretches out the coast along the Santa Lucia Range for about a hundred miles connecting Cambria and Carmel, perfect for a motorcycle ride. You can drive there all year long unless the winter rains give rise to landslides. You get it all; curves, mountain views on one side, and the ocean and surfers on the other. Double up the pleasure and take some surfing lessons while you’re at it!
4. Hola New Mexico
The Indian Route 13 is a beautiful ride in New Mexico. It takes you from the town of Shiprock to Canyon de Chelly National Monument in Arizona. In the middle of the desert stands Shiprock, which was named by the emigrants and it outstretches at 1,600 feet above the desert ground.
In Northern New Mexico, the best motorcycle rides include exploring the southern stretches of the Rocky Mountains with its alpine mountain scenery. As mentioned above, the western border with Arizona is where you will find nice roads with stretches of mountain ranges. Just beautiful! The rest of the state is made up of dry, rocky, canyon-filled, and arid sceneries. Don’t forget to make a stop at some of the popular places for motorcyclists, such as Billy the Kid Museum, Carlsbad Caverns, and the town of Santa Fe.
5. Mama Mia: Italy
Why not take your motorcycling skills to another continent? Europe has many destinations for avid motorcycle riders. Italy is one of them. Try the 9,045-foot Stelvio Pass, for example. It is probably the most famous pass in the Alps for bike riders. With its 48 hairpin turns, lots of curves, and tunnels, it is not for the faint of heart.
Finish up your day with a delicious bowl of pasta or a wood-oven baked pizza and, of course, a glass of wine to reward yourself for your courageous journey along the loops and also just because you’re in Italy!
6. Portugal: Not just for Ronaldo’s fans
Portugal is not only known for its soccer legend, Cristiano Ronaldo. Sports is a recurrent topic there, but the roads are also part of the game. This country has a lot to offer about motorcycle rides. Try it, take it for a drive!
Did you know why this country is often used by bike manufacturers new products launch? The reasons are: the roads are brilliant, the weather is perfect and the stunning views. Also, worth mentioning Portugal is a dirt rider’s paradise. The Douro Valley in the north, particularly, does earn a mention of its own. The N222 was named the best road in the world a few years ago. It cuts its way through the Douro Valley, offering tight twists and turns, as well as spectacular scenery. Portugal is a not-to-be-missed destination!
Portugal is also known for its popular sweetish wine. Why not take a little break from the road to sip this delicious refined drink. Treat yourself to a good glass of the famous port wine, which is available in red and white, and acclaimed by the British around 200 years ago. Stop by a tasting room down at the mouth of the river in the city of Porto. This city is also a great place for history lovers. Saúde!
Did you know that Portugal has its own kinda Route 66? Known as the EN2, it runs the length of Portugal from Chaves in the north to Faro on the south coast. This grandiose 457-mile road crosses mountains, rivers, and passes through charming Portuguese little towns, in the middle of some of the most awe-inspiring scenery. While the NE2 may not have the same fame as the USA’s iconic Route 66, it is nonetheless a beautiful and diverse ride immersed in history and provides an opportunity to visit this beautiful country.
7. Seven Years in Tibet
You haven’t seen this 1997 movie? Seven Years In Tibet is a must-see before you leave on a motorcycle ride to Tibet. You don’t have to be a monk or on a spiritual journey to visit this sacred destination. It should actually be on the bucket list of most riders.
The Friendship Highway 800 miles is for the adventurous at heart, with mostly muddy dirt roads and some very high passes of 16,000 feet or more. You’ll find yourself crossing the city of Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, all the way to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. In the past, several motorcycle tour companies offered trips along this road, but due to the unstable state of political affairs between China and the Tibetan people, nowadays these expeditions run less frequently.
8. New Zealand: Off to the southwestern Pacific Ocean
Rainforested curves, desert roads, huge volcanoes, and well-engineered and maintained roads; that’s exactly what you’ll come across in New Zealand. Two-wheel travel at its best. The country is made up of two gorgeous islands. The South Island has a reputation for endless motorcycling pleasure. You’ll find few people, little traffic, and great roads for breathtaking scenery such as the New Zealand Alps, Milford Sound, and the ever-entertaining resort town of Queenstown. Being in the Southern Hemisphere and all seasons being the opposite of those in North America makes New Zealand a great place for a winter vacation. Leave the snow behind and enjoy a motorcycle ride!
You will most probably leave your own bike at home, but rest assured there are plenty of motorcycle rental companies to provide you with your favorite 2-wheel vehicles, such as Harley Davidson, BMW, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, and other competitors.
9. Oh Canada!
Ready to sing Canada’s national anthem? Ok, but sing clear and loud because otherwise, nobody will hear you while you have your motorcycle helmet on. Canada has a lot to offer relating to motorcycle rides.
In the east part of the country, you will encounter some gems when it comes to scenic routes for motorcycling. Who hasn’t heard of the beauty of Cape Breton Island, the well-known Cabot Trail named after the 15th-century explorer John Cabot? The road extends in a 135-mile loop and is considered one of the more heavenly rides on the continent.
10. Hawaii 90210
Hawaii is on almost everybody’s wish list as a travel destination, but have you ever thought of going there for a motorcycle ride? Is it just stunning! The beautiful scenery will take your breath away while on a motorcycle. Hawaii is on U.S soil and is the only state outside North America, the only state composed entirely of islands, and the only state in the tropics. All the different islands offer distinct sceneries and beauties. Make sure to book in advance if you want to rent a motorcycle on-site or if you’re planning on bringing your own bike.
Motorcycle rides for riders at heart only
Planning a motorcycle ride is a lot of fun. Whether you’re going with friends, family, or solo, there is a lot of organization involved. How are you going to get there? Where are you going to sleep? Plan your gas route accordingly, as sometimes you won’t find a gas station for a while. You better not have an empty tank when this happens. Also, there is lots of travel guide information in paper form or online now for you to get acquainted with your next destination. Make sure to look at travel restrictions and any COVID-related policies so that you’re safe and well informed. Always plan for the unexpected. It’s not always sunshine and rainbows on the road!
The weather can change drastically day-to-day. It might rain when you get to the sleeping arrangement you had in store for that day, so plan B should always be on top of your mind. Whenever and wherever you’re going for your motorcycle trip, make sure to respect and be aware of any driving regulations before you go. Review your insurance carefully, be prudent on the road, and just enjoy the ride!