What’s the appeal of motorcycle travel that leads some people to leave their everyday lives behind in the 24/7 pursuit of it? Everything. Everything about the open road can be pushed to the extreme, and enjoyed that much more. With help from the Adventure Travel Trade Association and Expedition Portal, here are nine incredible motorcycle road trips, from domestic routes to the farthest-flung corners of the earth.
Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland — Celtic Rider
Recommended by the president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the Wild Atlantic Way wins the distinction of “World’s Longest Coastal Drive,” running from Donegal to West Cork, Ireland. Celtic Rider Motorcycle Rental offers a 13-day self-guided luxury itinerary that includes four-star accommodations every night and a full sightseeing itinerary of castles, gardens, distilleries and historic villages.
Central/Western Tour of Namibia — Off-Road Motorcycle Adventures
Also recommended by the Adventure Travel Trade Association is this escorted camping tour of Central and Western Namibia. The most popular of Off-Road Motorcycle Adventures’ itinerary lasts for eight days, with the first two overnights in a comfortable lodge, and the rest spent out in the Namibian bush. This is a medium-difficulty itinerary that requires riders to have had a minimum of three to four years of motorcycle riding experience, at least one year of that being on gravel. Guests can either bring their own wheels (as long as they’re fit for the road conditions), or rent one of the outfitter’s several dual-purpose BMW.
Atacama Nomad Safaris — On Safari Atacama
For would-be adventurers who haven’t yet made it to South America’s vast, otherworldly-looking Atacama Desert, here’s proof that it is one heck of an amazing motorcycle safari destination. Certain regions are more in keeping with the terrain on Mars than on earth, so it’s definitely advisable only to go in the company of experienced and fully prepared professional guides. On Safari Atacama offers a variety of medium-difficulty Nomad Safaris running anywhere from two days with one overnight to five days and four overnights.
Gold King Mine — Jerome, AZ
Desert adventures can also happen close to home, especially with Arizona placing at the top of the list of favorite road trip states. Most of the state gets too baking-hot in summer for motorcycle travel, but the winding mountain roads from Jerome to Flagstaff are much cooler due to the high elevation, and the sightseeing is historic, weird and epic. Pictured above, a few of the vintage rebuilds in progress at Gold King Mine Ghost Town and an old car museum at the edge of Jerome.
Matanushka Glacier — Ayres Adventures
Dubbed America’s Last Frontier, the far-north terrain of the Yukon Territory and Alaska calls to long-distance riders who want to get as close as possible to the ends of the earth. Ayres Adventures specializes in these itineraries and caters to small groups only. Its Yukon/Alaska tour travels to the northernmost point in North America, and then, for those who can handle it, onward along the Top of the World Highway. The choice is nine days or 13 days, always with premium-level meals and accommodations, so you’re not roughing it once you’re off the bike.
Baja, Mexico — Chris Haines Motorcycle Adventures
While it’s a good deal more rugged and thought to be riskier than California to the north, Baja, Mexico is described as an odyssey, trail rider’s heaven, and the “trip of a lifetime.” Specifically, these rave reviews are for Chris Haines Motorcycle Adventure Company, the premier off-road adventure tour operator in the region. Owned and operated by the 14-time title winner (in motorcycle class) of the legendary Baja 1000, this company is synonymous with Baja off-road tours, and conveniently owns the URL as well.
Mojave Desert Wild West Tours — Chris Haines Motorcycle Adventures
Happily for Chris Haines’ multitude of clients, the company’s currently expanding its group tour itineraries, and a popular new one is the four-day “Wild West” tour of the Mojave Desert. A great itinerary for the winter season, this tour will trek for 2.5 days through the most remote and surreal-looking land in the Southwest before arriving on the last night in noisy, neon-lit Vegas.
Cape Town Wine Land — Cape Sidecar Adventures
The area outside Cape Town is perfect for day trips with wine country (or “Wineland” as they call it there), and South Coast scenic points easily accessible. Cape Sidecar Adventures’ fleet is comprised of 25 gorgeous World War II-era vintage sidecars. Even entry-level riders find the half-day chauffeured sidecar rental for two to be an awesome way to sightsee. If you want more time to explore, full-packages are available.
Morocco — IMTBike
One of the oldest, largest and expert-recommended motorcycle tour companies in Europe, IMTBike has locations all over Spain and Portugal. Its group tour offerings range all over Morocco and Southern Europe, from the Pyrenees to the Alps to Valencia. Self-guided tours and unguided rentals are also available. The IMTBike fleet is comprised of new-model BMWs that are replaced every 12 months to ensure low mileage and minimal wear and tear.
Lena Katz is the author of the Travel Temptations series (SIP, SUN, SNOW), published by Globe Pequot Press in 2009. Lena is also a travel expert for Celebrations/1800FLOWERS and WEtv (online and on-air). She contributes to the South China Morning Post and ABC News online. Lena is a former Orbitz Travel blogger and former columnist for the LA Times. She's been published in Brides Magazine, Robb Rep...(Read More)