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Sunday, May 16, 2010

The top 10 Motorcycle tours in the world

Update. Since I wrote this I have set out to ride more of the world and have expanded things a bit so please have a look at my new article "50 rides to do before you die" Original post below.
 
 
Have you ever thought about all the great places that exist to ride a motorcycle around the world.
 
I do, quite often. Much of my international travel has not involved a motorcycle however I have noted when travelling many places with excellent roads. TV travel shows and books and online forums like Adventure rider with the many people riding around the world really get the imagination going.
 
I have put together a top 10 list of places I want currently would like to ride in the world. I do so as the first step to actually riding the list. They say if you think about something enough then it can happen!

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1. Europe Alps. Probably no surprise but the alps have been attracting riders for as long as motorcycles have existed. So many options here that where to start is a difficult choice. There are a number of motorcycle tour companies offering fully escorted tours which will make this an easy introduction to riding in a new location.
 
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2. North West states North America. Perhaps not as popular as riding route 66 but sure a lot more fun on a motorcycle. Starting in California there is so many options, The Pacific coast or Yosemite national park. Heading north you can string together great roads all the way to the Going to the Sun road Montana pictured above. 
 
 
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3. Japan. A place still largely unexplored by riders from other countries yet boasting alps as big as Europe with no expense spared perfect roads and amazing scenery. I just got the April edition of BikeJin Japanese rider magazine with the top Japanese motorcycle roads as voted by their readers. Here is a countdown for your information:

10. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway
9. Aso Panorama Line
8. Kouya Ryuujin Skyline
8. (tie) Shimanami-kaido
6. Shiretoko Oudan Road
5. Izu Skyline
4. Shiga Kusatsu Road
3. Yamanami Highway
2. Venus Line
1. Bandai Azuma Skyline
 
 
Pau
 
4. The Pyrenees, northern Spain. Said to be a paradise for riders offering the mountain passes of the alpine regions but minus the cars and cops. Every time I see the tour de France on the tv I want to go here.  
 
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5. New Zealand. What an amazing place New Zealand is to ride. Jaw dropping scenery, friendly people and some of the best motorcycle roads on the planet. It is a long way for most people to travel, as far as Patagonia and as exotic in its climate however if you live in Australasia then you have one of the best riding locations within easy reach. Above photo from an amazing photographer who toured NZ.
 
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6. North America. The east coast North Carolina to Nova Scotia. This is another ride on my to do list, the famous roads like tail of the dragon then the fall colours and then the much talked about great motorcycle riding roads of Nova Scotia.  
 
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7. Norway. Another destination that is a long way to travel from many and also one with a limited riding season of just June and July however anyone who has seen the photos of the fiords and the roads snaking there way along the mountains will feel a desire to see the same from a motorcycle.
 
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8. Corsica, Sardinia & Sicily. These 3 islands are claimed to hold some incredible roads that have riders consistently rating as some of the best riding to be found anywhere in the world. Not so easy to get to but can be reached by overnight ferries from Italy and France.

TargaTasmania2009

9. Australia. Tasmania. One of the places I have always wanted to go but never managed. Always reported as having the best motorcycle roads in the country it is neither a small, simple or cheap journey to get yourself and a motorcycle down there. But watch the Targa that draws famous drivers and their cars from around the world each year say what a wonderful place it is for motoring and you know it must be special indeed.  

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10. South Africa. The riding is just part of the reason I would like to go here. There is Cape Town and the famous mountain back drop, the roads hugging the coast, being able to go to the cape itself then at the other end of the country excellent safari parks to make this a special tour.

Well that’s just my 2 cents worth of ideas, why not add yours to the comments below.

26 comments:

  1. Thanks for a great post! Lots of my top dream-rides plus a few I will check out and probably add to my list :)

    Coincidentally I recently mapped part of your No.6 as part of the initial dreaming/planning for an Autumn (ok, Fall) ride of the Blue Ridge Parkway. See http://j.mp/brparkway Might be the one place I'd consider renting a Harley instead of my trusty GS :)

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  2. Hi Rob, looks a lot of tight curves in the Blue Ridge Parkway for bikes with low ground clearance. I was thinking a one way rental from Eagle Rider of something like a Honda ST1300 or preferably a BMW R1200RT. Lock up panniers and power outlet on the RT would be convenient. I would like to do a ride with a Harley in the USA though, perhaps a HD Road King riding west after ride No.2 via Vegas and Grand Canyon if it was not too much riding.

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    1. I've ridden a Harley through New England, the green and White mountains an loved the scenary but would recommend a different bike, it was uncomfortable an put me off buying a Harley, but was worth all the aches to say I've done it

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  4. The Alpine way, IMO, is the best ride in Oz right up there with the worlds best. Cooma to Jindabyne will ease you into it...Jindabyne to Thredbo has the greatest sweepers. Thredbo to Khancoban has twisties that seem to go on forever then another hour of twisties before some more awesome high speed sweepers back to Cooma.

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  5. I would include Iceland in your bucket list of best places for motorcycle touring

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  6. Really enjoying your photos. Sounds like some great adventures!

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  7. Lewis posted a comment about highway 1 but somehow Blogger deleted it.

    Lewis I will ride highway 1 in 2012 so will comment further about it then. So far I seen many reviews that are positive by North Americans but Europeans who ride it say it is very over rated.

    So will give a 3rd opinion

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  8. Hi, I am the photographer of the photo that you have included in this entry! Thanks for the mention!

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  9. I always try to credit photographers where as does most sites I guess but damn if it is not so easy. Often photos that come from so called common file vaults are later traced back to sources that never placed photo into public domain but that is the nature of the internet, everything is public domain once placed online. I loved your photos and in fact they inspired me to tour NZ in 2011. I hope to return for more in 2013. regards. IC

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  10. You should also include Transfagarasan in Romania - Carphatian Mountains - declared by Topgears Jeremy Clarkson the best road in the world.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLxP_VHe0gg&feature=related

    Plus it's really wild scenery no mcdonalds on the top of the mountain :-)).. actually it is closed to traffic in the winter.

    there are some other offorad areas really nice and safe ones.

    The last ones in Europe ..

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    1. I am a new rider and was browsing for possible places I can visit when I came upon this great post!I agree to you. This places are really nice and are best for motorcycle riders. The pictures can really lure you into packing and taking that motorcycle trip!

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  11. I have been lucky enough to live in Germany and ride my 996 with raised bars to IOM practice week, trailer and camped everywhere in Switzerland, and tour most of of Belguim/Germany. So I know how good Europe. I also lived in NH, Florida, Utah so I have ridden everything in the East top to bottom,,, and out west ridden half of the good roads out there,,IDAHO is great too, I lived in Japan too,,,and must say JAPAN RIDING IS PERFECT except rain can linger over great motorcycle roads for a weeks at a time in the summer,, I done this riding on R1, Road King, BMW RT and Honda Gold Wing,,,,,,, If you know what your doing I think Japan riding is the best,,, Germany riding along rivers great and USA pretty good but infested with cops,,,more to come

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    1. Hi interested in which bike u would say is best for touring cheers murray

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    2. Well that is subjective but the best touring bike I have ridden so far would be the BMW R1200RT. That said I have ridden a lot of miles in SE Asia on a Kawasaki ER6N and small and light was nice there. The thing I like most when touring is electronic cruise control and so few bikes have that.

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  12. You should definetely inlude Manali-Leh-Srinagar route which also consist of world's highest motor able road Khardungla Pass

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  13. Are there like minded bikers out there that want to do organised tours in and around South Africa? The riding is superb, both tar and dirt. What sort of accommodation would the average biker feel comfortable in? I'm looking at setting something up in the future and any feedback would be appreciated! Also we just did 4 days in Vietnam, ways fantastic! check out offroadvietnam.com.
    ronaldpaxton@live.co.za

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  14. I linked to this post on my website. Since then, many have asked me where the picture above entry number 7 is. Okay,it looks as is it is Norway, but are you able to say exactly where that great looking road is?

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  15. That is the Trolls Road Norway, google same for some more info. I actually do not like switch backs much myself but plenty of good looking roads in Norway from the reviews I have read so it is on my list to ride soon.

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  16. I checked Trolls Road on Google maps and the one in the picture is way different to the map for Trolls Road. I did some more research and discovered the road pictured in your post is actually the Lysebotn Road, about 30 miles / 50 kms east of Stavanger, in Norway. I feel a ride coming on.....

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  17. Ah your right - actually I am an idiot, I just remembered I drove Trolls road in 1992. Not sure how I got that confused. Oh well it was a long time ago :)

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  18. Yep, thanks that one is on my list now. Actually I should write this again as my views have changed a bit since originally posting.

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  19. Haha, I was just reading the older replies on here. The Alpine Way... yes I have ridden it. Really a nothing piece of road in comparison to the riding I have done abroad since writing this article.

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  20. Great post. I am in US and would tell you that you will be very disappointed riding Eastern US after riding the Alps. Smokies are great if you are relatively close- NOTHING compared to Europe. save your money for the other rides. Also - tail of dragon is one of the most overrated road on all the internet... road surface is poor, usually too much traffic and cops.. many better roads in the NC/TENN/ North GA area.. Stay safe

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    1. I want to return to Europe to ride Sicily and Spain and of course more of the Alps however I also enjoyed the north west USA and would like to ride that area again and Colorado. I thought the Tail must be overrated, Blue Ridge parkway on the other hand looks a nice journey. I will get there maybe 2015...

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