The world is… different on two wheels. Thrilling, to be sure, but riding is more than this – riding is freedom. Who of us isn’t transported to far off places whenever watching epic films and documentaries – “I’d love to take that for a ride.” Sometimes, we watch other people take that ride, Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Round or Motorcycle Diaries come to mind, and we think, “Why can’t I do that?”
These days it’s easier than ever to write your own motorcycle diary. Today’s roads and guides are safer and more accessible than ever before, and some truly iconic road trips await. Here are a few trips that could revolutionize your life…
California – Pacific Coast Highway – 200 miles from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco
We figured you should start close to home and warm up, and there’s no motorcycle road trip quite like the Pacific Coast Highway. Now, you could just shoot through 200 miles in a few hours, but that’s not the point at all. Indeed, you’ll be tempted – you should totally give in – to stop every few turns to admire the scenery, the winding two-lane road twisting through redwood forest, near precipitous cliffs and untouched beaches. Definitely stop to listen to Big Sur, try the fish in Monterey, maybe rent a surfboard in Santa Cruz, then cruise the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Norway – Fjordland – 280 miles from Bergen to Andalsnes
If you’d rather not lean, by no means should you consider the curves that follow the Fjordlands of Norway. If you’ve ever seen a fjord, simply imagine taking the road around it, though sometimes you’ll have to take ferries where no road goes around. Take it easy and enjoy the ride, as this is certainly no straight shot from here to there. You’ll need to pay constant attention to your lines, gears, and brakes, because Fjordland roads are full of surprises. Of course, you should definitely stop from time to time to enjoy the unique scenery that only Norway’s Fjordland can offer.
If you don’t have your grown-up pants on by now, right about now’s a great time to get them.
South Africa – Cape Town Circuit – 1,050 miles
If you have a couple of weeks to spare, combining exceptional South African riding with unique wildlife shooting (with your camera) opportunities could be a great way to recharge your batteries. Bring a friend, get up close and personal with local cultures, wild animals, and explore the real Africa. You’ll pass through several national parks and ride mountain passes and cruise the seaside, both the Atlantic and the Indian, and you’ll come back a changed human being. This is what freedom really is.
Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh Trail – Over 1,000 miles from Hanoi to Saigan
This is one of the wilder routes you can pick, and for very good reason. Some may think of the Ho Chi Minh Highway, built over some of the remnants of the original, which is entirely pavement and, well, uninteresting. You’ll need to get off the beaten path, though much of the original trail has been lost to development or reclaimed by the jungle. There are plenty of tour guides, tour groups, even specialized GPS maps to keep you on the trail. Don’t stray too far from the path, for there are still thousands of tons of unexploded ordinance from the Vietnam War. On the way, safely as you go, you’ll discover local culture and really get to know your bike, because these are some of the most treacherous roads on the planet.
No matter where you choose to go, plan well, pack accordingly, expect the unexpected, and have the adventure of a lifetime.