There are a number of exciting ways to see our planet, but seeing it over the handlebars of a roaring motorcycle is definitely one of the best. Whether it’s something you’ve always dreamt about or you’ve been inspired by a recent watch of Easy Rider, we’re almost certain a road trip on a motorbike is on every gent’s bucket list.
Gentleman’s Journal recently found some inspiration after flicking through Ride Out!. Published by Gestalten, this pulse-raising book features some of the world’s most amazing motorcycle road trips. Not only that, it also tells the thrilling stories of the adventurers who have travelled through these territories, including one who only passed his motorcycle test three days before hitting the road. That’s right – you don’t need to be a seasoned rider to make your road trip dream a reality.
From the picturesque Pyrenees mountain range to the golden beaches of Southern Africa, there’s a trip that’ll rev any gentleman’s engine. If you’re at liberty to take a six-month sabbatical, there’s even a once-in-a-lifetime trip that begins on the streets of London (just prepare to end up in China).
So start your engines and feast your eyes on just six of the incredible trails from around the world…
The Pyrenees and Basque Country: From Perpignan to Biarritz
Explore Western Europe’s last great wilderness in this two-week journey through the inspiring Pyrenees mountain range. Adventurers can rejoice as the 2,600km journey takes them via the French Pyrenees National Park – known as much for its alpine hikes and climbs as its treasured riding routes. If you stop in Catalonia, there’s also the opportunity to climb to the beautiful mountaintop village Castellan de n’Hug. Just prepare for the differing climates at either end, with the more Mediterranean sunshine of the east sunning your back as you head towards the wetter west to Basque Country.
Start: Perpignan, France
Finish: Biarritz, French
Distance: 2,600km/ 1,615 miles
Duration: 14 days
Roads: 80% paved, 20% gravel
Best season: June, September, October
L’Équipée : Along Cuban beaches on Old Harleys
Ride Out! follows five friends from France as they explore the recently opened country in style – on heavily corroded Harley-Davidsons rented from a local shop. You can replicate their journey as they go in search of the “original” Cuba, kickstarting in Havana and taking in the isolated island’s idyllic beaches and fishing towns. You’ll want to hurry to make this trip as the country’s existence as a quaint time capsule is slowly coming to an end.
Start: Havana, Cuba
Finish: Havana, Cuba
Distance: 1,920km /1,193 miles
Duration: 14-21 days
Roads: Mostly paved
Best season: September – May
Route Des Grandes Alpes: From the French Alps to the Côte D’Azur
On this relatively short but iconic route, you’ll start at Lake Geneva – as generations of riders have done from as far back as the 1880s – and set off along the ridges of the French Alps, where beach umbrellas, red Maseratis and the lapping waves of the Côte d’Azur lay approximately 684km ahead of you. Just don’t forget to stop off along the way for some raclette, tartiflette and Fondue Savoyarde in one of the route’s legendary cafe bars.
Start: Lake Geneva, France
Finish: Menton, France
Distance: 685km/ 425miles
Duration: 3-5 days
Best season: June – mid October
Gone Bikin’: From London to Kunming
This mammoth trip comes courtesy of school friends David and Fred, who always dreamt of creating the ultimate road adventure. Their colossal, six-month ride saw them travel through France, Italy, Croatia, Turkey, Georgia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and onwards to China. And that’s literally not even half of them.
If you’re after a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the world, create amazing stories and meet new people, take this journey from the streets of London to the rice fields of Yuanyang. Perhaps allow yourself a little more than the £7,000 budget Dave and Fred allowed themselves. Oh, and Dave is the aforementioned adventurer who only passed his motorcycle test three days before hitting the road…
Start: London, U.K.
Finish: Kunming, China
Distance: 29,515km / 18,340 miles
Duration: 156 days
Road: 60%, 40% gravel
Dolomites: From Bolzano to Lake Garda over Spectacular Passes
You’ll want to work up an appetite for this 1,000-mile trip, which begins in Bolzano (Bozen), the regional capital of Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige (South Tyrol). After being passed along from the Roman to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, South Tyrol only became Italian in 1919, so the Germanic culture is still prevalent here, south of the Austria border.
As a result, this sub-alpine, wine-producing province – which boasts views of awe-inspiring valleys and crystal clear mountain lakes – also comes with the opportunity the try some fused Italo-German cuisine. Before you head to the sublime Lake Garda, via alpine villages and medieval holiday towns, you might like the sound of strudel and gnocchi or pizza and sauerkraut. Or you could sample some local creations like canederli (bread dumplings) and gerstensuppe (barley soup).
Start: Bolzano, Italy
Finish: Lake Garda, Italy
Distance: 1,637km / 1,040 miles
Duration: 7-10 days
Best season: May – September
South Africa and Lesotho: From Cape Town to Lesotho’s High Plateaus and back
Landlocked Lesotho in Southern Africa might be a colder and more challenging ride than its neighbour, but the hard work will pay off once you take in the deep valleys, snowy peaks and wild alpine landscapes that surround you. Unlike South Africa, Lesotho is less heavily touristed, poor but safe and with dirt roads the standard that make four-wheel drive necessary. Saddle up for a bumpy ride, and take the 200km Garden Route around the coast towns of Mossel Bay and George along the way to ensure you pass through must-see ancient forests, gorgeous lagoons and golden beaches.
Start: Cape Town, South Africa
Finish: Cape Town, South Africa
Distance: 4,300km / 2,671 miles
Duration: 14-21 says
Roads: 60% paved, 40% off-road
Best season: March, April, May, October, November
There are even more amazing road trips to explore in Ride Out!, including Australia’s Great Ocean Road, the 34,000 km “Great Ride Of China” and, of course, the iconic American Southwest. Every adventure comes with jaw-dropping imagery, detailed maps and even more inspiring stories from the adventurers who have ridden these very roads. All you need to do is pick your first ride.
For more travel inspiration, take a look at these ultimate hiking destinations from around the globe…