Planning a Trip Abroad On Your Motorcycle

Choosing Where To Go

Being a biker in the UK is a real treat, you can step out of your front door and be cruising through the countryside in a matter of minutes – it’s just a shame the weather isn’t always as a great.

Hopping over the border into Europe and other sunnier settings is a desired trip by most bikers, although planning your trip isn’t as simple as booking your normal summer holiday. You’ll need to know:

  • The best countries with great riding routes
  • Whether you’ll be staying in a hotel or camping up with your bike
  • Keeping yourself safe and your bike insured properly during your trip

With more and more of the UK public swapping cruises for cruisers, motorcycling holidays are becoming increasingly popular with the older generations.

A recent survey conducted by Devitt Insurance it revealed nearly two thirds (63.38%) of UK motorcyclists are aged between 40-59 years-old.  With the love of ‘freedom to go anywhere at any time, cheaply and quickly’ it’s not a surprise many are heading overseas during the summer.

Whether you’re an experienced rider or this is your first trip abroad by motorbike, there are plenty of places to go!

Lone rider or group trip?

Riding is all about confidence, and if you’re thinking about riding abroad for the first time then it may be an idea to find out what your local motorcycle group are doing. If you’re a weathered-rider then hopping over the border into foreign land may be the perfect trip.

Not a member of a group? Why not check out our handy ‘Biking in Britain’ guide to find the nearest one to you!

Group trips

Lots of clubs organise annual ride outs, these could vary from sticking to the beautiful British roads, to hopping over to France for the day or planning a big trip further afield.

Going as part of a club you may get reduced costs on hotels, tour guides and planned trips too.

You can keep each other motivated, help share the load of luggage and being there to aid your fellows riders in case of a breakdown.

Going alone

It’s just you, your bike and the open road – what more could you want?!

You’ll be able to plan a trip that suits you perfectly – you can stop when you want to stop and see what you want to see.

Touring alone does add the extra element of danger, especially if a break-down on a rural route occurs. It’s handy to make sure you let your loved ones know your planned route and timings so they can keep in contact with you best they can.

Europe

Being so closed to Europe is a real treat for bikers, with a short boat trip you can be in France within a matter of hours. After that you can ride across the 3,427km coastline and the one million km of national roads and motorways.

France borders Andorra, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Spain and Switzerland – you’ve got endless choice in planning your best route through Europe.

It’s easy enough to take your own pride and joy across seas, knowing that you can ride in pure comfort and you can make the trip fit into a long weekend or a full on holiday.

Taking on the Alps? Here’s how to do it…

Popular French roads  

Mountains of the Massif Central – One of the highest mountain ranges in Europe, Massif Central is a fantastic place to ride, the roads are meant for motorcycles. With approximately 190 miles of mountain terrain to cover, you’ll be taking in some beautiful French sights.

Millau – Home of the world’s tallest bridge, Millau has some fantastic roads especially those on the way down to the bridge. On the return you can see the lakes of Levezou, with the Pareloup Lake being the biggest artificial lake in Southern France.

Gorge de la Cere – If you’re looking for twists, hairpin bends and steep hills then this is the route for you – a tiny twisty single track with plenty of pit stops for tea and snacks during your ride.

Road to the Alps. Flickr: Tambako The Jaguar

Road to the Alps. Credit: Flickr

Popular French hot spots

It’s not all about the roads when riding abroad; it’s about embracing the local culture too and there’s plenty of that in France.

Looking for a campsite with culture? Check out Languedoc Roussillon. A seaside town full of culture, small villages and fantastic vineyards. A great pit stop for a day of exploring on your bike and on foot.

Dreaming of sunny beaches? Plan a stop off in Royan. You’ll be surrounded by golden beaches from miles around, and not forgetting the delicious array of family-run restaurants and a wealthy of choice on where to stay for the night too.

Only going for a short weekend? Check out North Brittany. Hop over on the ferry and take in the sights of the rugged coastline straight away. You’ll have your pick of food stop off points, beaches to relax on and much more!

Further afield

Travelling outside of Europe can become a little tricky, it could mean a lot more time on and off boats to reach your destination and not a lot of time for real riding.

A simple solution is to hire a motorbike when you’re out there. There are hundreds of companies that allow you to hire a bike for your desired trip allowing you to pick up on from destination and drop it back off at your final stop.

Although the most common rental is a scooter when abroad, it is still possible to get bikes with engines bigger than 125cc – just make sure you contact and book ahead of you trip!

Hiring a motorbike is a great idea especially if you’re planning a big ride like Route 66 -costs could be extremely high if you decided to bring your own bike and you need to take into consideration the extra mileage, wear and tear and insurance cover for the trip too!

Always dreamed of Route 66? Take a glimpse at what it could be like…

Popular American roads 

Route 66The iconic route 66 is the most famous motorcycle route taking in three different time zones and eight different states. The 2400 mile long route stretches from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.  This is the real heaven for motorcycle touring.

Route 50This route is composed of the George Washington Highway, West Virginia. If you’re looking for something a little different but still packed full of twists and turns then this is a route to try out. You’ve got mountains, rivers and scenery – what more could you ask for?

Beartooth Pass – If you’re looking for a serious adventure then you need to ride the Beartooth Pass, Wyoming.  The route is full of ups and downs that it’ll make you feel like you’re in control of your very own roller coasters, and of course some beautiful scenery to go with it.

Popular American hot spots

There’s a lot of land to cover when you move further afield. You’ll be spoilt for choice when riding through America, especially with all the beautiful scenic roads between states – it doesn’t just have to be Route 66!

It’s recommended you head East to West as America “opens up” going away from the congestion and overpopulation of West to East.

Always start and finish your ride in an interesting place, recommended between May and October for the best riding weather – now grab a map and get planning your route!

Check out the abundance of National Parks that are scattered throughout America, especially the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina. An extremely popular road with some legendary spot off points along the Route 129.

In need of some ocean views? Check out California’s Highway taking you down to Laguna Beach allowing you to stop off to see some sites and attractions on the way down, including the Redwood Forest.

Route 66. Credit: Flickr Randy Heinitz

The iconic Route 66. Credit: Flickr

In need of some winter sun?

From Berlin to Croatia to Ibizia – you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to winter biking trips too.  You save yourself a pretty penny to when going out of peak holiday season, and still have the perfect riding weather.

See exactly what the beautiful scenery of Croatia is like during the winter months… 

Arctic Riders Advice

Gordon Stuart, The Arctic Rider, has covered many corners of the globe on his trusted motorcycle. He’s got some words of wisdom for planning your ride abroad:

I’ve ridden abroad across Europe several times since I first started riding 10 years ago with my longest trip being 10,000km ride to the Arctic and back in 2014.

It’s a great experience but preparation is key to ensure you have a good trip.

Europe has a lifetime of riding from the Alps, the black forest, the fjords of Norway, and beyond. Where to go is really down to the time that you have and how many long riding days you want and how much relaxing you want to do.

Europe is rich in motorways to cover long distances to get you where you want to be but they aren’t half boring.

If you have 2-3 weeks almost nowhere in Europe is out of bounds as long as you put in a few big days to get you where you need to be.

Arctic Rider 2014

Arctic Rider taking a break during his ride