Our lives have been turned upside down over the past many months with lockdowns and mask mandates, and the resulting isolation has induced a serious case of cabin fever. In search of wide-open spaces, a huge number of people have turned to driving vacations instead of going to crowded resorts via commercial flights or even trains. Most use a car or an RV, but more adventurous souls choose a motorcycle to get some fresh air and see the world.
Motorcycle touring became a “thing” in the post-World War II years, initially with young men seeking adventure. But soon it expanded to include riders of all ages enjoying the freedom of the open road. Early tourers had to endure roadside camping and eating canned beans, and they hoped there would be a gas station over the next hill. Now there’s a plethora of gas stations, roadside restaurants, hotels, and motels across the country, ensuring a full gas tank, delicious meals, and a warm bed waiting at the end of a day’s ride.
Early tourers rode often-finicky motorcycles that had to be kickstarted and were equipped with absolutely zero creature comforts. Happily, today’s bikes start with a push of a button and can be accessorized with sound systems, GPS, and even heated handlebars for chilly mornings. In addition to being reliable, many are set up for comfortable long-range cruising.
Let a Company Set It Up
If you ride a modern touring bike, you know all this. But what about those who don’t, or those who either have never ridden a motorcycle or haven’t for a very long time? Seek a company specializing in organizing everything that’s needed to set off on a solo ride or as part of a group. They can assist with route planning and the best time of year to ride.
If you don’t have experience riding a motorcycle or need to earn a motorcycle endorsement for your driver’s license, they can pair you up with local organizations ready to teach you the essential skills needed to ensure a fun and safe dream road trip.
The easiest way to see new parts of the country from the back of a bike is to use a reputable, established company, such as EagleRider. Most touring companies allow you to make a round trip, or you can arrange to leave the bike at the destination. Many actually offer a discount to riders willing to ride a route to return the bikes to the usual starting point. Working with a company that has locations across the United States and in other countries gives you more latitude in choosing a route while saving you the effort of riding your bike to the destination—and then back home.
A knowledgeable tour company can make a dream trip an easy, effortless experience, especially if you’ve never been there before. Marcelo Konatu came from Brazil to make a trip that had long been on his bucket list.
“Route 66 is comprised of new and renamed roads,” Konatu said. “The guides know all of it, so we didn’t have to fumble to figure out where to go. We rode for 16 days, departing from Los Angeles to visit Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, Death Valley, and many cool, quirky places along the way that only knowledgeable tour guides can find. We went from below sea level to 10,000-foot elevations on the same day, with temperatures from -4 to 32 Celsius [47 to 90 Fahrenheit].”
Hendrick Habke traveled from Germany to fulfill his lifetime dream of exploring Route 66, choosing a guided tour to get the most out of the experience.
“We stayed at great hotels and rode the most scenic routes that we never would have found on our own. We rode with a wonderful group of people that are now dear friends. We are already planning our next trip with the same group of riders,” he said.
Choosing a Bike
If possible, opt for a guided tour that has a van to carry luggage, leaving you free to bring everything you may need, focus on the ride, and have the opportunity to select a nimbler bike instead of a large touring model. Often, the van will also tow a spare motorcycle for use in case a rider has mechanical problems out on the road. You can certainly select a classic touring motorcycle, such as a Harley Davidson Road Glide bike with a comfortable passenger seat and large locking saddlebags to secure your luggage.
EagleRider riders can select bikes ranging from dual-sport “adventure bikes” to sporty café racers or Harley Davidson Freewheelers that deliver all of the rumble on a bike that has outstanding stability and is easy to operate, even for brand new riders. Whatever bike or route you choose, the experience will leave you wanting more, with a wide grin—possibly bug-spattered—on your face.