I’ve always had an image of me on the open road. I’m not sure if it’s from watching The Motorcycle Diaries during a formidable age (or, more realistically Dumb and Dumber and their scooter) or if it’s just that the American idea of manifest destiny has been so ingrained into my psyche. Regardless, the pull toward scenic views and open skies is undeniable.
And there’s nothing like getting out on the road like doing so on a motorcycle. Few other ways to travel offer an almost direct connection to the natural world. With no doors, tinted windshields, or roofs to obscure your surroundings, it’s the most “at one” with nature you can be — all while cruising down the road.
How far should you ride a motorcycle in a day?
Everyone’s riding level is different, as are their bodies, type of bike you’re riding (hint: touring motorcycles are ideal for longer distances), and the reason you’re riding. Do you want to go from A to B, or is, as the adage goes, the journey part of the destination?
The distance a rider can go will vary considerably on the above factors, but if you consider yourself a competent rider and have the right bike, a good rule of thumb is about 250 to 300 miles a day. During that time, set time to enjoy the small pockets of beauty you’re sure to find along the way. From state parks to big cities, one shouldn’t worry too much about tacking on a few hours to their trip if they’re enjoying their time on the road.
There are plenty of incredible routes to take, but some stand out more than others. These five trips around the world are ones that every rider should know (as well as people who are looking to learn how to ride).
Pacific Coast Highway
Distance: 656 Miles
Best Time to Go: Anytime
Running along the majority of California’s coastline, the Pacific Coast Highway stretches from sunny SoCal to more temperate NorCal. Riding along this highway provides a chance to see how diverse and breathtaking California is. It’s hard to describe how varied the landscape gets, from small beach communities in Orange County to the foggy terrain of Monterey. You’ll be able to take stops along the way to experience a West Coast adventure that will take about four days to fully enjoy.
Distance: 68 Miles
Best Time to Go: June to September
A shorter distance but one to not be missed, following the Beartooth Highway will have you end up in Yellowstone with the natural beauty of the West surrounding you. In less than 70 miles, you’ll traverse upwards of 5,000 feet to see snow-capped mountains, alpine lakes, and wildflower fields in the summer. Due to snow, this highway isn’t open all year round, so make sure to plan accordingly as it can snow all the way into June. Bt’s a worthwhile excursion that immerses you into the rugged West like a modern-day cowboy, just replace the horse for your hog.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Distance: 469 Miles
Best Time to Go: Late spring (April to May), or early fall (September to October)
A leisurely cruise through 470 miles at the foothills of the Appalachia and Blue Ridge Mountains is about as relaxing a ride as you can get on a motorcycle. With gentle curves, a 45 mph speed limit, and vibrant green fields in the spring or foliage in the fall, it’s hard for a rider of any level to not fall in love with the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Granada to Marrakech
Distance: 650 Miles
Best Time to Go: Early summer (May to June) or fall (October to November)
For the more adventurous riders, traversing two continents may just be the pinnacle of a trip of a lifetime. Granada, in Spain, and Marrakech, in Morocco, are only separated by the Strait of Gibraltar, making this ride accessible for anyone who has a ferry ticket and a desire to see the cultures of both Southern Spain and Northern Africa. Riders who take this journey have the opportunity to live two lives on one trip, making it all the more enticing for those who want to truly experience both North Africa and Europe.
Kathmandu to Mt Everest Base Camp
Distance: 1456 Miles
Best Time to Go: September to November
Even if you’re not planning to climb Mt. Everest, the ride from Kathmandu, Nepal, to the Base Camp is the ultimate ride for anyone who’s looking for an unforgettable adventure. Make sure to tag along to a tour for the best experience, and expect to take at least eight days to finish this ride. This trip is an unbelievable opportunity to see the rugged terrain with the mountain looming larger with each mile passing. Majestic doesn’t begin to describe the views on this ride, but “life-changing” and “spiritual” has certainly been used more than once.