Blame Ewan McGregor. The actor’s 2004 documentary TV series Long Way Round, along with the follow-up, Long Way Down, seem to have sparked a renewed interest in motorcycle touring. Today, there are dozen of companies and hundreds of tours offering to help you achieve your dream of riding a Harley across the desert Southwest, navigating the twisting roads of the Alps, or exploring the Australian Outback on two wheels, even if your previous motorcycle experience consists primarily of repeated viewings of Easy Rider.
Whether you’re looking for a guys-only off-road weekend or want to spend months traversing an entire continent, there’s a tour out there for you, provided you have the cash. Motorcycle adventure tours don’t come cheap. A week-long jaunt might set you back a few thousand dollars, while more elaborate excursions could cost $20,000 or more. But you get a lot for your money. Tour packages typically include all accommodations while on the road, some meals, an experienced guide, support vehicle, and mechanics. Best of all, most include bike rental or offer it as an option.
With motorcycle touring options virtually endless, it can be hard to know where to start. To help you out, we’ve put together this list of five trips that will let you experience the world in a whole new way.
1. Vegas to the Grand Canyon Off-Road Motorcycle Trip
If you’ve lost touch with your inner mountain man, Wilderness Collective promises to reintroduce you to him by taking you on one of their “legendary adventures,” including this off-road excursion from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. The four-day trip through Nevada, Arizona, and Utah will take you away from civilization as you ride through deserts and pine forests until you reach the edge of the Grand Canyon. No devices are allowed — leave your cell phone and camera at home — but you can expect gourmet meals.
This trip isn’t for beginners; all participants need at least one year of off-road experience. But if you can handle the rough conditions, you’re in for a memorable experience. The trip runs from October 9-14, including three full days of riding, and costs $3,250 per person (including bike rental, camping gear, and all meals).
2. Route 66 Motorcycle Tour
You can still get your kicks on Route 66. While the famous highway was officially decommissioned in 1985, this 15-day guided tour from EagleRider follows the same path as the original road. You’ll ride from Chicago to Los Angeles, visiting St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe, and Las Vegas along the way. The trip also includes stops at vintage roadside landmarks, like Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas and the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Ariz., plus side trips to Petrified Forest National Park and the Grand Canyon.
Tours run every two weeks from mid-April through the beginning of October and cost between $4,263 and $7,643 per person. Accommodations, some meals, unlimited gas and mileage, and park entrance fees are all included, as is bike rental.
3. Oman Adventure
Edelweiss Bike Travel has been leading motorcycle tours around the world for more than three decades. The two-week-long Oman Adventure tour takes you on circular trip through the United Arab Emirates and Oman, including stops at Wadi Shab (a scenic valley and waterfall) and Jebel Shams (the highest mountain in Oman). You’ll spend most night in hotels, but one night of desert camping is included.
The next Oman Adventure tour is scheduled for February 6-19, 2016. Per-person prices start at $7,540 and include bike rental, accommodations, most meals, and luggage transportation.
4. End of the Earth Adventure
This 17-day, 2,000-mile journey from Osorno, Chile, to Tierra del Fuego truly is the trip of a lifetime. You’ll ride through the Andes, over the Patagonian plains, and cross the Strait of Magellan, seeing towering mountains and vast glaciers, plus wildlife like penguins and guanacos, along the way.
This trip (40% of which is on dirt roads) is operated by MotoQuest and costs between $8,950 and $10,500 per person. That fee includes all accommodations, bike rental, support staff (including a mechanic and bilingual guide), and breakfasts. Because of the challenging conditions, this trip is only for expert riders. The next tours are scheduled to depart November 1, 2015, and January 31, 2016.
5. Cairo to Cape Town Motorbike Tour
You’ll travel the length of an entire continent on this 80-day, 10,000-mile tour from Cairo, Egypt, to Cape Town, South Africa, visiting Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and other countries on the way. The journey includes a stop at the pyramids of Meroë near Khartoum, a three-day safari tour in Serengeti National Park, a ride through the Great Rift Valley, and a visit to Victoria Falls, among many other incredible sights.
The trip, sponsored by Compass Expeditions, costs about $24,000 if you bring your own bike. (You can also rent one for $115 to $145 per day.) Accommodations are split between hotels and camping and are included in the fee, along with airport transfers, pre-trip training at home to get you ready for your journey, and some meals. The next tour is scheduled for September 14 through December 2, 2016.
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