Hair-pins, switchbacks, tight corners, hills, undulating surfaces all give us the playground to really feel our bikes and get to know their every move. Leaning into turns and working the throttle/clutch/brakes to match the ebb and flow of each curve is an addicting sensation. These curves help us to slow down so we can take in the scenery and absorb the experience of the ride; the biker’s equivalent of, ‘stopping to smell the roses.’
This is the time of the year when New Year’s Resolutions are as nauseatingly prolific as the weight loss advertisements that exacerbate them. However, this year is going to be different than last because this year you are going to do a motorcycle ride that is bucket-list epic.
A bucket list of the best places to ride
For your convenience, I have narrowed the long list of possible US rides down to three, strategically situated to provide you with an optimal experience. The criteria I used for qualifying the top three US rides, coincidentally, is much like the criteria for finding a good partner to go with you: 1. nice to look at, 2. accommodating 3. recommended and 4. curvy.
The three rides that exceed this criterion are indisputably the perfect combination of thrill and relaxation, standing out above the rest. I personally have done two of them, and so I can attest to their qualification. Of these three, I hope you will find one that matches your style while simultaneously challenging you a little. Because; for what is the ride if not to progress?!
The Road to Hana, Maui Hawaii
Average MPH: 20
Starting Point: Kahului, Maui
You can choose to ship your motorcycle to and from Maui for roughly $1000 each way from California. We recommend flying into Kahului and renting a bike there, or in Lahaina which is about 30 minutes south. It’s much less expensive and less hassle. From Kahului, the ride will take you about 3 hours, be prepared with fuel and food. Many areas to explore waterfalls and scenery. Stay at a B&B in Hana or continue on for more riding adventure.
Pacific Coast Highway, West Coast United States
1700 miles from Astoria, Oregon to San Juan Capistrano, California
Average MPH: 50
Starting Point: any coastal city in California or Oregon
The versatility of this ride is unmatched because from anywhere in Oregon or California – practically the entire West Coast of the United States – you can head west until you hit the ocean and you’ve found the Pacific Coast Highway. Head north or south until you run out of the road or find yourself in Canada or Mexico. You will find everything from bikini beaches to snow-capped mountains on this epic stretch of road.
The Tail of the Dragon, Tennessee
Average MPH: 30
Starting Point: Deals Gap, North Carolina
Big trucks prohibited.
For those of you who are wondering why the Needles Highway in the Black Hills South Dakota is not on the list, I left it out because it is a part of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally tradition for many US riders. If you haven’t made the journey to the motorcycle mecca of Sturgis, this year (2015) would be a great year to do it as the Rally celebrates it’s 75th year. The Needles Highway through the Black Hills into Sturgis is a ride you won’t forget.
For the really adventurous, I suggest planning a dual-sport bike trip through a foreign country’s frontier-like how Alisa Clickenger left her New England home for a seven-month journey through Central and South America. For the rest of us who aren’t able to leave it all behind for a year, these rides will challenge you but still get you home before Fido misses you.
I hope that you would agree that these rides live up to their expectations. if you have completed any of these, please comment on your experience or share to help others in their search for the ride of their life!
Happy New Year’s!
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The author, Joel Martin, is an avid motorcycle rider and enthusiast who writes for and serves as the Online Marketing Manager for Law Tigers.