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Himalayan Cliffhanger | Riding India’s Death Road

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
A first glimpse at the Cliffhanger, with the majestic pine tree forests of Kishtwar, Jammu, and Kashmir, towering above.

They call it the Cliffhanger. As one of India’s most dangerous and deadly roads, it is a real treat for the experienced motorbike rider. The unpaved route, which is part of National Highway 26, connects two states, joining the towering forests of Kishtwar in the state of Jammu and Kashmir to Killar in the pristine Pangi Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Due to the difficulty and risks involved, this is one of the lesser traveled routes in the Himalayas.

The hazardous, narrow, and spine-chilling road snakes nearly 150 miles around the edge of a steep-walled gorge, much of it hacked out of a stone cliff face, hence its nickname. Through a series of harrowing switchbacks and slopes, the Cliffhanger climbs from 5,374 feet in Kishtwar to 8,091 feet in Killar. A sheer drop on one side could plunge a rider 2,000 feet down into the mighty Chenab River should they make even the smallest of errors. It’s not for the faint of heart.

The gorge carved out by the Chenab River, which churns 2,000 feet below the precarious road.

I had already ventured across uniquely difficult roads in Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh aboard my 2009 Royal Enfield Machismo 350. Purchased secondhand from a small shop in Goa, I named her Ullu, after Goddess Lakshmi’s steed in Indian mythology, a white owl that she rides into battle.

Ullu and I had been on many journeys together around India and experienced our fair share of breakdowns. She boasted a twice-welded frame, a starter with a mind of its own, and a fondness for breaking tappet rods. A lack of motorcycle mechanics in the backcountry meant a bit of risk, but I was undeterred.

Several of the roads Ullu and I had ridden were touted as the highest passes in not just India but in the entire world, so claimed by bikers in immaculate road gear with selfie-sticks attached to their full-face helmets and stickers affixed to their bikes listing the names of their latest conquests. In my waterproof jacket and Wellington boots, open-face helmet and face scarf, torn jeans and strap-on knee pads, I stood in stark contrast to the other bikers.

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
Hairpin bends and switchbacks add to the challenge – and the fun!

Riders I passed on these roads wore leather-clad and armored bike gear that makes them look 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide but when removed, revealed either a tiny, skinny Indian or someone who was, in fact, 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. In a land of plentiful chapati bread, either is possible.

Though I had done minimal research, I had an idea of what I was about to face. Whispered-about routes discussed over a plate of dal in roadside dhabas are not to be sniffed at. If you follow the breadcrumbs, there are rare rewards to reap.

Interesting hazards presented challenges on my previous trips in northern India, such as metal hooks and nails protruding from the road surface, and thin, silky sand which often whipped up into one’s eyes and robbed tires of grip, snaking across the darkening roads like a subtle cobra, making riders wobble and flounder on steep corners. The lipped edges of most Indian roads I had encountered were uneven and hid all manner of surprises, from barbed wire to broken whiskey bottles, even downed electrical wires.

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
Sections with fine, powdery sand make the Cliffhanger feel even more loose and uncertain. The margin for error is razor thin!

What unexpected tricks would the Cliffhanger have up its sleeve?

It was the day after my 33rd birthday, and I could think of no better gift to myself than this trip. There is no greater thrill than risking your life on high ledges, of pushing yourself to exhaustion, of handling a heavy machine and guiding her up the dodgiest of inclines, your whole life on your luggage rack, knowing that at any moment a brief loss of focus or a sweaty-gripped mistake could cost you everything.

Given Ullu’s penchant for breakdowns, I promised a bar full of bikers that I would not attempt the Cliffhanger alone. Joining me was my partner, John Gaisford, on his 2012 Royal Enfield Electra, named Pushkarini after the gorgeous stone baths at the edges of many Indian temples.

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
The author aboard a heavily laden Ullu, her 2009 Royal Enfield Bullet Machismo. On the left is John Gaisford’s 2013 Bullet Electra, nicknamed Pushkarini.

Having heard so much about this road, I was expecting a little more from the entrance than an idle earthmover and a nondescript road marker. But it turned out that the road, post-monsoon, was under serious construction and cordoned off. Passage was restricted to only one hour, twice a day.

We waited in a dhaba that would, at the end of the road, rob me of two days of riding thanks to some sketchy tap water. We met two other bikers there who fit my earlier description. Their bikes – KTM RC 200 and Yamaha FZ250 sportbikes – were loaded with the latest technology and gear, but it soon became apparent that they had no idea what they were about to attempt.

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
The author at the starting line, with the Enfields (Ullu and Pushkarini), a Yamaha FZ250, and a KTM RC 200.

I suspected that the sports nature of their bikes and street-biased tires made for speed on good roads could cost them dearly on those slippery corners should that famous sand appear. I had seen similar bikes stuck in precarious situations on my journeys through India, usually in the mud. The Machismo, heavy and dependable, had seen me across many a difficult road surface. Though, what its new grippy back tire giveth, the heavily loaded luggage rack taketh away.

John and I rode back to the checkpoint to line up behind a fraying rope with the pristine-looking bikers, who must have thought us quite alien with our well-worn bikes covered in road grit and dust. Someone finally let down the rope, and we cheered. I was the first out of the gate, grinning widely. Being a woman in the lead on the oldest bike in the group is about as empowering as it gets, and I believe it sets an example that women belong on motorcycles.

With the other Himalayan high-pass roads I had ridden, it took time to reach sections that filled me with a sense of impending doom, the catch-your-breath sections, the parts for which I wish I had one of those idiotic head cameras after all, to capture those moments in all their glory. But not the Cliffhanger. It was a lump-in-my-throat challenge right away as my front tire rolled over crumbling rock. A video would never do this road justice.

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
The author and Ullu teetering on the outer edge.

After five minutes, I was laughing maniacally, calling out to no one that could hear me that I was going to die, my wheels nonsensically guided by shaking hands and a fast-beating heart, which pumped like my Enfield’s engine, loud and roaring. In my mirrors I caught sight of the KTM sliding haphazardly, as predicted, from side to side along the terrain, and I quickly refocused my attention on the broken road.

The drops were something else. You know how when someone tells you that they have been on a high road, and it was steep? When someone says they scaled a sheer cliff face, it is usually exaggerated – or in fact true, but with at least a guardrail or signs around the edges or a lay-by to pull over and take photographs, usually named something romantic like Sunset Point. The Cliffhanger offered no signs, no railings, and no relief.

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
The author and Ullu navigate a section of the Cliffhanger covered in slippery sand. The edges are crumbly, ready to fall away.

Whilst trying to get a photo of the cliff, I sat at the edge for a second and knocked a rock with my boot. Seconds later, part of the cliff fell off where my foot had been, and I scrambled back, praying no one had seen me be so foolish. After experiencing this incredible road, falling accidentally off the edge because I could not get the correct angle for a photograph did not seem quite as glorious as plunging to my death atop my Enfield.

The cliff I had been so keen to capture was one of many stunning examples, overhanging, cavernous, and beautifully shaped, with sharp angles and grotesque claw-like edges. Riding through and under these felt like being in a fantasy movie like Labyrinth or Lord of the Rings. Living it was something else entirely.

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
Due to the high altitude, some vehicles needed a push after stopping for photos.

There was nowhere to stop for a water break, no chadar tents for food. The track was about the width of one 4×4, with few places where it felt reasonably safe to enjoy the mesmerizing view. The temperature was chilly in the shadows, but the sun when overhead burned down on us. We pressed on, doing our best to enjoy the terrain, sometimes hearing the odd scream of frustration or achievement of the other in front or behind.

It was a long day. Eventually the desert-stone rocky paths of the gorge gave way to the lush green pine trees of the valley. As darkness fell, Ullu’s weak headlight did little to illuminate whatever hazards lay ahead.

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
The author squeezes underneath the overhanging cliffs while giving way to a local man and his cow.

As the road smoothed out, I stopped alone to switch off the engine and experience the silence all around me. I felt, as is often the case when in the heart of the Himalayas, that I was completely and utterly alone. In our busy world where we long for tranquility, there is no feeling like it.

The road ended as unremarkably as it had begun. The KTM and Yamaha had made it too, and they finally passed us, speeding off into the blackness, with John and me exchanging knowing smiles. Royal Enfield likes to say its bikes are “built like a gun,” and ours had certainly set the standard. I gave Ullu a once-over. Her cracked fork had held out, but the front mudguard had not; the next morning, it would be wrenched off entirely by a surly bunch of local mechanics.

The Cliffhanger had been a test of both rider and bike. I remembered with a smile all the bikers I had met on the way whose suspensions had given out on roads nowhere near as treacherous, making a mental note to treat Ullu to an oil change when we got home, grateful as I was for her. Together, we had beaten the odds.

The Cliffhanger, taxing in effort and mesmerizing in beauty, was a journey by which I will measure every other motorcycle expedition. It was like a roller coaster with just the right amount of thrill but not so much it makes you nauseous. The Cliffhanger left me wanting to do it all over again.

Himalayan Cliffhanger Riding India's Death Road
The author with her feet up on Ullu after both conquered the Cliffhanger.

Ellie Cooper is passionate about inspiring other women to ride motorcycles. She taught herself to ride in India, and she has explored the country on her secondhand Royal Enfield. Cooper is the author of Waiting for Mango Season, available now, and she writes for various online publications about travel, adventure, and relationships. You can connect with her on Twitter (@Ellydevicooper) or visit her website EllieCooperBooks.com.

The post Himalayan Cliffhanger | Riding India’s Death Road first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour Review

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
One of the many scenic views along the winding coast of Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula. Photos by the author and Carrie Drevenstedt.

Having never been to Greece before, my mental postcards of the country consisted of the crumbling Parthenon in Athens and a cluster of white-washed, blue-roofed houses overlooking a turquoise sea.

The Parthenon, which my wife Carrie and I visited the day before the Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece tour began, looked like I thought it would. Well, except for the scaffolding. The temple at the Acropolis is nearly 2,500 years old and was partially destroyed by the Venetians in 1687, so a little sprucing up is in order.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
The Parthenon rises high above Athens at the Acropolis.

Those white-washed houses are on Santorini, an island out in the Aegean Sea. We didn’t go there, and that’s a good thing. Places like Santorini are where huge cruise ships disgorge hordes of waddling tourists. The Edelweiss tour avoids crowds and takes the roads less traveled.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour

From Athens to the Oracle

Our tour began with meeting the guides, who gave us a safety briefing and an overview of the tour. Booklets, a hotel list, and a map of Greece were mailed to us in advance, but if I’m honest, I barely looked at them. The experts at Edelweiss have been running motorcycle tours since 1980, and they know what they’re doing. Since they take care of the preparation and planning, I enjoy letting the tour unfold from one day to the next.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour
Our tight-knit group of Americans enjoyed the roads, sights, and culture of Greece for two full weeks.

Our group was small, just eight participants, all Americans. Three couples rode two-up – Bob and Ronnie from Virginia, Ken and Evelyn from Georgia, and Carrie and me. Two guys rode solo – Yoram from California and Dave from Virginia. (Check out Dave’s travel tips on European motorcycle travel.) Our guides Paul (from Minnesota) and William (from the U.K.) alternated days riding the lead bike and driving the support van.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
Smiles for miles. After a full day of riding challenging roads, we enjoyed a well-deserved “boot” beer at our hotel overlooking Lake Plastiras.

The first day of any overseas tour is a little stressful. Some folks are still jet-lagged, others are getting used to an unfamiliar bike on unfamiliar roads, and everyone is adapting to a new routine. Even so, our small group and common language made it easy for us to gel and get along.

Athens is a big capital city that’s home to nearly 4 million people – more than a third of Greece’s population. It’s great for sightseeing before or after the tour, but our objective was to escape the city as quickly as possible. After battling some Monday morning traffic, we did just that, climbing high into mountains on a narrow, winding road, giving us a taste of what was to come.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour
One of the curvy roads we rode on the first day of the tour.

Rainer Buck, managing director of Edelweiss, ranks Greece as one of his top three riding destinations because “it’s like a mountain range was dropped into the sea.” Greece is tied with Slovenia as the third most mountainous country in Europe after Norway and Switzerland. Nearly 80% of the country’s land area is covered by sloped terrain that motorcyclists long for.

Listen to our interview with Rainer Buck on Episode 8 of the Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
Riding in Greece’s mountains was like being in the Alps but with less traffic.

Located at the southern tip of the Balkans, Greece has a peninsular mainland bordered to the north by Albania, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey, and is surrounded on three sides by the Aegean, Myrtoan, and Ionian seas. The Peloponnese region is a large peninsula that resembles a fat, four-fingered hand, separated from the mainland by a narrow canal through the Isthmus of Corinth. Scattered around these land masses are thousands of islands. Our 1,500-mile tour followed a counterclockwise route around part of the mainland and much of the Peloponnese.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
The Kipina monastery is built into the side of a cliff.

Not only is Greece a great place to ride, its significance in terms of human culture runs deep. Located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa, it has been inhabited since at least 270,000 B.C. Pick your historical era – Stone Age, Bronze Age, Dark Ages, Middle Ages – and Greece was the place to be. It’s the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy and literature, theater, the Olympic Games, and a lot of the math and science we learned in high school. Heavy hitters like Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Hippocrates, Homer, and Euclid were all Greek.

Built in the 10th century, the Monastery of Hosios Loukas is one of fives sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List we visited on the tour.

Greece is lousy with brown signs pointing down empty roads toward historic sites. Temples, monasteries, necropolises, theaters, you name it – there are more than can be visited in a lifetime. This tour visits major or unique sites, including five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We visited two – the 10th century Monastery of Hosios Loukas and Delphi – on our first day. Established in the 8th century B.C., Delphi was where one would go to receive an oracle from the priestess of Apollo. It was also considered the center of the world, being the place where two eagles released by Zeus, one to the east and one to the west, came back together.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
Delphi, one of several sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List we visited, was built in the 8th century B.C. It sits between two towers of rock in the Parnassus Mountains.

Bagging two UNESCO sites and getting our fill of switchbacks up and down steep coastal mountains, expansive views of the Gulf of Corinth, narrow roads winding through endless olive groves, and a high pass through a vibrant evergreen forest made for a full first day. The day’s heat was cooled by an afternoon thunderstorm and a post-ride “boot” beer – enjoyed while still wearing our riding boots.

For Your Eyes Only

By Day 2, we were finding our groove. Up early for breakfast, bring luggage down at 8:15, ride briefing at 8:30, and kickstands up at 9. From our mountainside hotel in Arachova, we summited a pass, cruised through a lush alpine valley full of ski chalets, wound our way up through evergreens to a ski slope, and then plunged down an endless series of hairpins to a hot, dry valley.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour
“It’s all Greek to me!” Reading road signs in Greece can be challenging. In the background is one of the ubiquitous kandylakia, small roadside shrines.

Early on, this tour taught us to expect the unexpected and be ready for anything. Like listening to enormous storks clacking their beaks in a nest above us while we ate lunch at a small outdoor cafe. Or passing by countless kandylakia, which are small roadside shrines erected to honor lost loved ones or saints for good fortune. We visited a monastery built into the side of a cliff, another built inside a tree, and others perched atop towers of stone.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
The Panagia Plataniotissa church occupies the hollow of a tree.

On Day 3, after a picnic lunch overlooking a broad agricultural plain, we visited Meteora, a sprawling rock formation where dozens of monasteries were built atop sandstone pillars in the 14th century. Access to the monasteries was intentionally difficult, not only as protection from invaders but to test the faith of pilgrims, who had to ascend hundreds of feet by climbing ladders or being hoisted up in nets. Only six of the monasteries remain, hardy structures that have survived attacks by the Turks, bombing raids during WWII, a magnitude-7 earthquake in 1954, and the filming of a James Bond movie in 1981.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
Meteora, which means “lofty,” is a complex of monasteries perched atop sandstone pillars more than 1,000 feet high. Built hundreds of years ago, they were once accessible only by ladders and ropes.
Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour
One of the monasteries at Meteora.

Day after day, we were surprised by the ruggedness of the scenery and tested by the trickiness of the roads. Edelweiss stitched together a challenging, convoluted route, so much so that it occasionally gave the tour guides’ GPS units fits. The width, pitch, and condition of the roads changed constantly, from smooth, wide highways to steep, narrow paths riddled with potholes, cracks, and dips. Although the route was almost entirely paved, we were kept on our toes by sand, gravel, mud, cow manure, fallen rocks, rain, fog, and even patches of snow.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
Dodging snowbanks on Baros Pass.

Above all, we had to be on the lookout for animals. Traveling off the beaten path, we shared the road with cows, horses, goats (often in large, road-blocking herds), sheep (ditto), dogs (often lying on the road), cats, snakes, and turtles. What we rarely dealt with, however, were other vehicles. Outside of the few cities we visited, there were hardly any cars, trucks, or buses on the road. It was like having Greece to ourselves.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
Rush-hour traffic.

From the Mountains to the Sea

Our first few days were spent riding through mountains that seemed like they could have been in the Alps. On the fourth day, we rested. Some took advantage of the downtime to explore the mountain town of Metsovo, while others rode north into the Pindus Mountains near the Albanian border to visit Vikos Gorge, a cleft in the earth up to 4,400 feet deep and the world’s deepest gorge relative to its width.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour
Vikos Gorge

From Metsovo we turned south, climbing up and over mountain pass after mountain pass, including one that was mostly covered by a snowbank and had opened just days before. After a full day of challenging roads, we crossed a small floating bridge to the island of Lefkada. As happened at the end of most riding days, we enjoyed a celebratory boot beer and then gathered for a group dinner. We sat outdoors at the Crystal Waters resort, savoring the salty breeze and local fare as we recapped the day’s adventures, topping it all with glasses of ouzo.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
Coffee stop in the village of Kalarites, near Baros Pass.

On Day 6, we rode along the southern coast of the mainland, the sea’s color ranging from topaz in the shallows to dark cobalt in the depths. We stopped for a morning coffee at a cafe on the edge of a small harbor, where a fishing boat pulled up and sold its catch directly to locals.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
We enjoyed a morning coffee stop in Mytikas, a small fishing village where the day’s catch was sold to locals right from the boat.

We left the mainland by way of the Rion-Antiron Bridge, crossing a narrow section of the Gulf of Corinth to the Peloponnese peninsula. We wasted no time climbing back up into the mountains on roads full of twist and shout. Late in the afternoon on the way to Vytina, we hit rush-hour traffic – herd after herd of goats and sheep being led down the road by shepherds and dogs.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
The Rion-Antiron Bridge, the world’s longest fully suspended multi-span cable-stayed bridge, connects the mainland to the Peloponnese peninsula.

On the second rest day, our entire group rode to the ruins of Olympia, the ancient center of worship of Zeus and the site of the Olympic Games from 776 B.C. to 394 A.D. The temples and sports structures were mostly destroyed in 426 A.D. by an angry emperor and further damaged over the years by earthquakes and floods. Since the Olympic Games resumed in 1894, the Olympic flame has been lit at what remains of the Temple of Hera and transported by a torch to the host cities.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
Built in 590 B.C., the Temple of Hera is the oldest sanctuary in Olympia. The Olympic flame is lit here and then transported to the sites of the Olympic Games.

Prepare for Glory, and Olives

On Day 8, we sliced south through the heart of the Peloponnese, from Vytina in the mountains to Megalopolis in the valley. We made time on the motorway to reach Sparta, which, despite its legendary reputation as the home of courageous, self-disciplined warriors, is now just an ordinary city that’s well past its prime. A statue of mighty King Leonidas, who had the brass to take on the entire Persian army with 300 brave soldiers, overlooks an abandoned building.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
Riding through the Langada Gorge near Sparta.

Rising out of Sparta is a winding road that burrows its way into the Taygetos Mountains via the Langada Gorge. After ascending a few switchbacks, the road cuts into the side of the gorge through a series of tunnels and overhangs on its way up to a 5,000-foot pass. We wound our way down to the coastal city of Kalamata, known for its namesake black olives, and had lunch on the beach. It was a hot afternoon of riding along the coast, and after a boot beer in Areopoli, several of us cooled off with a swim in the Ionian Sea.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
The village of Limeni, where we swam in the Ionian Sea.

Our final rest day was in Monemvasia. We stayed in a beautiful resort hotel with two infinity pools, a gourmet restaurant, and views of vineyards and the sea – the perfect reward after logging so many challenging miles. It was also where Carrie and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary. Paul and William had a special treat sent to our room, and the next morning we found our GS decorated with tissue paper, empty beer cans strung together with duct tape, and a “just married” sign.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour
Our hotel near Monemvasia, where we enjoyed a rest day.

Over our final two days, we made our way back to Athens, riding north along the Peloponnese coast, where we enjoyed coffee and lunch stops overlooking the sea and visited the theater at Epidaurus, built in the 4th century B.C. and renowned for its exceptional acoustics.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
The 2,500-year-old theater at Epidaurus can hold 14,000 spectators.

Our Bucket Overfloweth

Greece seems to be on everyone’s bucket list. If they’ve never been, they want to go; if they’ve visited before, they want to go back. It’s a magical, mysterious, romantic place that looms large in our imaginations and is rich in history, culture, cuisine, scenery, and so much more.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Greece Tour
We ate well in Greece and ordered Greek salad with fresh tomatoes and local feta every day.

It is difficult to fathom the depth of history in Greece’s mountains and along its shorelines. Living in a nation barely two and a half centuries old on a continent “discovered” five centuries ago, seeing the remnants of kingdoms and empires that stretch back several millennia boggles the mind, like trying to comprehend the far reaches of outer space. Is this real? Did actual humans carve this stone and erect these temples, till this soil and fish these waters, worship gods and contemplate ideas of self-determination?

Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour
Riding along the Peloponnese coast.

Spending two weeks in Greece engaged our senses, dispelled our preconceived notions, and tested our mettle. This tour is not a walk in the park. It is challenging and at times quite intense, with long riding days on technical roads with variable weather and conditions. Every night we collapsed into bed, dead tired but deeply satisfied.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour
Riding in the mountains on Greece’s mainland.

Edelweiss Bike Travel’s next Best of Greece tour is scheduled for October 8-21, 2022. The tour will run twice in 2023: May 1-15 and September 29-October 12. For pricing, details, and information about Edelweiss’ full schedule of tours, visit EdelweissBike.com.

The post Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour Review first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

European Motorcycle Touring: What to Know Before You Go

European Motorcycle Touring

After reading this issue’s article about Edelweiss Bike Travel’s Best of Greece tour, you’re probably already thinking about your next vacation. European motorcycle touring with Edelweiss is as easy as travel gets. The most difficult part is deciding which tour to book because they all look so good. (Visit EdelweissBike.com to see the full list of tours around the world.)

European travel, especially by motorcycle, is an incredibly exciting and rewarding experience. But before you book your tour, keep the following in mind to maximize your enjoyment.

First, acknowledge your level of riding skill. Edelweiss rates its tours for difficulty on a scale of 1 (easiest) to 5 (most difficult); most are rated 3 or 4. Read Edelweiss’ guide for how it rates tours, take it seriously, and then honestly assess your ability. Want to up your game? Sign up for Edelweiss’ One-Day Alps Prep Course or its seven-day Alps Riding Academy tour.

Second, choose the right bike for the tour. The easiest thing to do is select the same bike you already own. If you ride a BMW GS at home, then you’ll feel comfortable on one in Europe. Or you could take the opportunity for an extended test ride on something different. But before you dive in headfirst, go to your dealer and sit on the bike to get a feel for it. Consider the bike’s seat height, weight, and power, especially if you plan to ride with a passenger. On switchbacks in the Alps, a smaller, lighter bike is always easier to manage.

To prepare for your trip, I recommend buying Rick Steves’ book Europe Through the Back Door. Steves has been writing about European travel for more than 40 years, and his books are full of valuable advice. He also has a website, an online forum, a YouTube channel, and many free podcasts and audio tours. Steves covers most of the basics but not travel by motorcycle. We face a few challenges other tourists don’t.

These days, commercial air travel can be chaotic. Airports are crowded, lines are long, flights can be delayed or canceled, and those that take off are full. Once you’ve booked your motorcycle tour, book your flights as soon as possible so you’ll have the most options at the best prices. Book flights with long enough layovers for your checked baggage to make your connections and to allow breathing room for delays.

When luggage doesn’t arrive at a destination, it’s an inconvenience for most tourists. For motorcyclists, it can have serious consequences. Without gear, you can’t ride, and replacing a helmet or jacket at the last minute can be time consuming and expensive. Riding gear is heavy, so a lightweight gear bag will help you stay within the 50-lb weight limit. Carry your helmet onto the plane as your personal item to keep it safe.

Know the travel rules regarding passports and Covid. Check your passport’s expiration date and ensure it is valid for at least six months after you return home. Covid guidance is constantly changing, so stay up to date. Before we went to press, the U.S. lifted its requirement to show a negative Covid test taken the day before a return flight. Be prepared before you go and have a backup plan.

Try to arrive at your tour’s departure hotel at least one day prior to the tour briefing. Flights can be delayed, connections missed, and luggage lost, so give yourself some margin for error. Jet lag is also a consideration, so I suggest planning a few days of sightseeing prior to the tour. It’s more enjoyable to get acclimated to the new time zone in a Munich biergarten than on a steep alpine pass.

As for riding gear, plan for the worst and hope for the best. Weather can be unpredictable. Expect it to be hot and dry one day and cold and rainy the next. Bringing two riding suits is impractical but bringing two pairs of gloves isn’t. It’s a lot easier to control a bike with warm, dry hands. Your bike will have side cases, a top case, and a tankbag, so you’ll have plenty of room for gear. (Except for Ride4Fun tours, your luggage will be transported from hotel to hotel in a support van.)

Wear moisture-wicking, fast-drying clothing made of synthetic materials under your riding gear. Bring a layer for warmth, and pack dedicated raingear, even if your gear promises to be waterproof. (Pro tip: Stash two plastic grocery bags with your raingear; slipping them on over your boots makes it much easier to pull on rain pants.) Also, don’t overpack clothing. Bring travel packets of detergent, and do laundry in your hotel bathtub or sink. It will dry overnight. Casual attire is acceptable almost everywhere.

Use your smartphone or a point-and-shoot camera for photos. Dealing with an expensive DSLR camera and lenses is an unnecessary hassle unless you are a pro shooter. And remember to bring two or three Europe-compatible electrical outlet adapters to charge your devices.

Finally, be prepared to have an awesome trip. Riding in Europe is amazing. The scenery is breathtaking, the food is excellent, and the people are friendly. European drivers also have an awareness of and respect for motorcyclists that U.S. drivers often lack. About 60% of Edelweiss tour participants are repeat clients. What you thought would be a once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list vacation could very well become an annual event.

The post European Motorcycle Touring: What to Know Before You Go first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Join Rider on Adriatic Moto Tours’ Sardinia and Corsica Tour, Oct 15-23

Sardinia and Corsica Tour Adriatic Moto Tours
Want day after day of challenging twisties and amazing scenery? Here’s your chance!

Join long-time Rider contributor Scott “Bones” Williams on the Adriatic Moto Tours Sardinia and Corsica – Riders’ Heaven tour, scheduled for October 15-23, 2022. Read on for tour details, or click here to visit the tour page.

The mountainous, rugged islands of Sardinia and Corsica, situated in the Mediterranean Sea west of Italy, have some of the best roads, best scenery, and most unique culture in all of Europe.

Sardinia and Corsica Tour Adriatic Moto Tours

Hilly and curvy, with a very jagged coastline and craggy rock formations, Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean (after Sicily) and is an autonomous region of Italy. It offers thrilling views while riding perfect bends of never-ending seaside cliff roads. Its rugged landscape is dotted with thousands of nuraghi – mysterious Bronze Age stone ruins shaped like beehives. Not to mention a scattering of Roman ruins, Pisan churches, and Spanish Baroque architecture.

A ferry crossing reaches French Corsica, serving up more twists and turns as the roads wind their way through pine-forested hills and small villages.

Sardinia and Corsica Tour Adriatic Moto Tours

This nine-day tour includes six riding days (covering a total of 850 miles) and one rest day (in Alghero, Sardinia) bookended by travel days. Here’s a day-by-day itinerary:

Day 1: Welcome to Sardinia!
Day 2: Olbia – Ajaccio
Day 3: Ajaccio – Corte
Day 4: Corte – Bonifacio
Day 5: Bonifacio – Alghero
Day 6: Rest day in Alghero
Day 7: Alghero – Cala Gonone
Day 8: Cala Gonone – Olbia
Day 9: Flight home from Olbia

Pricing starts at 3,580 euros (approx. $3,640) for a rider on a rental motorcycle sharing a double room – or 2,990 euros (approx. $3,040) if riding your own motorcycle. Single-room occupancy, higher-spec motorcycles, a passenger, and other upgrades are extra. See tour page for full details and pricing.

Sardinia and Corsica Tour Adriatic Moto Tours

The price includes:

  • Late model motorcycle with lockable hard luggage and tankbags, plus third-party liability insurance and comprehensive vehicle insurance
  • Experienced guide on a motorcycle
  • Support van for luggage, souvenirs, and one or two passengers
  • Eight nights accommodation in quality (mostly 4-star) hotels
  • Eight breakfasts in the hotel
  • Seven dinners, mostly in traditional local restaurants
  • All (two) ferry rides and tolls
  • Airport transfers up to five days prior to the tour start, on the last day of the tour, and one day after the tour
  • Entrance fees to museums (according to tour program)
  • All maps with marked routes for the region being toured
  • Extensive tour booklet
  • GPS with all the daily routes uploaded
Sardinia and Corsica Tour Adriatic Moto Tours

Not included in the price:

  • Air ticket, dinners on rest days, most lunches, drinks, gasoline, personal spending, tips.

If you’re ready for a unique motorcycle adventure, sign up now! Click here for more info and to book the tour.

The post Join Rider on Adriatic Moto Tours’ Sardinia and Corsica Tour, Oct 15-23 first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Join Rider on the IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour, October 15-23

IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour
Join us on the IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour, October 15-23, 2022, for fantastic riding, delicious food and wine, and luxurious accommodations.

Scott Moreno, the American-born owner of IMTBike, the motorcycle tour and rental company based in Spain, has one of the most infectious personalities of the many people I’ve met over the years in the motorcycle industry.

Born in New York City and raised in northern New Jersey, Moreno studied abroad in Spain. After getting his MBA, he made a good living as a currency trader, but he was miserable. When a friend asked him what he loved to do, he said “ride motorcycles and have adventures.” So, in 1997, Scott bought eight BMW motorcycles and started Iberian Moto Tours (IMTBike’s former name) from his apartment in Madrid.

IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour
All smiles on the IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour. Scott Moreno is second from left in the front row.

Click here to listen to our podcast interview with Scott Moreno

This year, IMTBike is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Through the hard work of Moreno and his team, the company has grown to include more than two dozen staff members, office locations in Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Málaga, and Lisbon, and the world’s largest fleet of BMW motorcycles – 200 at last count (IMTBike is an Official Partner of BMW Motorrad). In 2021, IMTBike earned a coveted TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice “Best of the Best” award.

IMTBike specializes in tours of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), but it also offers tours in France, Italy, the Alps, and Morocco, as well as MotoGP tours (Catalunya, Jerez, and Valencia) and tours in Turkey, Thailand, Japan, and New Zealand.

To help IMTBike celebrate its “25 Years of Magic,” Rider’s Editor-in-Chief Greg Drevenstedt and his wife Carrie will be joining Moreno on the Southern Spain Andalusia Tour this fall, October 15-23. The tour starts and ends in Málaga, on Spain’s famous Costa del Sol (“Sun Coast”) on the Mediterranean Sea.

IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour
Route for the IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour

The 9-day tour includes seven riding days, one rest day (in Seville), and travel days on either end. Here’s the itinerary:

  • Day 1: Arrival in Málaga
  • Day 2: Málaga – Costa del Sol – Sierra Nevada – Granada
  • Day 3: Granada – Córdoba
  • Day 4: Córdoba – Seville
  • Day 5: Seville – rest day
  • Day 6: Seville – White Towns
  • Day 7: White Towns – Ronda
  • Day 8: Ronda – Serranía de Ronda – Málaga
  • Day 9: Flight home

We recommend arriving a couple of days early to get acclimated to the time zone and explore Málaga, one of the oldest cities in Europe, which is full of history, culture, and vitality. Walk the city streets and tour the Alcazaba, a Moorish palatial fortress built in the 11th century.

IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour
The tour route includes some of Spain’s best motorcycling roads in the Grazalema and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

The region of Andalusia is home to some of Spain’s most famous cities, including Seville, Córdoba, and Granada, all three of which contain UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stay in Spain’s famous Paradors – castles, monasteries, fortresses, and other historic buildings converted into luxury hotels. The Parador in Ronda stands on the edge of a cliff and is next to the Plaza de Toros (bullfighting ring), and the town is surrounded by the Sierra de las Nieves National Park.

On this tour you’ll visit Spain’s iconic “White Towns,” villages full of white-washed houses, and you’ll enjoy Andalusian cuisine, famous for its jamón Ibérico pata negra (black-footed Iberian ham) and delicious tapas. You’ll also get your fill of curves and twisties in the Grazalema and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour
Andalusia’s “White Towns”
IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour
Jamón Ibérico pata negra (black-footed Iberian ham)

You don’t want to miss this tour. Pricing starts at just 3,225 euros (about $3,450), and includes transfer to/from the airport, motorcycle rental (BMW G 310 R), lodging, eight breakfasts, and seven dinners. Choosing a larger motorcycle, adding a passenger, and a single-occupancy room adds to the price.

Click HERE for more details and to book the tour. Sign up soon because this tour will fill up fast!

The post Join Rider on the IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour, October 15-23 first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Perfect Pyrenees Tour with IMTBike

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
Winding around one of the many hairpins on the descent from Naut Aran, a town high in the Pyrenees that’s home to the Baqueira-Beret ski resort.

My husband, Steve, was facing a landmark birthday last August. He decided to celebrate on a motorcycle, and IMTBike had a Pyrenees tour that coincided with the date. The Pyrenees is a rugged mountain range that straddles the border of northern Spain and southern France, and it’s known for well-maintained but challenging roads and twisty mountain passes. The tour covers 900 miles over eight days and seven nights, with six riding days and one rest day.

IMTBike is a motorcycle tour and rental company based in Madrid with office locations in Barcelona, Bilbao, Málaga, and Lisbon. Steve contacted IMTBike’s managing director, an American ex-pat named Scott Moreno (listen to our podcast interview with Scott), who happily answered questions during several conversations. We wanted to know about weather in Barcelona (where the Perfect Pyrenees tour begins and ends) and in the mountains, what type of clothing we should wear, and what types of motorcycles are available. As an official partner of BMW Motorrad, IMTBike offers BMW models ranging from the G 310 R up to the K 1600 GT.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour

Steve shared with Scott that I was hesitant about riding in the Pyrenees. I’d gotten my motorcycle license only two years prior, and I was worried the tour would be too advanced for my limited riding experience. This tour was the first since Covid-19 shut everything down around the world, and Scott said he was joining the tour to make sure accommodations and everything else was in order after such a long hiatus. He also said he’d look out for me and not to worry. “Just come,” Scott said with his characteristic enthusiasm and charm. “You’ll love it.”

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
A sunset view from one the Paradors. Scattered throughout Spain, these luxury hotels are in converted castles, monasteries, and other historic buildings, and they showcase local cuisine.

Day 1: Arrival in Barcelona

IMTBike staff picked us up at the airport and drove us to a nice hotel in central Barcelona. The night before the tour started, everyone met in the hotel lobby for a briefing. Introductions were made, thorough handbooks were issued, and Spanish driving laws and road signs were reviewed. Our fearless guides, David and Mikel, described the quality of the roads, the increased amount of traffic in some areas due to tourism, and the daily fueling of our bikes. Then we enjoyed one of the late-evening dinners Spain is known for, with plenty of local specialties and vino tinto.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
Enjoying a sweet treat and café con leche during one of our coffee stops.

Day 2: Barcelona to La Seu d’Urgell

On the morning of the tour’s first day, we shuttled over to IMTBike’s Barcelona office, and everyone familiarized themselves with their bikes of choice. I’d booked a BMW F 750 GS, which I’d ridden before, but it felt top-heavy and unwieldy, so I opted for a smaller, lighter G 310 R instead.

Steve and California Joe, who has 40 years of riding experience and was on his third IMTBike tour, rode R 1250 GSs. Bill and Ruth, a young Midwest couple who rode two-up, were on an F 800 GT. Completing our all-American group were Jerry and her wife GiGi, experienced riders from Long Island who are frequent IMTBike tour participants. At 79 years of age, Jerry is an inspiration and still serves as a motorcycle safety instructor. She rode a G 310 R and GiGi rode an F 750 GS. Scott rode an F 750 GS, while David and Mikel alternated between driving the van and leading our pack on an R 1250 GS. The support van accompanied us the entire trip. It transported everyone’s luggage, provided a secure place to store our helmets and jackets during coffee and lunch stops, and carried a spare F 750 GS in case one of our bikes had an issue.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
Rounding another hairpin on the climb up to Port de la Bonaigua (6,798 ft).

Our departure from Barcelona was the only time we rode on an autovía (freeway), and the mountains in the distance were beautiful and inviting. Before long we began to climb into the Pyrenees on twisty curves and sweepers with beautiful vistas. Steve and I had helmet communicators, allowing us to share our excitement, continuously exclaiming “Spectacular!”

Spain is known for its Paradors, historic buildings converted into hotels that are administered by the government. The Parador in La Seu d’Urgell is a former convent. It had a small swimming pool, which cooled us off after riding in peak summer heat.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
Climbing up to Col du Tourmalet (6,939 ft), one of the highest passes on the Pyrenees section of the Tour de France.

Before dinner our group met for a briefing about the next day’s ride. With drinks and maps covering the table, David and Mikel explained the coffee breaks, where and how to park for lunch, and stops at scenic points for photos. This was a ritual repeated nightly at each Parador. We would be riding portions of the Tour de France route (though not during the race itself), so they warned us about hairpins or narrow roads where we might encounter groups of cyclists.

Day 3: La Seu d’Urgell to Ordesa and Monte Perdido National Park

The roads on this tour were selected for optimum riding pleasure. There were plenty of challenging segments, and it was clear this was going to be an exciting adventure. After exhausting our use of “Spectacular!” Steve and I added “Magnificent!” and “Fantastic!” to our bike-to-bike exclamations.

I liked not worrying about navigation; David and Mikel took care of that. During every coffee break and lunch stop, our bikes were repositioned for ease of departure. I really liked that. At other times, one of the guides would stand in the street and direct traffic so we could cross lanes safely. I liked that too and felt spoiled.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
The giant teeth of the Sierra de Montserrat tower over the Montserrat Monastery.

After visiting the Baqueira-Beret ski resort high in the Pyrenees, on our descent we encountered horses trotting alongside us, as free and unfettered as we were. Our travel through tunnels and over mountain passes brought us into France and back into Spain, where we arrived at a Parador surrounded by mountains with a lovely view of a waterfall.

During our nightly briefing, Scott confessed that, yes, he needed to connect with the Paradors and restaurants, but like all of us following the lockdown, he wanted to get back out in the world and enjoy the ride. Scott is passionate about motorcycles, as are David and Mikel, and the latter has been a tour guide for IMTBike for 16 years. Stoke makes all the difference.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
In our helmet communicators, Steve and I repeated, “Don’t look down!”

Day 4: Ordesa to Valle de Tena

The morning coffee break occurred in France, so naturally, everyone ordered crepes. On steep, narrow roads, we passed cyclists who impressed us with their strength and endurance, but pedaling uphill didn’t look to be as much fun as I was having. We reached Col du Tourmalet (6,939 ft), one of the highest passes on the Pyrenees section of the Tour de France, and it offered spectacular views.

Late in the afternoon, we traveled through the beautiful Pyrenees National Park. Spectacular twisties brought us to Col d’Aubisque (5,607 ft), another mecca for cyclists. During a short break, a burst of applause brought our attention to another group of motorcyclists circled around Jerry. They found out she’s a 79-year-old rider and displayed their admiration.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
We met some fluffy locals on our ride down from Col d’Aubisque.

We mounted our bikes in dense fog. The descent was on a narrow road with no shoulders or guardrails, with one side of the road edged by a vertical cliff. There was no margin for error. It was scary. Steve and I kept saying to each other, “Don’t look down.” We couldn’t look down if we wanted to because the fog was so thick. That was a blessing, but also a curse because the fog filled our faceshields.

Our group formed a slow conga line. The taillight on the bike in front of me was my only guide. On tight turns, the red light in front of me would disappear until I rounded the bend. Finally, we dropped below the fog, only to encounter a herd of sheep crossing the road, forcing us to stop. They kept coming and coming, making us laugh. I also laughed with relief.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
Tour guide David asks, “Fog? What fog?”

By the time we checked into our lovely Parador tucked in the mountains, I was exhausted yet exhilarated. On Day 1, our guides said if we needed, for any reason, to put our bike into the van and ride shotgun next to the driver, it was always an option. As scared as I was, I trusted Scott, David, and Mikel to get us down safely, and they maintained a careful pace and conservative lines. We all tackled the trying conditions. I did it! And the sense of accomplishment felt good.

Day 5: Valle de Tena (Rest Day)

Everyone decided to explore beautiful Tramacastilla on the rest day, while David and Mikel offered to guide a loop ride. Steve and I wanted to stroll and relax too, but I wanted to test ride the F 750 GS. We asked David and Mikel if a shorter jaunt was possible, and without hesitation, they reorganized the route. California Joe joined us.

It was fun to watch David and Mikel ride together so joyfully. And it was contagious; we had so much fun we decided to extend the route. We had lunch outside with tables overlooking a lovely ski area, and we shared laughs and stories. It was another great riding day, and I gained enough confidence on the F 750 GS to ride it the rest of the tour.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
We lost count of the spectacular mountain passes on this tour. Our crew at Col du Tourmalet.

Day 6: Valle de Tena to Cardona

Another day of excellent riding. More twisties, more sweepers, more landscapes, and more exclamations between Steve and me. “Bonito!” was our new favorite.

The Parador de Cardona is a converted castle, which was fortuitous because it was Steve’s birthday. Before dinner, I asked David and Mikel to take the little birthday candles I’d brought to the kitchen for Steve’s dessert. They paused and then said, “Okay, we’ll tell you. A bottle of wine and snacks are being sent to your room, and we already have candles for the cake we arranged.” I was very touched.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
Steve enjoys his birthday celebration at the Parador de Cardona, a converted castle.

Dinner was in a grand, vaulted banquet hall. The food was terrific, and dessert was even better. A birthday cake was ceremoniously set in front of Steve and luckily our motley chorus singing “Happy Birthday” was drowned out by Scott’s phone blasting the Beatles’ “Birthday.” Steve was embarrassed but delighted. Everyone, especially David, Mikel, and Scott, made Steve’s birthday fun, memorable, and just so damn cool.

Day 7: Cardona to Barcelona

The last day brought us more excellent roads, and another exclamation: “Awesome!” Less than two hours from Barcelona are the Sierra de Montserrat, distinctive saw-toothed mountains that are visible from far away. As we got closer, each peak became a thick, pointy finger jutting upwards. A steep, winding road brought us to the Montserrat Monastery. Wandering through the monastery complex is well worth the visit.

IMTBike Perfect Pyrenees Tour
Watching a funicular climb to the top of the Sierra de Montserrat.

Then, reluctantly, we returned to Barcelona. Don’t get me wrong, Barcelona is a lovely city. But our fantastic trip was over, and it was time to say goodbye to new friends. My initial reluctance to ride the difficult roads the Pyrenees are famous for was replaced with miles of joy, laughs, and confidence thanks to Scott, David, and Mikel. They’re very good at what they do, and they’re new friends too. Steve and I have since done two self-guided tours with IMTBike, and we look forward to our next guided tour with them.

The Perfect Pyrenees tour runs in August and September, and pricing starts at 2,850 euros (about $3,200). For more information about IMTBike’s tours, visit imtbike.com.

Read our IMTBike Portugal & Southern Spain Tour review

The post Perfect Pyrenees Tour with IMTBike first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Edelweiss Southern France Tour

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
Looking down on the road that brought us up to Col du Galibier, an 8,668-foot pass in the French Alps just west of the Italian border. On Day 8 we summited many alpine passes that challenge competitors in the Tour de France bicycle race.

Sunshine, wine, good food, and savoir vivre (knowing how to live) – these are just a few reasons why the Côte d’Azur and the Provence region of southern France are so captivating. But for motorcyclists, the real draw of this region near the western border of northern Italy are the roads threaded throughout the Maritime Alps. The Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Southern France Tour gives motorcyclists a taste of the good life in this enchanting part of Europe.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
Riding high above the Gorges de la Nesque on one of its many “balcony” roads carved into the canyon walls.

RELATED: Edelweiss Bike Travel Morocco Tour

Day 1: Arrival

The tour begins and ends in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, a medieval village tucked into the mountains with views of the picturesque Mediterranean coast. The town is not far from iconic French Riviera cities like Cannes and Nice (which has the closest major airport), as well as the casinos and Formula 1 course in Monte Carlo, Monaco.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour

The tour covers approximately 1,300 miles over nine days, with a rest day in Mostuéjouls. A wide range of motorcycles are available for this tour, from small bikes like the BMW G 310 R to mid-sized bikes like the Honda NC750X and Ducati Monster 821 to liter-class bikes like the Suzuki V-Strom 1050XT, BMW R 1250 GS/RT, and Harley-Davidson Pan America. Prices start at $6,550 and vary based on choice of motorcycle and single vs. double room. Lodging and most meals are included as part of the tour price.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
A pair of sportbikers make the climb to an alpine pass on a perfect riding day.

Like so many cities, towns, and villages in southern France, Saint-Paul-de-Vence is full of history and character. The picturesque walled city was initially a fortified medieval defense post and played a significant role in the French Revolution. For centuries it has been a lodestone for tourists, travelers, and artisans, as well as a significant center for the Impressionist and Expressionist art movements of the 20th century. Recently it was home to, and is the final resting place of, modern artist Marc Chagall, who bequeathed to the city some of his most significant works.

Part of what draws one here is the magical blend of tranquility and brilliance. For artists it’s the light, for others it’s the mild climate and rustic setting. For many it is simply the nearness and yet quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of France’s more famous Mediterranean cities.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
Col du Galibier is one of several alpine passes we summited on Day 8.

Seven guests have arrived, coming from the United States, Brazil, and Germany, and all have chosen to ride adventure bikes: BMW R 1250 GSs and S 1000 XRs and a KTM 1290 Super Adventure. The bikes are parked next to the pool, ready to ride. For all but two of the tour participants, this is their first time in this region. For some, this is their first time in France. The evening before the tour we met for a briefing, followed by camaraderie over a delicious meal of good wine and poisson à la provençale. Marlene and Klaus, a couple from Germany, received a special recognition for having completed many Edelweiss tours already.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
On our first riding day, from Saint-Paul-de-Vence to Saint-Michel-l’Observatoire, we visited Gorges du Verdon, one of the most iconic canyon landscapes in Europe. The limestone walls, which are thousands of feet high, attract many rock climbers.

Day 2: Saint-Paul-de-Vence to Saint-Michel-l’Observatoire

Our day begins with a nip in the air and long shadows stretching across the lawn. There’s not a cloud in the sky, yet the sweltering heat of summer is behind us and it’s a pleasure to don some warmer riding gear for a picture-perfect autumn day. It’s in the mid-40s now, but by the afternoon it will be in the mid-60s. Our route takes us along the Gorges du Loup, to the medieval walled city of Gourdon, and ultimately the spectacular Gorges du Verdon – one of the most iconic canyon landscapes in Europe. Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is our last stop of the day, right at the foot of an ancient monastery, for a coffee before reaching our lodging for the night. This ancient town was first settled in the 5th century, and with its 12th-century Romanesque church, it is considered one of France’s plus belle ville de pays (most beautiful country towns).

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
Taking a break to enjoy the view of Gorges du Verdon.

After a full day of riding, the day ends with a respectful appreciation of the amazing scenery, stunning vistas, extensive history, and relaxed simplicity that is typical of Provence. Our group is getting into the swing of things as the cares of their lives back home begin melting away. Can it get any better?

Day 3: Saint-Michel-l’Observatoire to Avignon

We’re on our way to Avignon, and it’s a gorgeous day, with blue skies dotted with fluffy white clouds, creating the perfect backdrop for the charming villages we visit. After a short warm-up ride, we stop in the beautiful village of Roussillon for coffee. With its ancient buildings seeming to tumble down the mountainside, we find our lunch stop in Sault even more enchanting.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
On Day 3, during our ride from Saint-Michel-l’Observatoire to Avignon, we had lunch in the beautiful village of Sault.

After lunch, we follow part of the famous Tour de France route over 6,263-foot Mont Ventoux, where the blue skies give way to thick, gray fog. We pause to allow a herd of sheep to pass and keep a keen eye out for bicyclists. They’re everywhere! We must be cautious, as some of the bicyclists descend the mountain faster than our motorcycles. We’re amazed, and the fearless cyclists command our respect.

Upon arriving in Avignon, we enjoy a little tailgate party with snacks and post-ride “boot” beers served from the back of the chase van. The night’s accommodations are in an old palace in the center of the city, and we’ve arrived early enough for a visit to the spa or to explore the beautiful city perched on the bank of the Rhône River, which is a veritable jewel of provincial culture and heritage. We’re rewarded with another delicious dinner, and afterward we all linger to chat about what we’ve seen and experienced so far. The anticipation of the next day’s ride is palpable.

Day 4: Avignon to Mostuéjouls

The Côtes du Rhône region is renowned for its red cuvée wines made from a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre grapes. We visit La Chartreuse-de-Valbonne, a monastery founded in 1203, where Carthusian monks first cultivated the grapes and fermented the juices to produce the wine that made this region world famous.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
La Chartreuse-de-Valbonne is a monastery in the Côtes du Rhône region that is famous for wine.

The day continues with a major highlight: a thrilling roller-coaster ride on narrow, heavily shaded forest roads, over a 3,000-foot pass, and into Grands Causses Regional Natural Park. Within the park is Gorges de la Jonte, a jagged, plunging canyon up to 1,500 feet deep where vultures can be seen circling in the thermic winds high above the rugged terrain. After another thrilling day of riding, we arrive in Mostuéjouls, where we spend the next two nights and a rest day at a first-class hotel with a pool.

Day 5: Rest Day in Mostuéjouls

This picturesque alpine village on the Tarn River is popular with climbers, kayakers, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Some took the opportunity to squeeze in another day of riding on the fantastic local roads, while others explored or relaxed. One of the area’s highlights is located nearby in Cévennes National Park – an enormous limestone cave called Aven Armand that’s filled with intricate stalagmites and stalactites. Another is Viaduc de Millau, an 8,000-foot-long multi-span cable-stayed bridge that’s the tallest in the world, with a structural height of just over 1,100 feet.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
A few of us visited Aven Armand, an enormous limestone cave, during a rest day in Mostuéjouls.

Day 6: Mostuéjouls to Chabrillan

We continue our triangular, clockwise loop route, riding through the Gorges du Tarn and Gorges de l’Ardèche, where we stop at Pont d’Arc, an enormous natural stone bridge that was formed when the Ardèche River broke through a narrow escarpment of soft limestone. The arch is nearly 200 feet wide and more than 100 feet tall, and a nearby beach makes it popular with swimmers and sunbathers. It’s another beautiful day, and we take the opportunity to stop and enjoy the view down into canyons and across to distant mountains carpeted in rich green vegetation.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
Pont d’Arc is natural stone bridge that was formed when the Ardèche River broke through a narrow escarpment of limestone.

Day 7: Chabrillan to Chambéry

As we travel northeast, we’re making our way into the foothills of the French Alps. The scenery gets more rugged and the mountains soar higher. We summit Col de la Machine, a breathtaking 3,316-foot pass, followed by another gorge. We’ll spend the next two riding days at higher elevations, mostly above 6,000 feet. Days like this are why we go on alpine motorcycle tours. The vistas, the undulating pavement, and the surprises around every unfamiliar corner. This is riding heaven – we all know it and enjoy sharing it with each other.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
Rounding hairpins on the descent from Col de l’Iseran. At 9,068 feet, it is the highest paved pass in the Alps.

Day 8: Chambéry to Arvieux

More alpine passes today. Col du Télégraphe (5,138 feet). Col du Galibier (8,668 feet). Col du Lautaret (6,752 feet). Col d’Izoard (7,743 feet). Each is legendary in its own right. They are rites of passage for bicyclists – challenges on the grueling Tour de France race. We are grateful for throttles!

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
Col du Télégraphe (5,138 feet), a pass that is often used during the ascent to Col du Galibier in the Tour de France.

Being high in the Alps made for an ideal location to enjoy one of Edelweiss’ famous picnic lunches. One of the tour guides bought a variety of local delicacies, and the chase van was stocked with tables, chairs, and everything needed for a nicely catered buffet. With the sun shining and beautiful mountain views, we relaxed and enjoyed having this little part of paradise all to ourselves.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
Enjoying one of Edelweiss’ famous picnic lunches on a beautiful day in the Alps.

Day 8: Arvieux to Jausiers

We wake up in Arvieux to cold rain and fog, our only inclement weather of the trip. After riding briefly into and out of Italy (ciao!), we ride back into France and find that a landslide on the route to Col de la Bonette has blocked our passage. With torrential rain and temperatures just above freezing, our hands are soaked and our spirits are numbed. We detour back to Vinadio, Italy, and assuage our disappointment with hot beverages and perhaps the best pizza we’ve ever eaten. We backtrack and follow a clear route to Jausiers, where we all welcome a hot shower, a warm dinner, and a soft, dry bed.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
This was our view as we rode up to Col de la Bonette on a clear morning after the previous day’s heavy rain.

Day 9: Jausiers to Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Since we missed Col de la Bonette (8,907 feet) yesterday, on our last riding day we do an early-morning up-and-back ride to the monumental pass. We squeeze in more mountain riding on our way back to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, where we put down our kickstands for the last time.

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
After a landslide blocked our access to Col de la Bonette from the south, we summited the pass the next day from the north.

Our international group shares a mix of elation and disappointment. We’ve had a wonderful tour and even faced a few challenges, and we don’t want it to end. Over our final dinner together, Edemar from Brazil says, “The end of a dream is the birth of new plans!”

We all were at a loss for words to describe how stunning the trip had been. Great food, amazing riding, impressive historical sites, exploration of new places, and a soul-warming group experience. A wonderful adventure that made us ready for more!

Edelweiss Bike Travel's Best of Southern France Tour
We passed through this idyllic valley on the ride up to Col du Télégraphe.

Edelweiss Bike Travel’s Best of Southern France tour is scheduled to run in June and September of 2022 and 2023. Prices start at $6,550. Visit edelweissbike.com for more details.

The post Edelweiss Southern France Tour first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy Announces 2022 Calendar

Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy

Ready to ride a motorcycle in Italy? Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy has announced its 2022 Italian motorcycle tour calendar.

Tours for 2022 have a range from 8-12 riding days in an effort to suit everyone’s wish to ride the best scenic Italian roads, visiting destinations like the Amalfi Coast, the Alps, the Dolomites, Tuscany, Chianti, Sardinia, and Corsica, as well as riding a Ducati Panigale on a MotoGP circuit or watching the MotoGP race at Mugello and Misano.

Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy

So, whether you crave twisting country roads, historical destinations, spectacular views of the mountains and the Mediterranean, or 4-star hospitality, there is a tour for you!

Tours are led by Enrico Grassi, the owner and founder of the company, a life-long Italian motorcyclist who is excited to share his passion and knowledge of the country he loves and knows so well.

All Hear The Road motorcycle tours have been planned by Enrico in every detail. He spends the winter months in his studio, road maps spread over the desk, exploring new routes to travel down, finding out about local events, country festivals, interesting exhibitions, tasty eateries – any kind of experience that can make HTR tours more interesting and exciting.

Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy

Hear The Road Motorcycle Tours Italy provides motorcycle rental, accommodations in 3- or 4-star hotel with local flavor, luggage transportation, and transfer from and to the airport.

Tours are on BMW, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Tours run from April to October, so book soon if you plan on making this riding season the most memorable yet.

Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy also caters to those riding enthusiasts that long for a riding tour in Italy but can’t meet the calendared tour dates. Self-guided, customized and/or private tours are a popular option for individuals or groups of any size.

For more information, visit motorcycletoursitaly.com.

The post Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy Announces 2022 Calendar first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

On the Road: Newfoundland

Newfoundland Labrador welcome sign
Coastal Labrador was the next stop.

Newfoundland and Labrador, the easternmost province in Canada, fights a losing battle patching its roadways. Realizing it’s a lost cause, the province simply erects signs along the way warning “Potholes Ahead.” It’s a challenging slalom on a motorcycle, let alone in a car. I watch the suspension jolt on the van ahead carrying my wife and two teenage sons. New struts and an alignment are in order upon our return.

St. John's Harbour
Signal Hill provides a panorama of St. John’s Harbour.

This is a cautionary tale about undertaking a “family vacation” when your family is in a van while you expect to experience the freedom of tagging along on your motorcycle. My wife, Nancy, has the notion of taking a ferry across the strait to coastal Labrador on the mainland to drive the mainly gravel Trans-Labrador Highway after we’ve finished our tour of Newfoundland. I, on the other hand, have serious reservations about adventure biking on my 850-pound beast of a BMW K1200LT, now with more than 200,000 miles on it. So, we will part ways after the ferry crossing to Labrador. And soon thereafter I would learn a bit of humility from some Canadian riders.

Cape Spear
Fog shrouds a lighthouse at Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America.

Meanwhile, we have arrived on Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula after a 16-hour ocean crossing from North Sydney, Nova Scotia. We enter fog and wind on our southern loop around the peninsula by way of Trepassey Bay, common weather features in this part of the country. But conditions improve at Lord Baltimore’s Colony of Avalon, the best preserved early English colonial site in North America. Archaeologists continue to dig as we tour the area. At the nearby Tetley Tea Room by the Sea, we sample our first Newfoundland cod and wild berry treats.

Nearly 100 lighthouses once peppered the shorelines of Newfoundland and coastal Labrador, and we encounter our first ones at Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America. One, dating back to 1836, is the oldest surviving lighthouse in the province. The more modern one, erected in 1955, houses an adjacent museum. Here we learn there are 23 staffed lighthouses remaining in the area. In the distance we saw Signal Hill, our next destination.

Newfoundland's Northern Peninsula
Twilight gilds the rocky west coast of Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula.

We negotiated the downtown minefield of St. John’s to reach a better perspective of the city from Signal Hill National Historic Site. The narrow harbor entrance drove many a sailing ship to peril. A colorful regiment of signal corps were practicing for their daily tattoo in front of Cabot Tower, a sandstone Gothic Revival structure begun in 1898 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Italian John Cabot’s discovery of Newfoundland and the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s reign. Marconi received the first wireless transatlantic transmission here in 1901.

Canadian Signal Corps regiment at Cabot Tower
The Canadian Signal Corps regiment practices at Cabot Tower on Signal Hill.
Iceberg in Smith's Harbour
Icebergs like this one in Smith’s Harbour on the Baie Verte Peninsula float into coves and inlets aided by the wind and tide.

Nancy wanted to explore downtown St. John’s, while I desired to escape Newfoundland’s capital and largest city. Changed my mind at lunch in a rathskeller dive where we were served outstanding cod burgers and I discovered Iceberg Beer. St. John’s Quidi Vidi Brewery claims it is enhanced by pure 20,000-year-old iceberg water. I detect crispness in this pale lager that similar brews lack. Our two boys, both crew rowers, were excited to find out from our friendly waitress that the Royal St. John’s Regatta is North America’s oldest continuing sporting event. That’s appropriate, since St. John’s is the oldest English-founded city on the continent.

Port au Choix on the Gulf of St. Lawrence
Crab pots and trawlers stand ready at Port au Choix along the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Trans-Canada Highway leads us inland through the Eastern Region. Insidious longitudinal potholes jar the unwary. Canadians whoosh by, heedless of the hazard. My shocks are taking a beating, and they were leaking even before this trip. We set up camp at Notre Dame Provincial Park in the Central Region, and I take to the van for exploration around Twillingate. At Boyd’s Cove, we visit the Beothuk Interpretation Centre to learn about the extinct native inhabitants of Newfoundland.

In a tiny outpost called Clarke’s Head, I backed the van into a local’s vehicle at a gas station. “See what trouble I get into when I’m off the bike?” I say to my wife. The Newfoundlander was almost apologetic for being in my way, and we parted in friendly fashion. I can’t imagine that happening back in New York.

Iceberg Alley
Iceberg Alley extends into the harbor at St. Anthony on the tip of the Northern Peninsula.

I mounted the bike for our next excursion up the Baie Verte Peninsula. The 50-foot skeleton of a humpback whale was worth scrutinizing at King’s Point. On the way to the tip of the peninsula at Fleur de Lys, we diverted to Smith’s Harbour, having learned that a huge iceberg had settled there. Indeed it had, and a picture perfect little place it was. These bergs drift off from the Labrador Current into nearby harbors, bays, and coves brought here by the wind and tide.

Back in the town of Baie Verte we learned about the peninsula’s rich mining history. Indeed, we passed a huge abandoned asbestos mine on the way to Fleur de Lys, where soapstone was quarried by the Dorset Paleo-Eskimo some 1,600 years ago. After reaching the end of the road, we were about to turn around when a pickup raced up and blocked our way.

Humpback whale breaches in St. Anthony Harbour
A humpback whale breaches in St. Anthony Harbour on the Northern Peninsula.

The driver turned out to be a friendly local resident who noticed our New York license plates and wanted to chat. Encounters like this were common for us throughout Newfoundland.

So far, our progress was slow. Stopping frequently and visiting the numerous outport villages didn’t accumulate the mileage. Many were the dead-end roads we explored. I reviewed my mileage log once we were in the Western Region: 70 miles one day, 105 miles the next, followed by 90 miles, 62 miles, then zero, zero. Aaaughh!

Seal on an ice floe
A seal basks on an ice floe.

I finally rode a 200-mile day from Baie Verte to Trout River campground in Gros Morne National Park. This area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site defined by ancient up-thrust landscape forming the tip of the Appalachian Mountains. The Tablelands region exposes examples of the earth’s mantle. Glaciers carved out a fjord at Western Brook Pond, where we took a boat ride beneath 2,000-foot cliffs. Ice fields cling to crags, offering summer habitat to the caribou and puffins.

If there was a central point to this wilderness, it would be picturesque Rocky Harbour, sheltered by a lighthouse promontory and twin Appalachian ridges dipping into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Gros Morne Wildlife Museum in town is worth a look. The Ocean View Hotel displays unique local artwork and hosts the Anchor Pub, where one can be “screeched in” as an official Newfoundlander. The boys were greatly disappointed they weren’t allowed to drink the rum and kiss a codfish. Earl’s restaurant offered moose burgers, moose soup, moose pizza, and any other variety you’d like. We left sated.

Norsemen sign
Norsemen landed here in 1,000 A.D.

I gave the BMW free reign on Route 430 up the western coast of the Northern Peninsula, a smooth-surfaced road flowing alongside the Gulf of St. Lawrence, with the Long Range Mountains framing the eastern horizon. Felt like being back on Highway 1 in California. This is the Viking Route that would lead us to the first established European settlement in North America at the very tip of the Northern Peninsula. It also has the largest density of moose on the continent, and we had already seen several.

We had fun interacting with interpreters at L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, location of the Viking presence here in 1,000 A.D. We walked through a reconstructed encampment of turf-walled longhouses while re-enactors stayed in character demonstrating the daily life of the Norsemen. Our tour continued at nearby Norstead, a living history site of additional costumed interpreters and a fully replicated Viking ship.

Viking village at L'Anse aux Meadows
Reconstructed sod huts replicate the Viking village as it would have appeared 1,000 years ago at L’Anse aux Meadows.

We hit paydirt in St. Anthony, viewing a harbor filled with icebergs. A boat tour brought us up close to these ice cathedrals. A humpback whale breached for us several times. A pod of minkes came alongside the boat. A seal reclined upon his private ice floe. We absorbed the opportunity, because two days later the icebergs had broken up, which can happen quickly we were told. By mid-July any icebergs become a rare sight.

A ferry took us across the Strait of Belle Isle to coastal Labrador. A 50-mile ride brought me along the strait and over the mountains to Red Bay, a 16th-century Basque whaling port. Red Bay also offers access to the Trans-Labrador Highway, and this is where my family and I parted company. I had reservations aboard a supply ship that routinely sails upstream to replenish harbor towns with no connecting roads along the Quebec coast.

L'Anse Amour welcome sign
Around the promontory in the background of this coastal Labrador village rises Canada’s second tallest lighthouse and an ideal spot for whale watching.

I returned to the ferry landing at Blanc-Sablon, Quebec, and lined up with other motorcyclists early on a rainy morning. The bikes were loaded two to a container, tied down, and hoisted by a mammoth boom crane into the vessel. Two Honda ST1300 riders humbled me because they had just completed the Trans-Labrador trek. We would disembark where the road begins anew in Natashquan. Or so we thought.

Circumstances changed upon reaching the village prior to Natashquan hours behind schedule. We all had reserved respective B&B inns in Natashquan, where we wouldn’t arrive now until the wee hours of the morning. We learned there was indeed a 20-mile road from the village to Natashquan, but it was all gravel. Nonetheless, all riders, except me, decided they would disembark here and risk the unfamiliar road in the midnight blackness.

Motorcycle supply ship
Riders lined up for loading into the supply ship heading up the Gulf of St. Lawrence and coastal Quebec.

Now, I’ve ridden my share of gravel roads, I told them. Even did the 1,200 miles of Alaska Highway when it was unpaved. But I was much younger and more fearless. My concern today was dropping my precious K1200LT, resulting in thousands of dollars in cosmetic damage. But my bike shared a container with one of theirs, and all looked askance at my weak rationalization. To regain self-respect, I agreed to accompany them.

It turned out to be the most anxiety-inducing 20-mile ride of my life. Inky blackness and bunched gravel had me plowing from one side of the road to the other, trying to find a tractable groove. It didn’t help that I was reluctant to get the speed up. One of the Canadians on his Kawasaki Tengai remained behind me for assurance, urging me to stand on the pegs and go faster, while the rest shot ahead. Such humiliation, I thought. When we finally caught up, the group was parked at a pullout on the outskirts of town.

Harrington Harbour was one of our supply ship’s many stops to replenish ports along coastal Quebec not connected by any roads.

“How’d he do?” asked one of his Canadian co-riders.

After a slight pause and a sly smile directed at me, he replied, “Slow, but steady.”

And with that turn of phrase, my newfound Canadian friend preserved my dignity, eliciting congratulatory backslapping and an acknowledgment of a successful ride all-around by the French-Canadians in a language universally understood.

The next day, while imagining my wife and boys bouncing along the rutted Trans-Labrador – views blocked by boreal forest and swatting at clouds of black flies – I rode 390 blissful miles of coastal Quebec. Open-road freedom never felt so good.

The post On the Road: Newfoundland first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Rider Magazine Best of Greece Tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel

Rider Magazine Best of Greece Tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel

Greece has always been on our motorcycle bucket list. According to Rainer Buck, Managing Director of Edelweiss Bike Travel, Greece is one of his top 3 riding destinations in the world. He says it’s “like a mountain range was dropped into the sea.” Join us for the Rider Magazine Best of Greece Tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel, a 14-day tour scheduled for May 15-28, 2022.

Information about the tour is included below, and a special booking page is accessible HERE. Pricing starts at $7,190 per person.

And you can book without worry — if things change, you can rebook or get a refund. See the Edelweiss coronavirus policy for more information.

Rider Magazine Best of Greece Tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel

Ancient Greece is the cradle of our civilization, our culture and society. Countless words that we use every day are derived from Greek, such as car, cosmos, democracy, atmosphere, politics, telephone, anesthesia and panorama, to name just a few. The ancient Greeks not only influenced science, art and literature, they practically invented them.

Athens, the capital, is filled with history, monuments and memorials like no other city in the world. Except Rome maybe, but this is a different tour. On this tour here you will experience some of the great attractions of Greece, such as Delphi, Olympia and the Meteora monasteries. But also gems, that not every traveler will find, are on the program, such as the Pindos Mountains or the enchanting mountain village Vytina, where we will even spend two nights.

In the 14 days you will get to know everything that defines real Greece: 3,000 years of culture, stunning nature, excellent food and extremely friendly people, not to mention the always beautiful weather and the wonderfully winding, mostly empty and always panoramic roads who really enjoy riding a motorcycle. And every time you sit in a kafenion and enjoy your espresso, you can look forward to being on tour in a paradise like Greece. If the ancient Greeks only knew …

Rider Magazine Best of Greece Tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel
  • START/FINISH: Athens
  • DURATION: 14 days vacation, 12 riding days
  • ROUTE: Total distance: 1,473-1,832 miles; Daily distances: 90-348 km, 56-216 miles
  • REST DAYS: Metsovo, Vytina, Agios Stefanos
  • HIGHLIGHTS: unique evidence of high Greek culture such as Delphi, Olympia or the amphitheater of Epidaurus, Athens with its inexhaustible culture and history, the dizzying Meteora monasteries built on high cliffs, the super bridge over the Gulf of Corinth, the beautiful island of Lefkada
  • MINIMUM NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 6 (Please note paragraph 4.2. a) of our terms and conditions of travel to find out more about the cancellation of tour through Edelweiss Bike Travel when the minimum number of participants is not reached – Terms and Conditions)
  • FOR MORE INFORMATION: Visit the “Best of Greece” tour page
  • SPECIAL RIDER MAGAZINE TOUR BOOKING LINK: https://www.edelweissbike.com/ridermagazinegreece
  • COVID-19 POLICY: https://www.edelweissbike.com/en/coronavirus
  • Read our past reviews of Edelweiss Bike Travel tours:

The post Rider Magazine Best of Greece Tour with Edelweiss Bike Travel first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com