Tag Archives: International

Adriatic Moto Tours Celebrates 20 Years

Adriatic Moto Tours
Adriatic Moto Tours is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Company founders and owners Matej and Martina Malovrh are shown in the front row on the far left.

In a milestone year when the American Motorcyclist Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary and Rider is celebrating its 50th, our friends at Adriatic Moto Tours are celebrating 20 years of providing unique motorcycle tours in Europe.

“It all began 20 years ago in a home garage in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, with two motorcycles and three enthusiastic individuals: Matej and Martina Malovrh, along with their good friend, Blaz Zganjar, all of whom are still deeply involved in running the company,” according to a retrospective blog on Adriatic Moto Tours’ website. “Matej had a vision of attracting foreign riders to our neck of the woods, and Blaz and Martina joined him in pursuit of that vision. At that time, very few foreigners knew where Slovenia was, yet we succeeded in attracting a few enthusiastic riders from overseas within the first year. Our primary marketing tool was a $50 webpage.” (You can read the full story on AMT’s website.)

Adriatic Moto Tours
Adriatic Moto Tours: Alps Adriatic Adventure

The company was founded in 2004 as SMTours (for Slovenia Moto Tours), and started with two BMWs, an F 650 GS and an R 1200 GS. The first tour explored Slovenia and Croatia and had three guests from Florida. In 2005, the same year Matej and Martina got married, the company did five guided tours. Tour offerings expanded into other countries, and in 2007 the company’s name became Adriatic Moto Tours. 

Through hard work, dedication, and passion, Adriatic Moto Tours grew steadily over the years, adding more bikes to its fleet, more tours to its catalog, and more tour guides, van drivers, and support personnel to its team.

Adriatic Moto Tours
The Adriatic Moto Tours team.

Adriatic Moto Tours now offers 22 unique guided tours in various regions of Europe, including the Adriatic Coast and the Balkans, the Alps, Central Europe, the Mediterranean, and – starting in 2024 – Scandinavia, with a new tour of Norway. AMT also offers self-guided tours, custom tours, and motorcycle rentals from its base in Ljubljana.

Adriatic Moto Tours
Adriatic Moto Tours: Beautiful Balkans Adventure

Adriatic Moto Tours: Reviews

Rider staffers and contributors have reviewed seven of Adriatic Moto Tours’ guided tours, and you can read their reports below.

  • Beautiful Balkans Adventure, reviewed by Greg Drevenstedt. This 15-day tour explorers the mountains and coast in Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Hercegovina, and includes rest days in Sarajevo and Dubrovnik.
  • Czech Hungary Tour, reviewed by Bill Stermer. This 15-day tour explores Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, and Austria and includes rest days in Budapest, Krakow, and Prague.
  • Adriatic Riviera Tour, reviewed by Jenny Smith. This 9-day tour explores the mountains and coast in Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Hercegovina, and includes a rest day in Dubrovnik.
Adriatic Moto Tours
Adriatic Moto Tours: Intriguing Southeast Europe
  • Intriguing Southeast Europe, reviewed by Jenny Smith. This unique 15-day tour explores countries that aren’t on most travelers’ radar, including Bulgaria, Serbia, Albania, and North Macedonia.
  • Romania to Istanbul Adventure, reviewed by Jim Horton. This 16-day tour explores Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania, including the world-famous Transfagarasan Road and Transalpina in the Carpathian Mountains.
  • Sardinia & Corsica – Riders’ Heaven, reviewed by Scott A. Williams. This 9-day tour explores two Mediterranean islands – one that’s part of France, the other that’s part of Italy – that offer world-class curves and scenery.
  • Western Alps Adventure, reviewed by Greg Drevenstedt. This 9-day tour explores high alpine passes and charming villages in Italy, Switzerland, and France.
Adriatic Moto Tours
Adriatic Moto Tours: Western Alps Adventure

Adriatic Moto Tours: Other Notable Tours

  • Alps Adriatic Adventure, a 15-day tour that explores the Adriatic coast and the Alps in Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and Italy.
  • Tuscany Sardinia Corsica Tour, a 16-day tour that explores the vibrant Tuscany region of Italy as well as the Mediterranean islands of Sardinia and Corsica.
  • South of Rome and Sicily, a 15-day tour that explores southern Italy and the island of Sicily.
Adriatic Moto Tours
Adriatic Moto Tours: South of Rome and Sicily Tour

Everyone at Rider congratulates Matej, Martina, and the entire Adriatic Moto Tours on a successful first 20 years. We can’t wait to see what you have in store for the next 20!

To find out more about Adriatic Moto Tours, visit their website.

The post Adriatic Moto Tours Celebrates 20 Years appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Join Rider EIC Greg Drevenstedt on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
Ride this road in the Atlas Mountains on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour.

Ready to visit the exotic bazaars of Fez and Marrakech? Ride a camel on the dunes of the Sahara Desert? Ride the best roads in Morocco, including the Atlas and Rif mountains? Join Rider Editor-in-Chief Greg Drevenstedt and his brother, Paul, on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour, October 12-21, 2024.

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
Rider Editor-in-Chief Greg Drevenstedt (right) and his brother, Paul, will be on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour. Paul’s son, Felix, hopes his dad brings him home a fez from Fez!

This 10-day tour includes all the sights you always dreamed of visiting in Morocco. This route is for seasoned riders who want to enjoy rolling green hills, the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, and the mysterious sand dunes of the Sahara Desert all on well-maintained paved roads. You’ll explore casbahs, see oases, and have opportunities to buy hand-made rugs, drink mint tea, and ride a camel! In the evenings you’ll dine on delicious Moroccan cuisine like couscous and tagine.

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
Make friends with locals on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour.

The tour starts and ends in Málaga, Spain, where you’ll spend nights to kick off and conclude the tour. To get to Morocco, you’ll ride along the southern coast of Spain and take a ferry across the Mediterranean Sea.

The IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour is an authentic experience that will leave a lasting impression on you. There is limited space on this tour, so sign up now!

Register for the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
The IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour route covers 1,400 miles on well-maintained paved roads. Rest days are in Fez and Erfoud.

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour Facts

  • Start / End: Málaga, Spain
  • Total Distance: 1,432 miles / 2,306 km
  • Daily Mileage: 160-220 miles / 250-350 km
  • Riding Season: Autumn
  • Total Time: 10 days
  • Riding Days: 9 days
  • Rest Days: 2 (Erfoud, Fez)
  • Breakfast: 9 included breakfasts
  • Dinners: 7 included dinners
  • Hotel Overnights: 9 nights
  • Highlights: Marrakech Djemaa el Fna Square, riding a camel in the Sahara Desert sand dunes, Fez medina tour, Atlas Mountains
  • Accommodations: First-class 4- and 5-star hotels plus some Moroccan riads (palace homes converted into exotic boutique hotels). All IMTBike lodgings are hand-picked for their quality of service, local charm, and strategic locations.
IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
You’ll enjoy exotic north African scenery on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour.

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour Daily Itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival at Málaga
  • Day 2: Malaga – Rabat
  • Day 3: Rabat – Marrakech
  • Day 4: Marrakech – Ouarzazate
  • Day 5: Ouarzazate – Todra Canyon – Erfoud
  • Day 6: Erfoud rest day
  • Day 7: Erfoud – Fez
  • Day 8: Fez rest day
  • Day 9: Fez – Ceuta
  • Day 10: Ceuta – Málaga / Flight home

Read detailed daily itinerary for the Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
You’ll enjoy a Fez medina tour on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour.

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour Pricing

Base Price: €3,910 (approx. $USD 4,242)

The base price of every tour is calculated for a single rider on a BMW G 310 R and sharing a double room. Passengers, single-room occupancy, and other BMW models incur additional charges.

Related: IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour Review

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
You’ll ride through the high-walled Todra Canyon on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour.

Included in Tour:

  • Airport pickup on the first day of the tour
  • Overnight accommodations in carefully selected 4- and 5-star hotels and boutique riads
  • A delicious evening meal featuring Moroccan specialties
  • Complete buffet breakfast every morning
  • New model BMW motorcycle fully equipped with three BMW cases
  • Tour handbook (normally about 70 pages – very comprehensive) and highlighted map
  • Expert multilingual guide on a motorcycle
  • Multilingual guide in support vehicle which will carry your luggage, any oversized purchases you make, or even a passenger or two
  • Tour souvenirs

Related: IMTBike Essence of Northern Spain Tour Review

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
One of the rest days on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour is in Erfoud, the gateway to the Sahara Desert and the staging location for many desert rally race teams.

Not Included in Tour:

  • Air ticket
  • Lunches
  • Gasoline
  • Drinks
  • Tolls
  • Personal spending
  • Tips

Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Come ride with and get to know Rider Editor-in-Chief Greg Drevenstedt and his brother, Paul, who will be on the tour from beginning to end! Space is limited, so click on the link below to sign up for the tour.

Register for the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour

IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
This could be you on the Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour!
IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
Choose from a wide range of BMW motorcycles on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour. The entire 1,400-mile route is on well-maintained paved roads.
IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour
Ride a camel over the sand dunes of the Sahara Desert on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour.

The post Join Rider EIC Greg Drevenstedt on the IMTBike Morocco Adventure Motorcycle Tour appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Join Rider Magazine on Edelweiss Grand Alps Tour

Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour
The Alps are world-famous for their endless curving roads and motorcycle-friendly culture. The Edelweiss Grand Alps Tour will allow you to experience the best of them.

Take a motorcycle trip of a lifetime with us on the Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour. Join Rider contributing photographer Kevin Wing on this 15-day tour through Austria, Switzerland, France, and Italy. The Alps have some of the best motorcycle roads in the world, and this tour has been carefully created to include beautiful scenery, overnight stays at charming alpine villages and towns, hundreds of hairpin bends, and some of the highest passes in the Alps.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour village
Old-world architecture and charming villages are some of the many highlights of this tour.

The tour starts in the town of Seefeld in Austria’s state of Tyrol, then heads through Austria, stopping one night in the village of Galtür, and then into Switzerland, with a stop in Andermatt, a village in the Swiss Alps. The tour travels west through Switzerland and into France at Chamonix, a town at the foot of the famous 12,000-feet Aiguille du Midi. In France, the tour circumnavigates the snow-covered mountain of Montblanc with a stop in Briançon, the highest city in France and the second highest in Europe.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour Kevin Wing
Professional photographer and long-time Rider contributor Kevin Wing will be on this tour July 21 to Aug. 3.

After France, you’ll head into Italy with stops in Aosta, Lago Maggiore, Livigno, and Collalbo. The tour spends a rest day in Collalbo in the Dolomites before passing back into Austria to the skiing town of Kaprun. After 15 days of some of the best riding in Europe, the tour concludes back in Seefeld.

Related: Edelweiss Bike Travel ‘Southern Italy Delights and Twisties’ Tour Review

Included in the price of the tour are all overnight stops at comfortable middle-class hotels, breakfast every day, two picnics, 11 dinners, motorcycle rental, third-party liability insurance, a tour information package, tour guides, and a support van for luggage.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Grand Alps Tour lake
You’ll enjoy scenery like this day after day.

Motorcycle rentals available include models from BMW, Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, KTM, Suzuki, and Triumph, and pricing for the tour starts at $7,670 for a rider in a double room. Optional upgrades include certain motorcycle models, a single room for $960, the Alps Prep Course for $470, and the Guided City Tour for $460.

Join us on the Edelweiss Grand Alps Tour from July 21 to Aug. 3, 2024. For those who can’t make the first dates, this tour will run again from Sept. 14 to 28. For more information and to reserve your spot on this tour, visit the Edelweiss Bike Travel website.

The post Join Rider Magazine on Edelweiss Grand Alps Tour appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Edelweiss Bike Travel ‘Southern Italy Delights and Twisties’ Tour Review

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Gran Sasso Corno Grande
The Edelweiss Bike Travel “Southern Italy Delights and Twisties” tour took us through Gran Sasso (Big Rock) with Corno Grande, the Appenines’ tallest mountain, stealing the show.

Lying in bed in our darkened hotel room in Morano Calabro, I could hear the loud laughter and music outside. Beneath my open window on the ancient cobblestone walkway of Villa San Domenico, Robin, Shiva, and my wife, Amy, were laughing, singing, and dancing together. Total strangers just a few days earlier, they were now living it up well into the night, despite spending a long day on motorcycles. I had retreated to the room earlier in the evening to jot down my day’s notes and sneak in some much‑­needed rest. But instead, I was laying there smiling, soaking in the joy these people had found in each other’s company. I suppose the multiple rounds of Aperol spritz helped a bit too. 

We were approaching the final days of the Edelweiss Bike Travel “Unknown Italy: Secrets of the Appenines” tour, a new 10‑­day expedition added to the company’s portfolio (starting in 2024, the name of the tour has been changed to “Southern Italy Delights & Twisties”). Starting in Florence in the exquisite Tuscany region, the route traced the Appenines (Appa‑­NEENS), the mountainous spine of Italy stretching more than 800 miles down the center of the country. The tour introduced us to the largely unfamiliar mountainous areas situated between the country’s better known eastern and western shores and cities, revealing secrets of the interior regions, which have been there since the beginning of human civilization yet are still largely unknown to tourists. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour

Related: Edelweiss Bike Travel Releases 2024/25 Tour Brochure

Some of these secrets included wonderfully diverse landscapes that transitioned from rugged stone mountains to soft rolling hills and vast plateaus. We experienced deliciously nuanced foods, each homemade and unique to a region’s own crops, creatures, catches, and culture, and we met delightfully distinct people who welcomed us and were genuinely interested in hearing our stories as well as sharing their own (since these aren’t big tourist areas, the residents were eager to engage, even when language was a barrier). 

Although there is a wide socioeconomic range throughout the country, when it comes to beauty, character, history, fascinating people, and utterly amazing food, Italy is rich in every region (we rode through seven out of 20 of them). And while each is impressive on its own, the differences make the entirety even more interesting, more appealing, and infinitely sensational. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
Delicious curves (and food!) are endless on this tour.

Our tour participants were equally diverse and sensational, with folks converging from Turkey, South Africa, Colombia, and all over the U.S. The tour was led by Edelweiss’s energetic and tremendously knowledgeable Domenico, a native Italian and proud son of the city of Naples. He was eager for this fresh opportunity to share the cultural riches and splendid roads of his beloved country, with support from his equally upbeat and capable guides, Michael and Nicolas (aka “Nico”). At one point during a casual group gathering, I stepped back and just listened to the unusual blend of Italian, German, Turkish, Spanish, and a mix of South African and American English dialects as these foreign individuals found common ground and began to seamlessly meld into one harmonious group. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
Yours Trowly, Dane, Domenico, and Graham yuk it up in Amalfi.

Out on the road, we were all moved by what we saw and awestruck by the continually evolving experience as we rode higher and higher into the remotest parts of the Appenine mountains, away from the bustling cities and out to where cows, horses, sheep, and dogs outnumber residents. With so few restaurant options in these isolated parts, the Edelweiss Bike Travel team even assembled an impromptu open‑­air picnic lunch one day amidst the remote hills. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
Italy’s history has deep roots, and photo ops are endless throughout the Appenines.

At one point, we saddled up for a spectacular ride into “spaghetti Western” movie country (any Bud Spencer fans out there?) and on through the hills to the Grand Sasso, the jagged “big rock” that marks the highest point of the Appenines. 

The diversity continued to unfold as more secrets of the Appenines were revealed, one turn after another. We rode deeper into the wilds of the Abruzzo National Park, tracing the meandering contours of the mountains. The scenery evolved dramatically from craggy rock faces to rolling mountain hills to wide open valleys (think Yellowstone) and then into thick, mature pine forests that are home to deer, bear, fox, and other wildlife. A ride along the shores of several tranquil rivers and lakes was thrown in for good measure. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
It seemed every kilometer presented an entirely new and different landscape.

Eventually, as we turned westward, tall mushroom‑­shaped evergreens known as “umbrella pines” indicated we were getting closer to the coast. Sure enough, after countless delicious turns through the hills, the scene opened to reveal the vast Tyrrhenian Sea. 

Related: Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour Review

The Alps were millions of years old before the Apennines rose from the sea. But when they did, they did so with gusto, jutting straight out of the water. Along these coastlines, you won’t find long sweeping sand beaches. Instead, the rock face of the mountain shoots nearly straight for the heavens. And a heavenly sight it is. A plaque at the gateway to Amalfi reads something to the effect of: “When you go to heaven, you will have already been there.” 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Polignano a Mare
Built upon the cliffs, the city of Polignano a Mare provides breathtaking views of the crystal blue waters of the Adriatic, drawing sunbathers, swimmers, divers, and motorcyclists to the area.

Contrasting with the quiet, empty backroads was the autostrada to Naples and the mad downtown traffic of a city of 3 million people. Cars, bikes, scooters, and buses battled for the same piece of roadway, each insisting on advancing as quickly as possible, while chic passengers of scooterists nonchalantly perused their smartphones amidst all the chaos and seemingly endless near‑­misses. In motorcycling’s version of a rude shove into the deep end of the pool, riding in this environment can initially be quite shocking. Eventually, it becomes somewhat normalized and manageable, although certainly out of the ordinary for most American riders. The Turkish contingent on this particular Edelweiss Bike Travel tour thought nothing of it – in fact, it may have even been a bit milder than what they were accustomed to back home. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Sulmona
We stopped for lunch in Sulmona, birthplace of Roman poet Ovid.

Just as we became adept at dodging and passing other vehicles in tight spaces, it was back into the open country, where we moved from the Tyrrhenian Sea at the instep of Italy’s boot, tickled the arch at the Ionian Sea, and worked eastward through farm country toward the Adriatic Sea at the boot’s heel. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Apulio
Riding through the agricultural Apulio region.

Our lodging and dining experiences were every bit as diverse, with no two days the same. 

We settled into a spectacularly restored 15th century castle, now a first‑­class hotel with a beautiful view overlooking its gardens and the city of Perugia. The views would be inspiration even for the Masters’ canvases.  

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Castello di Monterone
Castello di Monterone in Perugia is a 15th century castle restored as a premium hotel. Its accommodations and grounds make visitors feel like royalty.

In sharp contrast to the luxurious castle in Perugia, we stayed two nights in the tiny remote medieval village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio. Once an abandoned 15th century hill town left largely in ruins, it has been brought back to life as a distinctive retreat. The village’s buildings and former residences now form the highly unique Sextantio, an “extended hotel.” With the lodging modernized just enough for comfort and convenience, the space preserves much of the original medieval ambiance. It’s an incomparable experience.  

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Morano Calabro
We stayed at the beautiful Villa San Domenico in Morano Calabro.

We also maneuvered the bikes up narrow, winding mountain roads to a point high above the Amalfi coast, where we stayed in a luxury hotel built on the edge of the rock face, hundreds of feet above the rocky coast. The view from the balcony of our room was spectacular, and a touch terrifying. 

Later in our journey, we enjoyed 4‑­star modern accommodations and delightful sea‑­sourced cuisine in the ancient city of Matera, where the modern civilities and businesses are mixed in among Roman Empire‑­era structures dating back to 250 B.C. that were, in turn, built upon the remains of cave dwellings that have been there since the dawn of man’s first colonization (and amazingly, were occupied until the 1950s). 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Matera
The ancient city of Matera is perhaps the oldest formal settlement in the world.

The thing that strikes me most as I consider the secrets of the Appenines and the unknowns of Italy is that it is a land of great contrasts. It’s the contrast of terrain transitioning from rolling hills to rocky cliffs and from farmlands to dense forests and then on to crystal blue seas. It’s the solitude of riding through the untouched rural hill country and then hurtling through frenzied traffic on the autostrada. It’s dodging buses, trucks, cars, and scooters on dense city streets and then dodging goats and working dogs in farmland. It’s the pure, undisturbed silence of a night in the medieval village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio juxtaposed with the roaring high tide of coastal tourists along the Amalfi coast. It’s the paradox of a thoroughly modern 4‑­star hotel and restaurant built upon a meager ancient cave city. And it’s also the riddle of 18 people from different parts of the world laughing at the same silly “dad joke,” a brand of humor that transcends international borders, as does the deep, eye‑­rolling groan in response. 

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour Lake Trasimeno
After riding to Arezzo and Cortona, where scenes from the film Under the Tuscan Sun were shot, we embarked on a breathtaking ride around Lake Trasimeno. Dane and Vicky pause to enjoy the amazing view.

Back in the Villa San Domenico in Morano Calabro, I eventually drifted off to sleep, strangely lulled by the laughter and singing of dear Amy, Robin, and Shiva in the courtyard below my window. Clearly, I slept soundly because I awoke to Amy sleeping peacefully beside me. I smiled as I thought about all the incredible things we’d already seen and experienced, and I marveled at the dynamics of this diverse group of people. With so much global unrest dominating news headlines, it has been almost surreal to find such peace on this ride. Somehow, amidst a troubled and often unfriendly world, this international group immediately restored my long‑­held but recently wavering belief that people are, by and large, good and kind. And I was reminded that although we are from disparate lands with strange native languages, we are much more alike than we are different. Perhaps that was the biggest secret revealed in the Appenines.

Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights and Twisties Tour
During our tour, strangers from around the world became a tight-knit group of friends.

The Edelweiss Bike Travel Southern Italy Delights & Twisties tour is scheduled to run four times in 2024: May 12‑­23, June 3‑­14, Sept. 28‑­Oct. 10, and Oct. 10‑­13. Prices start at $6,360 per person. For more information, visit the Edelweiss Bike Travel website.

See all of Rider‘s international touring stories here.

The post Edelweiss Bike Travel ‘Southern Italy Delights and Twisties’ Tour Review appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Rolling to the January Jam in Rocky Point, Mexico | Favorite Ride

January Jam Rocky Point Mexico
The U.S./Mexico border is a place of transitional beauty, with various types of international boundary barriers inter-secting the stunning Southwestern landscape. The January Jam was a great excuse to experience it.

January can be a cruel month for motorcyclists. Even in sunny southern climates, chilly temperatures can make extended rides an exercise in discomfort. That’s why I make an annual winter sojourn south to the land of tequila and tacos for some riding and music at the January Jam in Puerto Peñasco – or Rocky Point – Mexico.

After topping off my tank at the lone American border gas station in Lukeville, Arizona, pleasant ambient temperatures mixed comfortably with radiating heat from the cylinders of my BMW GS as I idled in the slow parade at the border crossing. Rumble strips, remote cameras, armed agents, and concrete barriers marked the intimidating border security protocol.

January Jam Rocky Point Mexico

Scan QR code above or click here to view the route on REVER

My anxiety was tempered by the knowledge that I had my ducks in a row. I had purchased my three-day Mexican motorcycle insurance, and I had my passport, registration, and license handy. The camouflaged border agent motioned for me to lift my tinted faceshield and then waved me through. Just like that, I was in hustling, bustling Sonoyta. Men rushed at cars with squeegees, women held up packages of tortillas for sale, and traffic was frenetic. 

I knew what to do in this dusty border town. I kept my head on a swivel and rode below the posted speed limit. Local police cluster by the border and on the southern fringe of town with eagle eyes for tourists who drive like they are still in the U.S. It is not a cheap ticket if you get stopped.

January Jam Rocky Point Mexico
Puerto Peñasco is full of small motorcycles and big murals.

Sonoyta has the colorful, informal vibe of most Mexican towns, but I kept riding south. While the temperature back home in Arizona was hovering in the 40s, I smiled as the reading on my dash indicated 72. Yep, just what the doctor ordered.

Related: Baja Enlightenment: Riding Mexico’s Lower California Peninsula

On Highway 8 toward Puerto Peñasco, I passed dozens of descansos (“resting places” in Spanish), memorials that are intriguing, sobering, and often quite beautiful. They range from miniature concrete shrines to thematic collages. One honored a Dallas Cowboys fan.

January Jam Rocky Point Mexico
Creative descansos line the route to Puerto Peñasco.

I also passed a sign that read “Hassle Free Vehicle Zone.” Uninformed tourists often mistake these signs to mean relaxed traffic and speed rules. Not true, my friends. They just mean fewer paperwork regulations for tourist travel.  

The road from the border to Puerto Peñasco is straight and barren, but there is something to be said for an open-throttle roll through the warm desert in the dead of winter.

January Jam Rocky Point Mexico BMW GS
My BMW GS is perfect for exploring the thriving desert environment.

At the end of this 70-mile stretch, I came upon a group of Mexican sportbikers who were chatting along the dusty roadside. The half dozen crotch-rocketeers waved and saluted as I approached. They were more than happy to pose for a photo for a lone gringo moto-tourist before pulling a group U-turn and roaring back toward the coast. 

Just as Puerto Peñasco/Rocky Point goes by both Mexican and English names, it has two distinct personalities. There is the old town itself, teeming with street vendors, rusted vehicles, and colorful buildings, exuding the character of a traditional fishing village. Street taco stands waft aromatic clouds, and small motorcycles mounted with massive transport containers serve as delivery vehicles. 

January Jam Rocky Point Mexico
A group of Mexican sportbike riders pose for the gringo tourist.

Then there is the new, mostly American-owned resort community in Sandy Beach north of town. Upscale resorts line the blue waters of the Sea of Cortez. What Sandy Beach lacks in traditional character, it replaces with comfort and safety for international tourists. 

January Jam Rocky Point Mexico Sonoran Sea Resort
The Sonoran Sea is one of the beautiful resorts on Sandy Beach.

Both locations served as staging points for my weekend’s activities during the January Jam, which is the brainchild of Roger Clyne, the charismatic front man for Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. Clyne is an entertainer with a voluminous catalog of great songs and an enthusiastic following in the Southwest and beyond. 

For the jam, Clyne assembles a lineup of accomplished musicians and invites fans to congregate in Puerto Peñasco for three days of music, golf, and general reverie. Music fills the sea air, and tequila flows, especially Clyne’s own premium spirit, Canción, fittingly named after the Spanish word for “song.” 

January Jam Rocky Point Mexico
Fantastic musical acts fill the nights during the lively January Jam festival.

There are daily and nightly concerts at Clyne’s watering hole, Banditos, as well as performances at other venues in Sandy Beach and Rocky Point. We enjoyed the familiar tunes of Clyne’s band as well as David Lowery of Cracker, the Mexican-influenced sounds of The Jons from Tucson, and the lively rock blend of Miles Neilson and the Rusted Heart.

After a weekend of sampling traditional Mexican food, listening to great music, and riding to nearby fishing villages, the time came to head back north. It was over too soon.

January Jam Favorite Ride Resources

The post Rolling to the January Jam in Rocky Point, Mexico | Favorite Ride appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

IMTBike Essence of Northern Spain Tour Review

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
Riding the ridge near Mirador de la Cardosa, Cantabria, on the IMTBike Essence of Northern Spain Tour.

The landscape of northern Spain erupted with jagged peaks and rolled along lush green hillsides. Farms folded across every nook, and waves pounded the Atlantic coast. Mile after mile of smooth, tight curves were waiting to be savored. The evidence was all around: Northern Spain is a rider’s paradise. 

This past September, I joined IMTBike’s Essence of Northern Spain Tour. Leaving the planning to the pros at IMTBike, I simply arrived with my gear in Bilbao up north in the País Vasco (Basque Country) and enjoyed the ride. Over eight days, I explored new places with new friends, and fabulous riding connected every experience. This tour strung together curvy backroads through vast open spaces, rural pastoral lands, dense forests, and stunning coasts.

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
The tour frequently visits Spain’s Atlantic Coast, like here in Colunga, Asturias.

“Essence” tours like this one are new weeklong versions of longer IMTBike tours. Riders who can only get a week off from work can now enjoy full‑­on tours of northern Spain, southern Spain, Portugal, or Morocco with a shorter time commitment.

IMTBike has been perfecting the art and science of motorcycle tours for 27 years. Initially, the focus was the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal). Today, it also offers tours of Morocco, France, Italy, and the Alps; exclusive MotoGP tours in Catalunya, Jerez, and Valencia; global tours in Turkey, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and New Zealand; and self‑­guided and custom‑­designed tours.

Related: IMTBike Sardinia and Corsica Motorcycle Tour Review

My fellow tour members came to northern Spain from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Japan, the Netherlands, and the U.S. We all love travel, adventure, and motorcycling – that’s what brought us together – and as always, I enjoyed the experience of meeting and riding with people from countries other than my own.

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain

Juanan Martin, our tour guide, has graduate degrees in history and travel journalism – perfect credentials for his role. Paulo Murteira, who drove the IMTBike support van, loves off‑­road endurance riding and was a laugh a minute! Both were excellent sources of information, assistance, and insight.

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
During a coffee break, our tour guide Juanan reviewed the next section of the day’s ride.

From IMTBike’s garage in Bilbao, Juanan led us to the Cantabrian Mountains and strings of hairpin turns. At Collados del Asón Natural Park, we paused to take in a spectacular panoramic mountain vista. That first day, we traversed five mountain passes en route to Santillana del Mar.

Our night’s lodging was a parador located on a magnificently preserved medieval town square. Paradors are historic, architecturally significant buildings such as former castles, monasteries, and manor homes. Owned by the Spanish government and operated as luxury hotels, paradors preserve these treasured buildings and keep them relevant. We stayed in three of them on this tour.

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
This parador in Asturias was formerly the Monastery of San Pedro de Villanueva.

We also grew accustomed to dinner served on Spanish time: 8 p.m. at the earliest and frequently later. Your humble scribe is a big fan of seafood, and our daily menus included locally sourced fish and other delicacies from the North Atlantic, as well as delicious meat dishes, fresh fruits and veggies, and a variety of decadent desserts. No one went hungry.

Related: Iberian Escape | IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour Review

By the second day, tour members had organically clustered into three groups of four bikes each according to their preferred pace. This unofficial order enabled everyone to ride their own ride. Juanan told me that every tour is its own living entity, with distinct personalities and group dynamics, individual rider skills, weather and seasonal factors, and more. Everyone wanted something different from their tour experience, and Juanan and Paulo were focused on delivering for us all.

Later, we had our first of numerous encounters with livestock in the road. Flat, open expanses of pastureland are uncommon in northern Spain, so cows (and occasionally horses and goats) nibble on grass wherever they find it. They seemed accustomed to the passing vehicles, so I rolled off the throttle a bit and bellowed “Moo!” before motoring past.

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
We experienced endless curves through the Cantabrian Mountains.

Spain has the highest average elevation of all western European countries except Switzerland, and the mountains we rode around, over, and sometimes through were highpoints for me. Topping my list for beauty was Picos de Europa National Park. Founded in 1918, it was Spain’s first national park. Today it’s a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and its natural beauty was wondrous to experience while carving great roads on a motorcycle.

While the mountains reminded me of the Alps, the Costa Verde (Green Coast) felt like Ireland. Okay, maybe not the palm trees. Herds of Asturian Valley cattle, the ubiquitous orange‑­colored breed raised in northern Spain, grazed on grassy hills overlooking the ocean. What a completely different scene from the brown plains of central Spain. As cows chewed greenery, surfers in wetsuits carried their boards down to the sandy beach below. Some of Europe’s most popular surfing destinations are here on Spain’s northern coast. I wondered if this convergence of cattle and surfers gave rise to the expression “Cowabunga!”

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
Love mountains? This view of Riaño, León, helps one appreciate that Spain has western Europe’s second highest average elevation.

From cliffs overlooking the coast, we headed inland, where entertaining secondary roads wound us through agrarian landscapes past the hilly farms of Asturias. The most common crop appeared to be manzanas (apples), and most homes, even those that weren’t farmhouses, had a lemon tree in the yard. I admired the resilience of farmers here: There was hardly any land you’d call flat, yet orchards were abundant, tucked into every conceivable space. Livestock grazed along the roads here too.

Though the weather in northern Spain was mostly clear, warm, and dry, we rode through a late‑­day rain shower near Oviedo, the bustling capital city of Asturias. On the last stretch to our hotel, it was useful having a guide with local knowledge and a solid plan to lead the group though wet, busy streets to the tight quarters of a downtown hotel parking garage. ¡Bien hecho, Juanan! Well done!

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
The capital of Asturias is Oviedo, a beautiful city where we enjoyed a rest day.

That evening in Oviedo, we had dinner in a sidrería (cidery), a pub‑­like establishment where locals gather to drink cider, eat, and socialize. We enjoyed multiple courses of Asturian fare, washed down with sangría de sidra (cider sangria) made from the same variety of manzanas we saw growing on trees. It was an Asturian holiday, and patrons were joyously singing, their enthusiasm enhanced by pitchers of sangria. You don’t have to visit a museum to experience culture.

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
An evening walk through Oviedo was a great way to end a riding day. I’ve never visited a prettier city.

IMTBike scheduled a rest day halfway through this tour, but there was an optional lunch run to the seaside fishing village of Cudillero. Juanan led an exhilarating backroads jaunt through dense forest with little evidence of humans. Cudillero is built into rocky cliffs overlooking the Bay of Biscay. The ascending rows of colorful houses reminded me of similar towns I’d seen in Italy. At the edge of town, waves hitting the rocky shore presented spectacular views.

That evening, I decided to explore more of Oviedo on my own while speaking only Spanish. It had been decades since I studied Spanish in school, but after a few days in Spain, the fundamentals were coming back. I managed to buy a gift for my wife and order a fish dinner, celebrating these minor triumphs with una cerveza. ¡Salud!

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
The optional ride on the rest day followed narrow roads through deep forests.

Next morning, tour members huddled for our daily riders briefing with Juanan. He emphasized the need to depart the hotel as an organized group – and stay together as we left the city. A major bicycle race called La Vuelta, Spain’s version of the Tour de France, was passing through the area that morning. Juanan explained that the racecourse overlapped our route, and unless we rode through before race organizers closed the road, we’d have to wait. Thanks to this helpful attention to detail from our tour guide, our well­organized group passed by the busy staging area for La Vuelta that morning on a still-­open road.

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
Our group enjoyed a break at Puerto de Pandetrave in León.

After coffee, our route cut through Trubia River Gorge, where steep rock cliffs reached up on either side of us. Eventually we gained elevation, riding through the clouds until we poked above them into sunshine. I love when that happens. We crossed Alto de la Corbetoria Pass and then descended in tight curves to the Lena River to enjoy a stretch of easy sweepers to La Llama. The continuous flow of a curvy river road is always special on a motorcycle, and this tour included several of them.

Returning to the Picos de Europa, we relished technical curves and climbed in elevation before a lunch stop at Puerto de San Isidro, an alpine ski resort. At midday in late summer, skiers were notably absent. As our group prepared to move on, I let Juanan know I was going to ride alone for the afternoon. In this rugged and remote region of León, I stopped whenever I wanted to marvel at views of the mountains and lakes against a crystal blue sky. Since I opted for a GPS with routes pre‑­loaded, it was no problem arriving on my own schedule (and well before dinnertime) at that night’s parador lodgings.

To build roads through northern Spain’s mountainous terrain, engineers have designed some impressive solutions. After a mid‑­morning break in Potes, we reached Collada de Carmona Pass, where our mountain descent abruptly came into view. The road went through a hole cut through the cliff. Above the road, multilayer nets of steel mesh were moored onto the cliffside to catch falling rocks and held many they had snared. Then the road twisted down the mountainside, switchback after switchback, to the valley below. The smooth tar continued, snaking through positive camber curves along a meandering river for miles as the next mountain pass grew gradually closer. Up, over, and down again, the grin never left my face. At the next stop, our group of elated riders dismounted and exchanged high‑­fives. What a run!

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
Camaleño in Cantabria provided many enjoyable sweepers.

While winding roads with dramatic views earned my top score on this tour, architecture was a notable runner‑­up. The ultra modern Guggenheim museum in Bilbao is a marvel of design, encased in a skin of titanium. In stark contrast, the Sanctuary of Loyola in Azpeitia was a grand example of Spanish baroque architecture. And with its classical civic buildings, elegant parkside homes, and captivating old town edifices, Oviedo was as pretty as any city I’ve visited.

By design, this tour put us on mostly empty roads. But on a warm, sunny afternoon in late summer, it was no surprise to encounter beach traffic along a scenic coastal route. The view of the seaside below was splendid from a gently curving road cut into the cliffside, and the tang of salt air scented every breath I took. A slower pace was fine for a bit.

IMTBike Essence on Northern Spain
Rest stops present an opportunity for riders, each riding at their own pace, to regroup. We did that here at Puerto de Pandetrave in León.

Then we found ourselves riding into the unexpected. An altered traffic pattern sent us into a congested cobblestone pedestrian zone where some kind of celebration was underway. Clearly, this wasn’t the plan. Folks were stunned by the arrival of a dozen motorcycles, but Juanan quickly calmed any concerns. The first few riders managed tight, bumpy U‑­turns, but those farther back were squeezed into an alley. Juanan pivoted several of those bikes 180 degrees on the sidestand – first time I’d seen that technique used on cobblestones – and in short order, we rode off as folks smiled and waved.

Carving more curves through the Basque Country and down the steep hills into Bilbao, our tour came to an end where it began: IMTBike’s garage. We parked our bikes one last time as Juanan poured us a cava toast. Later, over our final dinner as a group, we relived favorite moments of this exciting tour and started planning more adventures.

In 2024, the Essence of Northern Spain tour runs June 29‑­July 7 and Sept. 7‑­15. Prices start at 3,845 euros (about $4,100 USD) for a single rider on a BMW G 310 R and sharing a double room. Larger motorcycles and private rooms are optional. Not included in the tour price are air tickets, lunches, gasoline, drinks, tolls, GPS, personal spending, and tips. Learn more at the IMTBike website

See all of Rider‘s international touring stories here.

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An India Motorcycle Trip from Head to Toe

India Motorcycle Trip
Ullu rests at 14,482-foot Saach Pass in Himalayan Pir Panjal range.

It came to me in the middle of the night, as most great ideas do: I would take an India motorcycle trip, crossing from north to south. My route would take me from the mountains of Ladakh to the valleys of Kashmir, into bustling Rajasthan, over the Western Ghats, and through the wet jungles of the South – a total distance of more than 4,500 miles. I would ride “Ullu,” my 2009 Royal Enfield Machismo 350 with an ongoing tappet issue, and my budget would be only 30,000 rupees (about $360).

See all of Rider‘s Royal Enfield coverage here.

The Northern Portion of My India Motorcycle Trip:

Manali – Leh – Jammu and Kashmir – Dharamshala

The path to Ladakh is a playground of natural beauty. It is also vast, with no mechanics or petrol stations en route.

I waded through rivers that reached my waist in Nubra Valley and coasted down the 21‑­hairpin Gata Loops at breathtaking speed. I reached the moonscape‑­like peak of Wari La Pass, was snowed on at Khardung La, and raced a herd of wild horses as they thundered down More Plains. I rode through a canyon with a sparkling river running through the center and tackled the treacherous 17,586‑­foot Chang La Pass. Ladakh was a dreamscape, and the surroundings changed drastically from fresh landslides to icy lakes to the legendary dunes of Pang. As far as an India motorcycle trip was concerned, I was in paradise.

India Motorcycle Trip
In Ladakh, white-washed monasteries are perched high in the Himalayas.

The dirt road connecting Koksar to Kaza in Spiti Valley was a constant game of temporary fixes for Ullu: shoelaces through the wheel guard, a bungee cord around the exhaust pipe, and a snapped clutch lever repaired with duct tape. The terrain was a bone‑­shaking challenge from start to end, and vehicles littered the boulder‑­strewn paths in various states of breakdown.

India Motorcycle Trip
Smooth, winding tarmac on the Manali Leh highway through Ladakh’s Nubra Valley. (Photo by Haven Lane Photography – @Havensway on Instagram)

Near the border of Pakistan, I steeled myself for two dangerous passes on National Highway 26 from Kashmir between Killar, Khajjiar, and Kishtwar. Both were closing soon due to forecasted snow, and I was determined to cross them off my list. The Cliffhanger was a tricky and dramatic ride on a road carved into a sheer cliff that’s 2,000 feet above the Chenab River.

Related Story from Ellie Cooper: Himalayan Cliffhanger | Riding India’s Death Road

Saach Pass, an endurance ride through deep forest to an ice‑­slicked desolate mesa, was a mix of endless clutch control and precise handling on the downhills. With such tantalizing terrain to explore, it was difficult to leave the North, but the rest of India beckoned me.

India Motorcycle Trip
Between Killar and Kishtwar is the dreaded Cliffhanger, India’s “death road,” which is carved into the rockface 2,000 feet above the Chenab River. (Photo by John Gaisford)


Dharamshala – Amritsar – Pushkar – Jaisalmer – Jodhpur – Udaipur 

I detoured into Pushkar to learn how to build a motorbike from scratch at my friend Mukesh’s garage. I spent a week drinking chai with a team of mechanics by the roadside, sharing communal meals on the garage floor, and learning how to replace clutch plates.

Every road from Punjab to Rajasthan was long and uneventful, but I was not so lucky when I started the next leg of my India motorcycle trip.

India Motorcycle Trip
The team of mechanics at Mukesh’s (not shown) garage in Pushkar, where I spent a week learning how to build a motorbike from spare parts.

National Highway 11 toward Jaisalmer was a road of death, and the smell of various animals decomposing in the midday heat carried on the breeze. I saw mirages of great lakes that vanished as quickly as they appeared, and burnt‑­out vehicles lay overturned in the sand. The desert can be a strange place.

India Motorcycle Trip
On the bustling streets of Amritsar, Punjab, a vendor sells panipuri: deep-fried balls of dough filled with potatoes, onions, and spices.

The winter winds on the highway toyed with everyone on the road. I fought against a side wind that buffeted me back and forth with such velocity that I gasped for air under my helmet. Six high‑­speed lorries – massive trucks in formation across two lanes – were inches away from my tires. On that road, it was suicidal to be so close to the edge with pushy trucks and a bullying wind, but I had no choice. I slowed my speed but started to be sucked under the gap between their wheels as my handlebar toggled ferociously with the pressure. I clipped the edge of the sand at 30 mph and went down.

I crawled on my hands and knees toward the bike a few meters from where I had landed on the concrete and hit the kill switch. Ullu received only a broken horn and a buckled wheel. My riding gear saved me from a worse fate, but I still had a dollop of whiplash and a mild concussion.

Jaisalmer was a beautiful place to recover. Determined to see deep desert, I rode out to catch the sunset, going until my wheels sank into endless sand. Later, as I lay back on Ullu’s seat and watched billions of stars in the inky‑­black sky, I reflected on how India is not an easy place to ride, but it was worth every near‑­miss.

India Motorcycle Trip
In Jaisalmer, Ullu and a fellow beast of burden enjoy a late-day respite.

Hoping for a bit of good fortune for the remainder of my India motorcycle trip, I sought out the Bullet Baba shrine on National Highway 65. It is one of 33 million Hindu deities and represents the legend of a local man who crashed into a tree and died and whose motorcycle found its way back to the crash site alone without keys or petrol. Locals flock to the site to ask for safe passage across India’s roads and offer whiskey in return. I visited the holy bike with a bottle stuffed into my backpack.

India Motorcycle Trip
The Bullet Baba shrine in Rajasthan.

The final stop on my Rajasthan tour was Udaipur. I lazily wound through the undulating Aravalli hills of Kumbhalgarh in afternoon light and rode around the famous Rani Road at sunrise to see Rajasthan’s shining lakes. India was changing her look every few hundred miles, and I could not wait to see what the Western Ghats had to offer.

India Motorcycle Trip
Surrounding a small lake is Pushkar, one of the holiest cities in India and a pilgrimage site for many Hindus and Sikhs. This priest is on his way to a Puja ceremony, a blessing that honors gods and deceased loved ones.

Udaipur – Mumbai – Pune – Goa – Ooty – Erivikulam – Munnar 

I entered Mumbai in Western India like a child pretending to be a racer. I was in a tide of hundreds of motorcycles at rush hour, all revving their engines impatiently. Without any warning, signaling, or light change, true to their name, the Bullets sped forward, each one racing the next. On wash day, the air smelled like a bucket of soap suds, and the whole city was brightly decorated.

I headed immediately for Mahabaleshwar, a hill station with luxurious views of the stunning Sahyadri range. With less than 2 liters of petrol after the hills, I bounced along the descent on badly broken road surfaces, glad that I had reduced the air in my tires. I sputtered into Goa on Christmas Day through a blanket of freezing sea mist. My present to my trusty steed was a full service and a week off.

India Motorcycle Trip
Playing in the snow at Khardung La, a 17,582-foot pass.

The roads into Munnar are on every Indian traveler’s bucket list. I chose to ride through five national parks, relishing the gorgeous blue Nilgiri hills on all sides. In beautiful Ooty, I raced down 36 consecutive hairpins on the addictive downhills of the accident‑­prone Kalhatty Road. At one time, tourists were not permitted to ride it due to the complexity and danger of the epic turns.

I reached Munnar, where the oscillating route was full of seemingly endless tight corners and fast bends. It was some of the most perfect motorcycle riding I had ever experienced. Tea leaves were draped over the hills in a lime green patchwork quilt, knitted with care by whichever gods had imagined such a place.

Related: Ellie Cooper | Ep. 67 Rider Magazine Insider Podcast

The Western Ghats:

Munnar – Idukki – Kanyakumari

I dawdled through the coconut plantations of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, fingering the meager rupees left in my pocket and wondering if I would make it to the end. I was almost there, and it was probably because of the heat and fatigue at this point that I began to make mistakes. 

I took a wrong turn and had to explain to a very confused ranger why I was riding illegally in a tiger reserve. Ullu’s ignition cable suddenly came loose in the middle of the jungle, but again I was fortunate; a local reattached it with his teeth for free. Another time, I stopped to admire the view and carelessly knocked my bike keys into a pile of rubbish many feet down, and the whole village came running to help. Eventually, a tiny man with a hooked stick five times as long as he was tall came running to the rescue, grinning from ear to ear.

India Motorcycle Trip
Near the end of the journey, Ellie and Ullu rode through coconut plantations in Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state in India.

It hit me hard when I got to Kerala and saw the sign for Kanyakumari – the city at the southernmost tip of India – that my journey would soon end. Little moments of the trip replayed in my mind, from the icy dreamland of the Himalayas to brightly decorated Rajasthan to the sublime colors of the South. 

At the end of my India motorcycle trip, I sat atop Ullu and patted her tank, watching the sight I had been waiting for: the sun setting into the Arabian Sea. The next morning, sitting at the same spot, I watched the sun rise over the Bay of Bengal to the east.

India Motorcycle Trip
The author and “Ullu,” her Royal Enfield, at Kanyakumari on the southern tip of mainland India, where the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Indian Ocean meet.

Indian roads are a complex machine that operates on courage and trust, and I now understand the absurdity of them in their confusion and chaos. I learned that every breakdown is a chance for a new connection with a stranger; that many bike issues can be fixed with tin cans, rubber bands, or a mouthful of petrol; and that no matter how long the journey might take, there is always time for another chai.

See all of Rider‘s International Touring stories here.

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IMTBike 2024 Tour Calendar Now Available

IMTBike 2024 tour calendar

IMTBike Motorcycle Tours has published its full 2024 calendar. Destinations include Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, the Alps, and Morocco along with MotoGP tours and global tours in Turkey, Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam. Check out the IMTBike 2024 tour calendar for dates, details, and pricing. Sign up now to lock in IMTBike’s current prices.

Related: Iberian Escape | IMTBike Southern Spain Andalusia Tour Review

IMTBike 2024 tour calendar

Many of IMTBike’s tours have new improved routing for 2024, and the company’s fleet of more than 200 BMW motorcycles will be updated with the latest 2024 models. Established in 1997, IMTBike has been conducting motorcycle tours for 26 years, and it has not only extensive experience but a reputation for high-quality tours. Check out the IMTBike testimonials page to find out what many satisfied clients have to say.

Related: Rider Podcast with Scott Moreno, Founder and CEO of IMTBike

For more information, visit the IMTBike website.

IMTBike 2024 tour calendar

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Source: RiderMagazine.com

Adriatic Moto Tours’ Western Alps Adventure Review

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure Combe Laval
As part of the Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure, we rode on Combe Laval, a “balcony” road carved into the limestone cliffs in the French Alps that is not for the faint of heart.

What do Evian spring water, Gruyère cheese, and St. Bernard dogs have in common? Prior to going on the Western Alps Adventure with Adriatic Moto Tours, I didn’t have a clue. But on the seven-day motorcycle tour through Italy, Switzerland, and France this past July, we got to visit the places where these things originated.

No one goes to the Alps – especially not motorcyclists – for overpriced bottled water, strong cheese, or big slobbering dogs. We go for the roads, particularly the winding sort that rise and fall as they crest passes where the air is ethereal and the sky is so blue it looks like a backdoor to heaven.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure
“The hills are alive with the sound of motorcycles!”

We go to lose ourselves in wonder, to have our heads in the clouds – literally and figuratively – as we take in heart-achingly beautiful vistas and admire peaks and valleys worth fighting wars over.

But, ugh, planning a motorcycle trip through the Alps is such a pain. How will you rent a bike? What route should you take? Where should you stay? Where should you eat? And what’s French for “I’ll have another large beer, please”?

Instead, I rely on the experts, the folks who have scouted the routes, the hotels, and the restaurants. It’s all new to me anyway, so I’ll take a curated, stress-free experience over being my own bumbling tour guide any day.

Related: Endless Curves | Adriatic Moto Tours Sardinia and Corsica Tour Review

I flew into Milan, Italy, a day early to get acclimated. Coincidentally, I arrived on the same flight as Jim, an attorney from Seattle who’s a veteran of more than a dozen tours with Adriatic Moto Tours.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure
The Western Alps Adventure route

After checking into our hotel, a former royal villa built in the early 1900s that now has modern air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant, and a lovely pool, Jim and I took the train into Milan to visit the Duomo, one of the largest cathedrals in the world.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure Duomo Milan Italy
Talk about delayed gratification – construction of the Duomo in Milan took 579 years! The rooftop walking tour is highly recommended.

The next day, we met our guides and fellow riders. In addition to Jim and me, we met a third American, David, a tanned retiree from Florida. Hailing from Canada were Ben from Toronto and Simon and Marie-Claude from Quebec City, and there was Linda from Australia and Malcolm from New Zealand. Matej, our tour leader, and Jure, our van driver, are both experienced guides from AMT’s home country of Slovenia, and they kept the tour running like a well-oiled machine. Everyone was easy to get along with, and we quickly gelled as a group and shared inside jokes and friendly comments on WhatsApp.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure Col de Vars France
Our motley crew at Col de Vars in France on our “rest” day. The laughter and stories we shared throughout the tour were priceless.

AMT’s rental fleet includes mostly BMWs plus a few Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha models. Bikes come equipped with a top box and a GPS unit pre-programmed with daily routes, which allows riders to venture off on their own without worrying about getting lost or finding the hotel. Accommodations on this tour were comfortable and charming, our luggage was always delivered to our room before check-in, and meals were delicious and unique to local areas.

Some tours start off gradually, but the Western Alps Adventure kicked off like a cowabunga cannonball into the deep end of the pool. After a short stint on the freeway to get out of Milan, we crossed into Switzerland, and it was game on.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure Switzerland Susten Pass
David, Linda, and Ben enjoying the curves and scenery on the climb up to Switzerland’s Susten Pass (7,297 feet), our third of four high alpine passes on Day 1.

First, we summited Nufenen Pass. Next, we stopped at the Hotel Belvedere, which is situated inside a hairpin overlooking the Rhône Glacier and was featured in a car chase scene in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Then we climbed a little higher to Furka Pass, all before having lunch in the ski resort town of Andermatt.

While trying to digest quattro stagioni pizza, we rocked and rolled our way to Susten Pass. Down, down, down we went into the valley before making our fourth and final climb of the day to Grimsel Pass, where our hotel was located on the shore of a postcard-perfect alpine lake. Before dinner, a few of us took a bonus ride on a narrow panoramic road that goes to a glacier.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure Grimsel Pass Switzerland
Our hotel at Grimsel Pass in Switzerland.

We ended our first day with beers on the patio overlooking the lake and a comfort food dinner of potato soup, veal piccata with pasta, and panna cotta. Sleep was well-earned, deep, and enhanced by clean, cool alpine air drifting in through the windows.

Day 2 started with sunrise over Grimsel Lake and a hearty Swiss breakfast, fortifying us for another full day of riding. Bombing back down the winding road from Grimsel Pass with zero traffic was like being on a private track.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure
Matej, Simon, and Marie-Claude on the descent from Col du Grand St-Bernard.

After that early burst of adrenaline, the rest of the day was mellow. We rode into a valley of high cliffs with glacier-fed waterfalls and had coffee near Lauterbrunnen. We had lunch in Gruyères, a medieval walled hilltop village where we had the eponymous cheese mixed in a shredded potato dish called rösti. In the afternoon, we summited Jaun Pass and crossed into France for an overnight stop in Évian-les-Bains, a city on Lake Geneva that sends its bottled mineral water around the world.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure
No wonder Evian water is so expensive! They have little old ladies filling bottles by hand.

Riding in the Alps is like a yo-yo: up and down, mountain to valley, valley to mountain, again and again, with hairpins, sweepers, and every conceivable type of curve. Day 3 was scenic, pleasant, and exotic enough to remind us that we were far from home, experiencing another part of the world. We had coffee in Annecy, known as the “Venice of France” because of the canals that run through the old town, and then lunch at an outdoor cafe at Col de Granier, a notch carved in the Massif de Chartreuse. At our hotel in the ski area of Villard-de-Lans, we had a gourmet dinner on a patio with mountains rising all around us.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure Annecy France
We had a coffee stop in Annecy, France, a city known for its cobblestone streets, canals through the old quarter, and pastel‑­colored buildings.

On Day 4, we rode through the damp, dark, narrow Gorge de la Bourne, where the road cuts into the limestone walls as it runs along a mountain stream. We climbed high and rode Combe Laval, one of France’s “balcony” roads chiseled into and through limestone cliffs. Then we summited several passes – Col de la Machine, Col de Rosset, and Col de Grimone – and cruised through fertile valleys full of sunflowers and lavender.

Make no mistake, this is a rider’s tour, with days full of twisties, climbs, and descents and minimal sightseeing. On Day 5, our rest day, we forfeited the “rest” part and rode over Col de Vars and into the thin air of Mercantour National Park. Just below Col de la Bonette, we relaxed in Adirondack chairs and sipped coffee in the pure alpine air on a bluebird day and then looped around the treeless Cime de la Bonette. What goes up must come down, and we retraced our route for a totally different experience. Every right became a left, every foot of climbing became a descent.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure
From Col de la Bonette (8,907 feet), we rode a short loop around Cime de la Bonette.

Day 6, July 14, was Bastille Day, France’s national holiday, and we celebrated by bagging four alpine passes, including Col de Montgenèvre and Col du Mont-Cenis, where we rode along the shore of a turquoise lake. After having oven-fired pizzas on a patio for lunch, the high point of the day was climbing more than 3,000 feet in 8 miles through green mountains covered with wildflowers and cut deeply by snowmelt waterfalls and creeks to Col de l’Iseran (9,068 feet), the highest paved pass in the Alps.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure
Ben on the scenic, winding descent from Col de l’Iseran, the highest paved pass in the Alps.

After our fourth pass of the day, Col du Petit St-Bernard, where we crossed back into Italy, we rode through the 7.2-mile Mont Blanc Tunnel. We emerged back in France near our hotel in Chamonix, a bustling alpine city full of hikers, mountain climbers, and tourists.

We began our last day with a gondola ride to the top of Aiguille du Midi to see Mont Blanc (15,778 feet), the highest mountain in Western Europe, and the surrounding peaks and glaciers. After summiting Col de la Forclaz, we began the long climb to our last pass, Col du Grand St-Bernard, where a hospice founded in 1049 used St. Bernard dogs in mountain rescues.

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure Mont Blanc
In France, we took a gondola from Chamonix to an observation deck atop 12,605‑­foot Aiguille du Midi, where we had clear views of Mont Blanc (15,778 feet), the tallest mountain in Western Europe. That cluster of dots on the side of the glacier is a tent camp for mountain climbers.

Upon arriving back in Milan, Matej and Jure popped corks on bottles of prosecco, and we all toasted to a fantastic tour. Grazie mille, Adriatic Moto Tours!

Adriatic Moto Tours Western Alps Adventure
Back in Milan, we toasted prosecco to celebrate a successful tour.

The next Western Alps Adventure runs July 13-21, 2024. Visit the Adriatic Moto Tours website for more information.

See all of Rider‘s international touring stories here.

The post Adriatic Moto Tours’ Western Alps Adventure Review appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com

Edelweiss Bike Travel Releases 2024/25 Tour Brochure

Make your plans and pack your bags, because the Edelweiss Bike Travel tour brochure is back for the 2024/25 travel season with new tours added to the list of beloved classics. Edelweiss Bike Travel has over 40 years of experience guiding motorcycle tours and currently offers tours in more than 180 destinations.

Edelweiss tours vary in terms of difficulty, length, and type of riding, as well as location. Detailed information about each upcoming tour is available in the brochure to help you pick the tour that’s right for you.

New tours this year include Motorcycle Dream Portugal, Southern Italy Delights and Twisties, Adventure Namibia, Best of Southern Brazil, and more.

Read the press release below for more information about the brochure and a link to download your digital copy or request a copy by mail.

Edelweiss Bike Travel 2024/25 Tour Brochure
Edelweiss Bike Travel has been guiding motorcycle tours for more than 40 years.

The most wonderful time of the year has come again! With great pride and joy, we present to you the brand-new Edelweiss Bike Travel catalog 2024/2025, packed with unforgettable adventures, breath-taking landscapes, and loads of two-wheeled action.

Those who know us also know that resting on our laurels is not our thing at all. That’s why we already have big plans for the upcoming season. We are delighted to inform you that as of today, our brand-new travel program for 2024/25 is now available online and ready to be booked.

Edelweiss Bike Travel 2024/25 Tour Brochure

Related Story: Edelweiss Bike Travel Best of Greece Tour Review

As a thank you for your loyalty and enthusiasm for our tours, we are offering an exclusive early bird discount: Book a guided tour in Europe in 2024 from our Edelweiss standard program until Oct. 31, 2023, and receive a $250 or €200* discount! To redeem, simply enter the booking code EBB2024,and the discount will automatically be deducted from your booking.

(*Valid for new online bookings of guided motorcycle tours in Europe from the standard Edelweiss program until Oct. 31, 2023. Not valid for motorcycle rentals or self-guided tours. The amount will be deducted automatically. No cash redemption possible.)

Edelweiss Bike Travel 2024/25 Tour Brochure
Save $250 by booking a tour before October 31, 2023.

While you’re already dreaming of the next adventure on two wheels, our brand-new catalog for 2024/25 with all the tours and information about Edelweiss Bike Travel is on its way to you! Haven’t signed up to receive the catalog yet? Just click on the link below and get your free printed version delivered. If you prefer browsing through the digital version, you can also download the catalog directly from our website.

We have worked tirelessly to put together another spectacular program that will make all your dreams of exciting motorcycle tours come true. With our commitment to always offer the ultimate travel experience for all motorcycle enthusiasts, we have further enhanced our proven tours and expanded our program with a variety of new destinations.

Edelweiss Bike Travel 2024/25 Tour Brochure

The successful AMA Alps Challenge tours, where we conquer the 40 highest passes in the Alps, will be included in the program as fixed Edelweiss AMA Alps Challenge tours:

We have also checked out South Europe and are excited to explore charming Portugal and the Southern Apennines in Italy with you.

We have expanded our long-distance destinations to include tours in Namibia and Brazil, which not only offer breath­ takingly beautiful landscapes and cultural highlights, but also plenty of thrilling curves.

Not to forget: Our beautiful new tour in Southeast Asia!

And also off-road fans have every reason to be excited: We have new Unpaved-Tours! Edelweiss now offers three new guided Adventure Country Tracks (ACT) tours in Italy, the Balkans, and Greece.

Whether you dream of exploring the majestic mountain roads of the Alps, traversing the wild and untouched Patagonia, visiting the charming villages of Europe, or experiencing the endless landscapes of the Australian outback – with Edelweiss Bike Travel, you will undoubtedly find the perfect motorcycle tour to turn your dreams into reality!

Your Edelweiss Bike Team

The post Edelweiss Bike Travel Releases 2024/25 Tour Brochure appeared first on Rider Magazine.

Source: RiderMagazine.com