“Hello? This is the open road calling. Can you please come for a visit?” Whether you tour on a Gold Wing or a Harley, a BMW or Suzuki, a Yamaha or Honda, you know the thrill of covering new ground, or re-visiting your favorite places. It’s time for a getaway!
Guide to Motorcycle Getaways:
WHERE TO GO: The best part of planning a trip is the amount of information available online designed expressly for motorcycle owners. If you need recommendations on choice roadways and where to find the most scenic roads, you can depend on honest reviews from those who have already been there. At www.motorcycleroads.com, for example, routes in every state are described with maps, road quality reports and amenities. The Delaware Coast Short Run is a suggested 60-mile stretch; it’s a quiet two-lane road running along the Delaware Bay coast, passing through coastal estuaries and farmland. On www.bestbikingroads.com, you’ll get detailed directions for rides of all different lengths, such as the nine-mile scenic coastal run from Narragansett, RI down to Point Judith, with beach areas and historical home sites en route.
You can stick with riders who own the same make of cycle by joining groups such as the Honda Sport Touring Association or the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, who actively travel together to rallies across the country. The Four Winds Rally, held each summer since 1967 near New Bethlehem, PA, is the longest continually held BMW rally in the U.S. From the central campground, attendees can choose from an adventure ride, touring rides, or a self-guided ‘local trivia’ ride.
The Gold Wing Touring Association (GWTA) is an international organization of touring motorcyclists, predominantly Gold Wing owners. Region H, representing the northeast U.S., recently held their annual rally in Old Orchard Beach, Maine. If you want to leave your trip planning to someone else, you can take an organized group tour. The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has a branch dedicated to running scheduled tours around the country. Their guides lead participants on daily itineraries, which include meals and events. Their nine-day “Chasing the Colors” tour averages distances of 200 a day. Part of the itinerary includes a series of twisty mountain roads through the Mount Rogers National Recreation area in Virginia, as well as the Big Walker Mountain summit observation point, and the Roanoke Valley.
Similarly, Northeastern Motorcycle Tours offers tours through the scenic mountain roads in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and the Adirondacks in New York, as well as along the seacoast of northern Maine.
WHERE TO STAY: For many riders, a day out on the open road is best ended with a night spent in the open air, at a motorcycle-friendly campground. There are state-by-state lists of clean, affordable, safe, and comfortable places to stay online at www.bikercamps.com and www.motorcycletravelonline.com. If you prefer a hotel, it may be worthwhile to join the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MFA) or the AMA. Members of both organizations save 10-15% at Choice Hotels, including Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Clarion, Cambria Suites, MainStay Suites, Suburban Extended Stay, Rodeway Inn and EconoLodge.
Through a partnership with Harley-Davidson, more than 1,000 Best Western hotels have been identified as "rider-friendly," offering motorcycle riders wipe-down towels at check in, access to a wash station, designated parking, tar remover, sunscreen and lip balm. Best Western Executive Court Inn & Conference Center in Manchester, NH is a natural for this list, since it’s also the official hotel of NASCAR. Guests are a quick 30 miles from the New Hampshire International Speedway.
WHAT TO DO: One word: rally! It doesn’t take much research to find a cycle rally in any state, and many of them happen in the cool-weather month of September. For instance, Delmarva Bike Week is the largest of the Maryland Motorcycle Rallies, which takes place at Ocean Downs Racetrack in Berlin, Maryland. New Jersey’s largest is the “Roar to the Shore” rally held in Wildwood, which attracts up to 150,000 attendees. Another September event, the Annual Killington Classic Motorcycle Touring Rally, includes four days of events in this Vermont mountain town, such as a bike show, bike parade, casino night, pig roast, concert, and pancake breakfast. From the shared love of motorcycles has evolved numerous affinity groups and charitable organizations of people with additional shared interests or experiences, such as the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association. Local chapters of these groups organize social and fundraising events, so it may be worthwhile to check online for a web site with a calendar of upcoming events.
Local charities receive a percentage of the admission (over 12,000 people) from “Super Sunday,” one of New England’s largest one-day motorcycle events held at the popular Marcus Dairy along Route 7 in Danbury, CT. Rip’s BAD (Bikers Against Diabetes) Ride is a fund raiser takes place every September in Hampton Roads, VA, which includes live entertainment, vendors, bike show, raffles, and auction, in addition to the ride itself.
Take some time off your bike to take in a competitive event. The American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association holds several series of amateur races. During the AHRMA 2008 Legends of MX National Vintage Motocross Series, an “offroad” weekend at the Broome Tioga Sportscenter, in Binghamton, NY included competitive events in Cross Country, Vintage MX and Post-Vintage MX.
DID YOU KNOW: Although we always recommend helmet use, motorcycle helmet laws may change as you cross state borders. Currently, these states require the use of helmets while on the road, for riders 18 years or older: DE, MA, MD, NJ, NY, VA, VT. These states DO NOT require helmet use, by law: CT, ME, NH, PA (21 or older), RI (21 or older) * State laws vary for motorcycle drivers under the age of 18.
Emergency medical and contact information
Extra ignition key
Flat repair kit
Swiss Army knife
Tire pressure gauge