Emily-Jane Brain rounds up the ‘who’s doing what where’ of the motorcycle touring world
1. Motorcycles and mountains
If you have high altitude expectations of a biking trip to Nepal, this tour won’t disappoint. The three-week Bike and Hike excursion with Motorcycles and Mountains incorporates a 6,000m mountain ascent on Thapa Peak amid the winding roads and mountain passes of the Himalaya, which participants negotiate on 500cc Royal Enfield Bullets.
Motorcycles and Mountains was launched last year by Ex motorcycle-instructor Mike Burns along with his business partner and Himalaya expert Dawa Sherpa, and it’s an enterprise born out of a love of biking. ‘I was fed up working and getting no job satisfaction,” says Burns. “I decided to set up a business that allowed me to indulge in my passion for biking and gave me the chance to show people some of the most beautiful places in the world.” What more could you want from a guide?
The Bike and Hike tour claims to be the only combined motorcycle and climbing expedition in the world and incorporates a very mixed bag of riding conditions and accommodation, from five-star lodgings to wildcamps. Some of the going on foot is pretty tough; this isn’t one for the fainthearted, but what an adventure, eh? The next Bike and Hike is scheduled for 14 May – 4 June 2011. For more, see, www.motorcyclesandmountains.com
2. Hard day’s night
It’s every ABR’s dream to ride off into the sunset, but what about motorcycling in a land where the sun never sets, where you can enjoy almost two days’ blissful, uninterrupted daylight riding amid stunning scenery? Biking Viking’s Longest Day ride has been conceived to offer just that, taking full advantage of the summer solstice so riders can experience night time adventuring under the midnight sun.
The ride stretches from 2pm until 4am over 350km, taking in some of the best biking and gravel roads Iceland has to offer, and a few landmarks and cultural points of interest too, including the Gullfoss Waterfall, Hekla Volcano and the Hekla Museum.
For those ABRs brave enough to really get in touch with Icelandic tradition, there’s also an opportunity en route to engage in the solstice custom of rolling naked in the dew at Kerid Crater at midnight. It’s supposed to bring happiness… well, you know us. We’ll try anything once.
Bike hire, third party insurance, fuel, refreshments, dinner and tickets for the Hekla Museum are all included in the tour price; in addition to this, riders will need to factor the cost of extra mandatory insurance and a night’s stay a hotel in Reykjavik. This is a truly unique ride packed with gob-smacking first-time experiences, and what’s more, it can be squeezed into a weekend! For prices and dates, see www.bikingviking.is