Motorcycle Destinations For 2018: Where to Go & What to Wear
The sun is finally starting to return, the roads are getting drier and the weather’s getting warmer. And all of this can only mean one thing: Peak motorcycle season is back.
If you’re just starting to dust off and shine up your motorbike after what has seemed like an infinite winter, we know a few great places where you can take it out for a spin. We also know of more than a few roadworthy fashion essentials from wax motorcycle jackets to sturdy accessories, perfect for making sure you look every bit as good as your newly shined-up bike.
So let’s hit those beautiful, winding roads, starting with those closest to home:
England – Castleton and The Peak District
Here in the UK we’re blessed with so many stunning motorcycle routes that we’re spoiled for choice, and the Peak District is no exception. Forget about the obvious ones like the Cat and Fiddle and Snake Pass; these are usually too crowded to allow you any real enjoyment of the road or scenery. The best place to head for some real riding is Castleton and the surrounding routes, including the Edale Loop.
The highlight of this route is most definitely Castleton’s Winnats Pass, a steep and winding climb through a breathtaking limestone gorge. It’s got the views, it’s got the bends and it’s got the challenges, perfect for stretching your bike’s legs after a long winter’s rest. Castleton village is also packed with great pubs for lunchtime refuel pit stops, plus a few good camping spots if you’re planning a longer trip.
Scotland – A82
Picture: James Denham via Wikimedia Commons
Heading north of the border now, you’ll find a treasure trove of rugged coastal routes and mountainous roads for you to explore. The A82 is particularly perfect for motorcycles, taking you up from Glasgow, past Loch Lomond, Glencoe and Loch Ness (feel free to stop for some monster-spotting) all the way up to Inverness. The A82 is 162 miles of unhindered riding through the beautifully wild Scottish landscape, giving you ample opportunity to take in the sights and give your bike one heck of a good run.
If you’re craving a longer trip there are lots of B&Bs, hotels and campsites along this route, plus a great deal more fantastic routes to explore. If you’re looking for something bigger, the North Coast 500 is not one to miss; just over 500 miles of pure natural scenery looping all the way around the Northern coast. Make sure you allow yourself a good 5-7 days to complete the full circuit.
Northern Ireland – A2 Antrim Coast Road
The words ‘coast road’ are music to all passionate motorcyclists’ ears, and the A2 Antrim coast road lives up to the highest of expectations. Sure, it requires a ferry hop over the Irish Sea to get you and your bike there, but the journey is more than worth it. The A2 route begins at Larne and hugs the coast of Northern Ireland all the way up to the world famous Giant’s Causeway landmark, with plenty of dramatic coastal scenery to soak up along the way.
If you haven’t explored this route before then you’ll probably find your first ride focusing purely on the sights – and quite rightly – so it’s well worth planning in some time for a second ride. This is where you can focus all your attention on those incredible twists and turns that make up the spectacular motorcycle route the A2 is so well known for.
Germany – B500
As one of the most iconic German motorcycle roads, the B500 needs to be added to your new season ride list if it hasn’t been already. This road is 40 miles of sheer motorcycling bliss, starting from Baden-Baden, snaking its way through the beautiful Black Forest all the way to Freudenstadt in West Germany. The road is a biker’s delight, filled with a satisfying balance of left and right hairpin turns and elegant, sweeping bends.
The road takes roughly an hour to ride from end to end, so you can fit in several laps of this naturally unflawed route in a single day and still have time to get back home inside a weekend if you’re short of holiday allowance. In other words, the B500 is the perfect motorcycle route for honing your cornering skills and pushing your bike to its limits without pushing your bank balance the same way.
Canada – Icefields Parkway
Our most far-flung motorcycling destination is also our most breathtaking. The Icefields Parkway – aka Highway 93 – runs from the British Columbia border and ends in Jasper where it forms a junction with the Yellowhead Highway. The route takes you through two of Canada’s most spectacular national parks – Banff (Canada’s oldest national park) and Jasper (the largest national park in the Rockies). Flanked by gargantuan, snow-covered mountains, deep green forests, shimmering lakes and exciting wildlife, this twisting, winding ribbon of smooth tarmac is the ultimate opportunity for a true motorcycling adventure – there’s nowhere else quite like it, believe us.
No motorcycle ride is complete without the right outfit, and no clothing brand is perhaps quite as synonymous with motorbikes as Barbour and Barbour International. Here are our top fashion picks for the new motorcycle season from this world famous sporting brand:
Jackets are a motorcycling staple, but there’s no harm in steering ever so slightly away from the traditional ‘biker’ jacket every once in a while. The latest collections from Barbour International and Barbour International Steve McQueen – inspired by the iconic cinema and motorcycling icon himself – include a range of alternative styles including quilted and wax jackets to see you through motorcycle season in style.
Our favourite styles (from left to right in the image above) include the Barbour International Steve Mcqueen Oil Field men’s quilted jacket, the Barbour International Heyford women’s jacket and the Deck Men’s wax jacket, also from the Steve McQueen collection. The study wax coating makes these stylish jackets plenty hardwearing for the road, while providing enough warmth to keep you comfortable on cooler days.
And to complete your kit for the road we’ve selected a handful of stylish and practical Barbour accessories that will complement your outfit perfectly. From top left to right we have a pair of Barbour women’s quilted leather gauntlets and the Barbour waterproof sporting gloves, both ideal for maintaining a good grip on your bike while keeping those brisk coastal breezes off your hands. Finish off the look with the Barbour International Rowhill scarf – ideal for those slightly colder spring days – and the incredibly durable Barbour Navigator backpack, which is perfect for carrying all your essentials during your next exciting road trip.