Motorcycle touring

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Motorcycle touring in Great Britain
Motorcycle touring in Gran Canaria

Motorcycle touring is a format of tourism that involves a motorcycle. It has been a subject of note since at least 1915.[1]

Motorcycle touring involves special equipment and techniques. A touring motorcycle optimized for long range travel and luggage carrying capacity may be used.[2] Special preparations involved include route planning for unfamiliar areas, packing tools that might be needed, finding food, making overnight stops, finding fuel in remote areas,[3][4] and physical care of the rider's body.[5] It may involve camping[6][7] or attending motorcycle rallies along the way.[3]

Some riders take touring to extremes with rides of thousands to over 100,000 miles or kilometers, and lasting years or decades (see Long-distance motorcycle riding and List of long-distance motorcycle riders). These long-distance riders may also join specialized societies such as the German Globetrotter Club and publish. Some notable works concerning such tours include The Gasoline Tramp or Around the World on a Motorcycle by Carl Stearns Clancy; India: The Shimmering Dream and other works by Max Reisch; The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara; Fastest Man Around the World and other works by Nick Sanders; Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon; Riding the Edge and Riding the Ice book and video by Dave Barr; Motorcycle Touring[8] by Peter Thoeming and Peter Rae; the film Sjaak the World and the book Life on 2 wheels written by Sjaak Lucassen; the Long Way Round and Long Way Down book and television series by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman; and Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road by Neil Peart.

Motorcycle touring supports a large amount of commerce, not only the sale of motorcycles but also substantial amounts of equipment. Riding suits alone can cost thousands of dollars. By a 2014 estimate, over 40% of all street motorcycles sold in the United States were touring models.[2] Some companies cater to tourists who need to rent a motorcycle. One mass-market magazine in the US, Roadrunner Motorcycle Touring & Travel is devoted to motorcycle touring as is Australian Motorcyclist Magazine in Australia. Brokers offers "motorcycle cruising", in which they arrange to bring owners with their bikes on board a cruise ship from the United States to the Caribbean Islands, handling the requisite legal paperwork to ride in Bermuda and elsewhere.[9]

Starting in 2018, Chicago-based Twisted Road and Los Angeles-based Riders Share offer peer-to-peer motorcycle rentals, allowing motorcycle self-tours nationally in the U.S.[10]


  1. ^ Theodore J. Werle (1915), Camping Hints when Touring with a Motorcycle, Harley-Davidson Motor Company
  2. ^ a b "Cruiser and touring motorcycles", Rider, 2014, Touring motorcycles, which includes some cruisers as well as other types of bikes, are designed for long-distance travel. Touring motorcycle reviews look for typical details like a windshield (and sometimes a fairing) to protect the rider from wind, a comfortable seat and attached luggage, such as hard or soft saddlebags and possibly a trunk.
  3. ^ a b Darwin Holmstrom; Simon Green (2008), "The open road: touring and rallies", The Complete Idiot's Guide to Motorcycles, Penguin, 2008, ISBN 9781592577040
  4. ^ Brian Bosworth and Michael Sanders (2003), Destination Highways Washington, Twisted Edge Publishing, p. 6, ISBN 0-9684328-1-6, [T]here's more to motorcycling than smooth, twisty, traffic-free roads. You and your machine need fuel and maintenance. And these can be a hassle to find, especially in more remote parts of the state. Perhaps you're in immediate need of a gas station, grocery store or nearest pub. Maybe you just like to plan ahead for a nice restaurant meal, hotel or campground...[or you need] a bike shop...{{citation}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ Lisa Haneberg (2008), Motorcycle Yoga: Ways to make motorcycle touring more comfortable and safe,, p. 1, ISBN 9780615195896, This is a book about the physical aspects of motorcycle touring ... how to prepare your body for a long motorcycle trip.
  6. ^ Gregory W. Frazier (2005), Motorcycle Touring, MotorBooks International, p. 102, ISBN 9781610590952, Camping in the wild is the cheapest sleeping while touring.
  7. ^ Pierson, Melissa Holbrook (1997), The Perfect Vehicle: What Is It About Motorcycles (First ed.), W. W. Norton & Company, p. 150, ISBN 978-0-393-04064-7, People continue to make epic journeys on two wheels because ... they want a way to feel fully engaged with and even vulnerable to their surroundings ... [O]n a long trip across continents, you will get bruised, baked and knocked about, and be given plenty of opportunities to challenge your physical and technical wits. The resulting rugged experience ... has much in common with camping (and indeed is often combined with camping)...
  8. ^ Thoeming, Peter (1982). Motorcycle Touring. Osprey Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-85045-436-0.
  9. ^ Candy Thomson (April 1, 2013), "Cruise offers motorcyclists a 12-day surf-and-turf dream: Bikers ride on, ride off ship to tour Caribbean islands", The Baltimore Sun
  10. ^ Fleming, Charles (April 5, 2018). "Sharing startup Twisted Road wants to be the Airbnb of motorcycles". LA Times.

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