Lifestyle: Big Trip

Best countries to ride? We ask the pros

Experts give FTR the heads-up

Looking for the perfect motorcycle destination that won’t cost the earth but will create memories by the pannier-load?

When it comes to picking the perfect route you’re always best to ask Triumph riders who have been there, done it and come back with the photographic proof of a good time. So we grabbed round the world record holder, GlobeBusters founder and tour leader Kevin Sanders to get the lowdown on some of the best places to ride.

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Currently leading a group through the Middle East en route to Ace Cafe in Japan, the Triumph Tiger Explorer rider didn’t hesitate when FTR asked him for his favourite nation.

China

Where? The world’s most populous state, only in the last few years has motorcycle travel been possible in China.

Why?

“You need special licences, number plates and entry documents because there’s a lot of bureaucracy, but we take care of that so customers can concentrate on enjoying the ride. And it’s a ride where you see the entire world in one country,” says Kevin Sanders, of GlobeBusters.

How long? Allow a month to get there from Western Europe, with permits limited to 30 days riding in the country.

Getting there: Kevin, whose firm is Triumph’s official travel partner, says: “They’ve opened an Ace Cafe in Beijing so we leave the Ace in London, ride 13,000 miles and arrive at the Ace Cafe in Beijing.”

Cost: £5,200 – £21,995 depending on length of trip and guides

Patagonia

Where? Argentina and Chile share this sparsely populated region at the southern tip of South America.

Why? “It has wonderful riding, a mixed scenery of volcanic areas, glacial lakes, mountains, desert, flat pampa landscape and wonderfully friendly people. And if you like meat and red wine, there’s no better place to finish a good day’s ride,” says Kevin Sanders.

How long? GlobeBusters run 17 and 31-day trips of the region.

Getting there: Fly into Santiago, Chile, with a connecting flight to southern town Osorno to pick up hire bikes.

Cost: £2,995 – £8,995

Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan: Pamir Highway

Where? The neighbouring land-locked central Asian countries border China and the Afghan mountains in the south.

Why? “It’s a real adventure,” says Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent of Edge Expeditions. “There’s no internet, no light pollution, just epic, untrammelled wilderness alongside rushing turquoise rivers and massive, snow-capped peaks. Sleep in nomad’s yurts, bathe in hot thermal springs and marvel at ancient petroglyphs, stunning Silk Road fortresses and hyperbole defying views. All whilst following in the footsteps of historical legends such as Timur, Alexander the Great and Marco Polo.”

How long? 15 days

Getting there: Fly to Dunshabe, Tajikistan, to pick up hire bikes

Cost: £4,250 to £9,495. GlobeBusters also offer tours. Find out more at GlobeBusters

Transylvania

Where? The historic, central region of Romania is a magnet for both vampire hunters and motorcycle adventurers.

Why? “Transylvania is a beautiful place to ride,” says Ferenc Fodor of Motoride Transylvania. “According to Top Gear, the Transfagarasan Road is the best in the world, there’s also the Transalpina, with 146km of twists, bends and amazing scenery. It’s higher, longer, and the tarmac is incredible. Off road, Romania is one of the few places you can ride trails without restrictions.”

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How long? 7 days
Getting there: Either ride directly there, or put bikes on an overnight train from Dusseldorf to Vienna to save time. Or fly and hire.

Cost: From £1,049

Iceland

Where? The Nordic island is easily accessible from Europe or North America, making it an ideal destination for time-restricted adventurers.

Why? Explored on isolated roadways and stunning coastal routes, Iceland offers lava fields, volcanoes, tundra, geysers, hot springs, waterfalls and fjords.

How long? GlobeBusters run 12-day tours, either on or off road. One is paved road, circumnavigating Iceland and Westfjords and is called Beyond the Wall. Or there’s a 50/50 mix of on and off road riding going through the Interior, called “The Arctic Desert” Both are in August 2017.

 

Getting there: Fly to Reykjavik to pick up hire bikes

Cost: From £3,795 with your own bike (add £1,195 for Triumph Tiger 880 hire).