For many, the ultimate fantasy is riding through the mountains or along a coastal road in some exotic location on a powerful motorcycle, warm wind in your hair (and face), not a care in the world. If you can't live this dream at home because your wife, husband, partner, parents or budget won't allow you to buy a Harley Davidson (or any other motorcycle for that matter), at least you can make it come true on vacation.
EagleRider (tel. 800/900-9901; www.eaglerider.com) bills itself as the world's largest motorcycle tourism company specializing in renting motorcycles, ATVs, dirt bikes, scooters, snowmobile, and watercraft. EagleRider offers a huge selection of maintained motorcycles and allows one-way rentals between franchises located in various tourist destinations in the USA, Mexico, France and Spain.
All but one of EagleRider's guided tours is in the US (the exception is a Baja Mexico trip). Most are run over the summer months and early fall. As the 2006 schedule has yet to be posted, check the Eagle Rider website for more details closer to your planned travel dates.
Their Florida eight-day/seven-night guided tour begins and ends in Orlando. Visit the cities of Juno, Miami, Key West and Ft Myers while traveling some 800 plus miles around the sunshine state of Florida. The trip runs from November 9 to 16, 2005 for a cost of $2,454 based on dual occupancy or $3,084 single occupancy. Add $700 for a passenger. All tours include accommodations, a late model Harley-Davidson, unlimited mileage, welcome and goodbye meals, helmets, transfer between your hotel and EagleRider pick-up location, an EagleRider professional tour guide, support vehicle for additional luggage, sales tax, a 4.5% environmental surcharge and additional ATV's, watercraft and dirt bikes upon request. A Mustang Convertible is available if you don't have a valid motorcycle driver's license but want to participate in the tour. Food, beverages, fuel, oil, insurance, tips and parking fees are additional.
Admo Tours (tel. 760/249-1105; www.admo-tours.com) offers street, adventure and off-road motorcycle tours throughout the world. The "Andalusia Bikers Especial" is an eight-day 800-mile journey between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Coast from Costa del Sol to Costa de la Luz on small mountain roads through impressive scenery, along shorelines, through green forests and the only European desert. The trip starts and ends in the southern Spanish city of Malaga and takes in La Herradura, Alpujarras, BaÂ¿os de Alhamilla, Cabo de Gata, San JosÂ¿, MojÂ¿car, Sierra de los Filabres, Las Menas, Sierra de Segura, Cazorla, Sierra de Pozo and the historic city of Granada. The last two trips of 2005 depart on October 2 and Decembar 4. Cost is €1,770 ($2,165) riding a BMW F 650 GS or BMW R 100 GS Basic and €1,180 ($1,443) as a passenger. Single supplement is an additional €200 ($245).
A big adventure awaits you on the "Chile/Argentina Patagonia Adventure". This 17-day tour is a one-way guided and supported motorcycle trip, starting in Osorno, Chile, crossing Patagonia to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and ending in the Chilean town of Punta Arenas. Highlights are the most southern City of Ushuaia, Torres del Pine, the Straits of Magellan, Bariloche, and the Perito Moreno glacier. The tour includes transfer from Orsorno airport, return flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago de Chile, rental motorcycles (BMW F650 GS, Yamaha XT600), fuel for the entire tour, paperwork for border crossings, return transfer of motorcycles, accompanying vehicle (luggage transport), accommodations in comfortable ranch houses and three-star hotels, breakfast daily, a tri-lingual (English, German, Spanish) guide and maps. Tour dates are October 7 and 28, 2005, January 14, February 4 and 25 and March 11, 2006. Prices start at $4,207 riding a Yamaha XT600, passengers cost $1,460 and single supplement is an additional $360. Airfare to Orsorno and from Santiago de Chile as well as international airfares are additional.
Another exciting option is the "Morocco Desert Mountains and Oasis". This 15-day tour covers some 1,950 miles over 13 riding days. Starting in southern Spain, riders take a ferry across to Tangiers to begin the journey along the Atlantic coast over the Middle Atlas Mountains to Morocco's largest sand dune region, the Erg Chebbi. Then cross the High Atlas Mountains to reach Marrakech, visit the harbor town of Essaouria before the return journey along the Atlantic coast back to Tangiers. Transfers in Andalusia and Morocco, the ferry to and from Morocco, rental motorcycles (BMW F650 GS, BMW R100 GS Basic, BMW R1150 GS), a support vehicle (luggage transport and service), accommodations in three and four-star hotels, breakfast and dinners daily and a highly experienced tour guide are all included. Fuel costs are additional. Tours depart on October 16 and November 6, 2005 and are priced from $4,160 per person, $3,060 for passengers and add $430 for a single supplement.
Other destinations offered by Admo tours include Transylvania, New Zealand, Switzerland, China and Alaska to name a few.
Asian Motorcycle Adventures (+66/53-275908; www.asianbiketour.com) specializes obviously in motorcycle tours through Asia, in particular Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar) and Laos.
Their "Golden Triangle Tour" starts in Thailand's northern city of Chang Mai. The Golden Triangle is where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet at a wide bend in the Mekong River, although this tour stays exclusively within the Thai border. Tours depart regularly - November 8 and 22, 2005 for $2,495 per person or December 13 and 27, 2005 for $2,795. Pillion price for all dates is $1,395. Motorcycles used are well-maintained high-performance, dual-purpose bikes like Honda XR 400's and 250's.
The "Angkor Wat Tour" is an inspirational adventure to one the world's most unique and historic locales. Angkor Wat an architectural masterpiece consisting of 296 temples and structures clustered within several ancient cities and spread across a few hundred square miles of rural Cambodian countryside. Built by the Khmer civilization between 700 and 1400AD, the cities were abandoned and remained undiscovered until the early 20th century. This 11-day motorcycle trip is the perfect way to discover this hidden gem. Tours depart November 8 and 22 for $2,795 or December 13 and 27, 2005 for $2,995. As this is an off-road trip for experienced riders only, no pillion opportunities exist but there will be space in the support vehicle for passengers (cost $1,495).
German company, Bosenberg Motorcycle Excursions (tel. 49/671-67312; www.bosenberg.com) runs a series of European trips for motorcycle enthusiasts. All tours start and end in Frankfurt, Germany and include an insured standard model rental motorcycle with unlimited mileage, airport and hotel transfers, accommodations at select three and four-star hotels and inns, bilingual (German and English) tour guides, small groups up to 12 bikes, all breakfasts and dinners on riding days, support van with room for passengers, luggage transfer, tour information and maps.
Three tours are on offer: The "Burgundy and Swiss Alps Tour" (May 16 to 27, 2006) features 12-days exploring the Alsace, Franche-Comte and Burgundy regions in France with a full three-day stop in Burgundy, Jura, Berner Oberland and Vaud regions of Switzerland, Black Forest and Heidelberg. Costs are $4,375 per person dual occupancy, $3,475 for a passenger and $565 single supplement.
The "Classic Alps and Dolomites Tour" (June 13 to 24, July 18 to 29 or September 12 to 23, 2005) is 12-days discovering the Black Forest, Berner Oberland and central Switzerland, the Dolomites in northern Italy, Liechtenstein, Vorarlberg and Tyrol regions in Austria, Bavaria, Heidelberg and Rothenburg. Prices are $3,985 per rider, $3,085 per passenger and $4,75 single supplement.
The final tour is the "French and Swiss Alps Tour" (August 22 to September 2, 2006) which is12-days touring through the French Alsace, Jura, Walliser and Berner Oberland regions of Switzerland, a three-day stop in Megeve, Aosta Valley in Italy, the Black Forest and Heidelberg. Riders pay $4,245, passengers $3,345 and a $535 single supplement.
Four or more people signing-up at the same time for a tour receive a $125 per person discount off the regular tour price. Solo riders signing-up at the same time and rooming together in a double room save $85 per person off the rider regular tour price or sign-up for a tour at least six-months prior to a tour start date and save $75 per person off the regular tour price. Tours run between May and September.
Motorcycle Tours of Greece (tel.+30/22940-94905; www.triumphbiketours.com) is another option. Their "Peloponnese Tour" (June 3 to 11 and September 2 to 10, 2006) takes riders to the most beautiful part of Southern Greece to visit ancient archeological sites including the Epidavros theatre, Mycenae, Mistras, Monemvassia, Ancient Messini and many more lesser known but equally wonderful places. Stay in a renovated Venetian castle in the Mani and a pretty seaside hotel in Pilos. There are two two-day stops with optional loop rides. The tour is approximately 950 miles for $2,077 per rider, $2,320 for singles or $2,810 for two (one rider, one pillion).
The "Alexandrian Tour of Northern Greece" (June 17 to 25 and September 16 to 24, 2006) is an eight-day/nine-night adventure to the less traveled northern regions of Greece. Although there are less ancient sites to visit, the alpine setting and landscapes are spectacular. Visit charming fishing villages and mountain hamlets, Delphi, the monasteries of Meteora, ride the coastal route to the island of Levkada, stay in the quaint cobbled village in Ioannina, Vikos Gorge, Kastoria, Prespa on the Albanian border, and back via the scenic northern part of Evia. There is a two-day stop with an optional loop ride for a total of approximately 1050 miles. This trip is priced at $2,810 for two persons (one rider, one pillion), $2,077 per rider based on dual occupancy or $2,320 for singles.
If you have a preformed group of five riders or more, Motorcycle Tours of Greece can take you on their 12-day "Heritage Tour of the UK", a 14-day "Sicily and Southern Italy Tour" or the 15-day "Odyssey Turkey Tour" on dates to suit your group.
All their tours include motorcycle rental (Triumphs: Adventurer, Tiger, Sprint, Thunderbird or Bonneville) bed and breakfast accommodations at charming hotels, airport transfers, a seaside hotel with a pool on arrival night and an A-class hotel by the Acropolis in Athens on the last night, insurance, a guide/mechanic lead rider and back-up vehicle for your luggage.
Most companies will insist that your have a valid motorcycle license to participate in its tours, whereas some may be more lenient depending on the laws of that particular country (Asian countries tend to not require specific motorcycle licenses). As motorcycles can be dangerous and you may not be used to the driving conditions off-road or in a foreign location, please ensure that you have arranged adequate insurance for your trip.