If winter has relegated your motorcycle to a forlorn prisoner sequestered to the darkness of a garage, now might be a great time to get your moto fix by planning your big trip when spring finally arrives. Winter is a good time to drag a finger over maps, peruse guidebooks, and get ambitious. Within the scope of planning my own warm weather escapes, I began to amass a nice collection of resources. If you’re in need of a winter planning project, the following assets will surely get the adventure juices flowing.
Horizons Unlimited is an impressive community of worldly overlanders founded by Grant and Susan Johnson. Beginning in 1987, they rode their BMW R80 GS around the world taking a leisurely 11 years to complete the journey. Even if your ambitions don’t include riding a lap around the world, the resources found within HU are endless. A deep repository of trip reports, practical resources, and musings from the road, the HU website also features an informative forum and their annual gathering draws adventurers from around the globe. www.horizonsunlimited.com
If you have an adventure motorcycle and don’t know about advrider.com, you just might need to trade it in for a Harley as your penance. Adventure Rider is not just a forum, it’s an epicenter. Riders from around the globe convene on this site daily to share trip reports, tips, travel ideas, and logistics. There’s the typical dose of witty banter peppered with barbed jabs, but all in all it’s a nice place to visit. The trip report section is particularly interesting with a multitude of riders sharing their real-time adventures from around the world. www.advrider.com
Adventure Motorcycling: Everything You Need to Know to Plan and Complete the Journey of a Lifetime. Many riders buy a nice bike, adorn it with all the prerequisite farkles, and then fail to push beyond the county lines. Planning a big trip is complicated, actually committing to it is often overwhelming. This book compartmentalizes the planning process making the prospect of a huge trip on two wheels not so intimidating. Filled with practical information, this is a must-have for any adventure rider.
Once you’ve chewed your way through Wick’s book above, you’ll want to thumb through his other amazing read. The World’s Great Motorcycle Adventure Routes isn’t just a listing of routes to add to your bucket list, it’s a stunning chronicle of rides with beautiful photos and interesting travel anecdotes all backed with useful information for your own trip planning. If the other resources are practical in nature, this book is all about inspiring riders to hit the road.
Butler Maps are designed by, and for, motorcycle riders. That may seem like an unnecessary designation, but motorcycle riders understand the subtle nuance that makes any particular route uniquely ideal for two wheels. Their maps include routes targeted for the adventure rider with each road classified by difficulty, scenic value, and other useful bits of information. Their guides are easy to use and packed with information about local accommodations, restaurants, and attractions. www.butlermaps.com
Motorcycleroads.com is not really geared towards the adventure rider, but it is a good resource for finding the connector roads many of us use to get from one off-road haunt to another. This is not to say there isn’t a nice collection of unpaved roads listed, but that assortment is modest and your ability to find good adventure routes is hit or miss depending on the region. The website is a little clumsy and hard to use, but I wouldn’t discount its resourcefulness. www.motorcycleroads.com
Adventure Bike Rider is a UK-based print publication with a very informative website and digital subscription for those of us on this side of the pond. One of only a handful of publications aimed squarely at the adventure segment, the content is always relevant, practical, entertaining, and informative. www.adventurebikerider.com
It goes without say, but our own Expedition Portal motorcycle section is a great place to get inspired, chat up some in-house experts, and share in the group’s wealth of knowledge. One of the fun aspects of planning a motorcycle journey is discussing the project with like-minded people, many of whom can greatly simplify the process with first hand knowledge. I’m a huge fan of spontaneous getaways, and usually save those for warmer days when slipping out the door with nothing but a sense of adventure is required. For winter months, I enjoy the elaborate planning process. Now, if you would excuse me, I need to go dust off my motorcycle…