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Tuesday Edition


Europe’s Top Motorcycle Roads

Roads that will thrill you, chill you, and test your skills, and leave you wanting more.

Photos and text by Dewayne Jasper
1/14/2014


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As equally renowned as their transatlantic cousins when it comes to the pursuit of road-based excitement, the Europeans are a bunch who have contributed just as much as, if not more as any other population towards the advent of motorcycle culture. Pioneering as many individual saddlebags, biker jackets and full faced helmets as the Americans, they also share our devout allegiance to the recreation in all of its individual forms.
 
While mere mention of the many different varieties of motorcycling is enough to inspire a piece celebrating the wonderful variety of our chosen passion, this is an idea best saved for another day.
 
Today, we shall instead be taking a look at some of the best cruise roads the European continent holds.
 
 
The Transfãgãrsãn Highway – Romania
 
Though tempted, I chose against listing this road choice under its equally recognizable geographic locations of ‘Transylvania’. The fact that this high altitude shorty (just 21 miles long) is located in the worlds of literature and superstition’s should be enough to inspire the more dark-hearted among you to start planning your trip today.
 
Though short, the Highway is action packed, with a host of ancient Monasteries and Castles showcasing some of the best Gothic architecture along the route. 
 
 
 
 
Trabzon to Savsat – Turkey
 
A wonderful route in the sense that it is relatively short and conquerable (180 miles), yet it supplies many of the benefits of a road ten times its size. Providing a wonderful mix of lush green continental scenery and bone dry tracks which just cry out for the use of riding chaps, the road between Trabzon and Savsat in Eastern Turkey runs largely parallel to the Georgian border and calls for a well-ventilated biker vest.
 
 
 
 
Antrim Coast – Northern Ireland
 
A world famous spot for all things biking, the Antrim Coast road runs for 60 miles of beautifully rugged Celtic coastline and is perhaps one of the most motorcyclist friendly places on our planet.
 
Legendary TT icon Joey Dunlop is believed to have put in much of his practice on this route and there are a host of annual competitions staged around the area to this day. It’s all in all a very humbling journey, ending at the Giants Causeway just 20 or so miles over the sea from Scotland.
 
One piece of advice however: wrap up warm as it is Ireland, and don’t forget those insulated biker gloves.
 
 
 
 
Bar (Montenegro) to Sarajevo (Bosnia)
 
A 250 mile road which cuts through the heart of Eastern Europe, this route is tackled only by the most confident of bikers. An immense journey that takes in mountain after mountain and plateau after plateau, isolation and terrain pose the biggest problems here.
 
An Enduro bike is a must as well as fully stocked range of motorcycle luggage.
 
 
 
 
Cabo de Gata to Grenada – Spain
 
Yet another rather short ride which does extremely well to include an intriguing array of landscape, culture and climate changes over the course of its mere 130 miles. From the heat of Cabo de Gata up to the cool yet pleasant surroundings of the Sierra Nevada- this route is a must for any Spaghetti Western fans.
 
A stunningly diverse part of the planet, Europe has a a lot to offer a traveller. From the baron Fjords of Scandinavia in the north to the tropical shores of Greece, Italy and Spain in the south, there’s a lot more going on there than most may care to believe. 
 
 
 
 
Sarandë to Vlora – Albania 
 
Yet another Eastern European gem, this route would surprise all who possess the conviction to choose it for their next biking journey abroad. Commencing in the country’s semi-tropical south, the road will take you up into the heart of one of the most scenic places on Earth.
 
A country not long escaped from an extremely turbulent history, this route is not for the faint hearted- although it pays off immensely for those who dare take it. 
 
 
 
 
Furka Pass – Switzerland 
 
An extreme ride for most riders, padded warm jackets are a must, the Furka Pass is a section of road which has been separating the men from the boys since the invention of the wheel. 
 
A tightly coiled route which scales an almost vertical mountainside, I for one think the crash barriers are in place solely to provide psychological support. Regardless, the breath-taking scenery is a chance for one of the most thrilling rides available on Earth.
 
 
 
 
Bergen to Geiranger – Norway 
 
A potentially life altering motorcycle route, you’ll likely have to sacrifice those stylish riding chaps of yours and replace them with something a little warmer. 
 
Best spread over the course of a few days, conquering this isolated and stunning road is an ambition likely to require the very warmest of riding jackets. Passing on ferries over a variety of Fjords, through tunnels, past glaciers and over mountains- this is a once in a lifetime type route. 
 
 
 
 
Cat and Fiddle Run – England
 
The current spiritual home of English motorcycling, the Cat and Fiddle Run tracks for just 6 miles through the north western English countryside. A rite of passage among native enthusiasts, the route is notorious in England as being one of the country’s most dangerous roads.
 
Following several deaths on the short yet challenging run, the speed limit has been cut dramatically- however this appears to have failed in deterring bikers completely.
 
 
 
 
Amalfi Coast Road – Italy 
 
Known colloquially as the ‘Road of a Thousand Bends’, the Amalfi Coast Road is a relatively short stretch at just over 30 miles and joins the vibrant Italian cities of Naples and Salerno.
 
Taking the route in the winter as opposed to summer is advised- as it tends to become clogged up with tourists in the hotter months. Beautiful countryside runs perfectly into either of the two old school and highly cultured cities.
 
 
Dewayne Jasper loves to go on long motorcycle rides. 
 
Editors Note: Many of these roads involve a wide mixture of stunningly beautiful scenery, high mountain passes, and often the weather is very cold, snowy and unreliable.  Be sure to carefully check out any route you choose.  There are various Guides with detailed map directions, good advice and suggestions for places to stay along the way.  Do take their advice seriously as to clothing needed, weather forecasts and difficult sections of the road.  These are not places to visit without the right clothing and a well planned out route. 
 
 
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