Looking to go on a riding holiday? The Bear and Edelweiss Bike Tours have us sorted with their top ten riding roads in the world! Check them out... Words: Edelweiss/The Bear.

It’s all very well to write about wonderful motorcycle roads all over the planet, but you inevitably come up against a limit. You simply haven’t ridden all of the wonderful roads there are. We turn this one over to the Edelweiss tour guides to give us the top ten motorcycle roads…

Sicily, who even knew you could book a motorcycle tour here? The roads may not be in terrific repair, but they are still highly enjoyable.

It’s all very well to write about wonderful motorcycle roads all over the planet, but you inevitably come up against a limit. You simply haven’t ridden all of the wonderful roads there are. We turn this one over to the Edelweiss tour guides…

Edelweiss Motorbike Tours is reputedly the world’s largest operator. I have been on tours with them as far away as Cuba, Iceland and Eastern Europe, so I know that they know how to select the most spectacular routes available. Here, in no particular order, are ten of the best they’ve chosen. I have edited them for length.


Follow the Bear tracks here…


 

MOUNT FUJI, JAPAN – SOUTH SIDE: MT. FUJI SKYLINE (13km, 23 HAIRPIN TURNS) EAST SIDE: FUJI AZAMI LINE (12.5km, 37 HAIRPIN TURNS)

We Ride As One Japan.

Mount Fuji has some of the greatest viewing spaces for riding locations, this was from Ducati’s We Ride As One Japan.

At 3,776m (12,388ft), Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan. There are four different roads leading up the mountain, each of which has a so called “5th Station“, from which hikers start the ascent to the summit. The winding road in the south, the Fujisan Skyline, used to be a toll road, but it is now toll-free. A flowing ride of 23 hairpin turns in eight miles takes you up to the “Fujinomiya Trail 5th Station“. The second fun road is the “Mt. Fuji Azami Line“ on the east side. Starting from Subashiri, the ascent takes you up on 37 sweeping bends and over seven miles. You climb about 1160 metres and the maximum slope is 16%. Both roads are only open for private vehicles in the months of May and October, which makes the “Mt. Fuji Skyline“ and the “Fuji Azami Line“ two especially rare and special motorcycle rides.

DARGAVILLE – DOUBTLESS BAY, NEW ZEALAND – SECTION: OPONONI – MANGAMUKA GORGE – DOUBLESS BAY ROAD: SH12 (200km)

The road to Dargaville. It's seriously a nice area and NZ is only a three hour flight for Aussies!

The road to Dargaville. It’s seriously a nice area and NZ is only a three hour flight for Aussies!

Following the “Gumdigger Highway”, the road runs through farmland and eventually enters Waipua Forest, where it winds its way through the impressive rainforest. On the way to Opononi, you’ll reach the 18-mile-long fjord Hokianga Harbour, which is a unique ecosystem reaching far inland. Once in Opononi, take time to enjoy the spectacular view on the Niua dunes. After the ferry transfer to Rawene, the road leads through the and vertiginously curvy gorge Mangamuka through the rain forest for about 12 miles. Once in Doubtless Bay, Cape Reinga, the (almost) most Northern point of New Zealand is not far away.


All of these roads are available on Edelweiss tours. Check their catalogue here…


BERGA – COL DE NARGO, SPAIN – SECTION: BERGA – COL DE NARGO ROAD: BV 4241 AND L401 (80km)

The Pyrenees are a hidden gem with much less traffic than in the Alps. They provide great riding on well paved roads. The road has about 1200 curves and is a real workout on a bike, consistently twisty on excellent pavement. Grip is like a racetrack’s and there is no traffic at all. This road is not a mountain pass, it follows a mountain ridge for the first half through the forest to a beautiful lake near Saint Llorenc and then continues through a narrow colourful canyon before it ends at the main road to Andorra.



GORGES DE L’ARDÈCHE, FRANCE – SECTION: SAINT-MARTIN-D’ARDÈCHE – VALLON-PONT-D’ARC ROAD: D290 (39km)

Southern France offers a myriad of wonderful corners in a landscape has been shaped by constant erosion by rivers which created marvels of nature like the Gorges de l’Ardèche. This ride follows the northern side of the canyon over 24 miles of pure riding fun, curves designed with a perfect radius and asphalt with plenty of grip. The multitude of panoramic stops includes the viewpoints Belvédère des Templiers and the Belvédère de Madeleine. Towards the end of the canyon, you will find the Pont d’Arc, an impressive natural stone arch across the Ardèche. 

HIGHWAY 1 AT BIG SUR, USA – SECTION: CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA – SAN SIMEON ROAD: HIGHWAY 1 (116km)

Probably the most beautiful section of Highway 1 lies between Carmel-By-The-Sea and San Simeon.

Probably the most beautiful section of Highway 1 lies between Carmel-By-The-Sea and San Simeon.

Probably the most beautiful section of Highway 1 lies between Carmel-By-The-Sea and San Simeon. Big Sur is an outstanding mix of great curves, breath-taking scenery and a unique composition of colours: The blue/green/turquoise Pacific, the white beaches, the black asphalt, the green bushes and trees, sometimes with colorful blossoms, and the mountains – this masterpiece of nature is almost unreal. The route offers all kinds of curves. 

CARRETERA DE RONDA, SPAIN – SECTION: SAN PEDRO ALCANTARA – RONDA ROAD: A-397 (40km, 365 CURVES)

Andalusia is very well known for its magnificent rides. Whether you like tightly winding roads, sweepers or sets of twisties, roam on remote paths or ride on more frequented roads – they are all here.

Andalusia is very well known for its magnificent rides. Whether you like tightly winding roads, sweepers or sets of twisties, roam on remote paths or ride on more frequented roads – they are all here.

Andalusia is very well known for its magnificent rides. Whether you like tightly winding roads, sweepers or sets of twisties, roam on remote paths or ride on more frequented roads – they are all here. It is hard to go past the A-397 Carretera de Ronda. This is one of the roads leading from the Mediterranean up into the Andalusian mountains, and it will excite you with its 365 curves in 25 miles. Starting out your day at the Mediterranean, you mount your motorcycle, warm up your tyres and encounter the first sweeping bends shortly afterwards on your way up to Ronda at 740m height. 

THE BACKCOUNTRY OF SIENA, ITALY- SECTION: VAL DI MERSE – BAGNO VIGNONI – CRETE SENESI (39km)

Tuscany is on top of the list of popular riding destinations for motorcyclists, with Siena in the middle of it. Leave Siena to the South-West. San Galgano is thereby always worth a visit – the atmosphere in the church ruins is very special and so is the cappuccino. On the way to Montalcino the curves just don’t stop! Leaving Montalcino, the road becomes really narrow and curvy; on the right you can suddenly see Monte Amiata, a dormant volcano, and the old abbey of San Antimo. On the way back to Siena you’ll find the views you might know from calendar pictures: cypress-lined roads which lead to remote Tuscan farmyards high up on the hills.



GULF OF POLICASTRO, ITALY – SECTION: CASTROCUCCO – SAPRI ROAD: SS18 (43.5km)

Southern Italy has a few secret gems of roads where mass tourism is absent and the scenery is outrageously beautiful. One of these treasures is the coast of Maratea along the Gulf of Policastro in Basilicata. This region is one of the least visited in Italy: It is tiny, but offers an enormous variety of impressive landscapes and culinary traditions. This ride is simply one of the finest coastal routes for motorcyclists: Nearly zero traffic, a narrow and curvy road, sheer cliffs on the right – gorgeous deep blue sea on the left. 

MOUNTAINS OF LAOS – SECTION: PAKMONG – LUANG NAMTHA ROAD: HIGHWAY 13 (209km, APPROX. 1800 CURVES)

In the high mountains of Laos, this road runs from Pakmong to Luang Namtha, close to the Chinese border. The mountains and passes have no name and only very few people live there. Most of the landscape is covered by dense jungle. This road is part of Highway 13 and there are about 1800 curves along the way. The combination of outstanding riding in breath-taking scenery and the little mountain villages along the way, where you can watch all the village life on the road, makes this ride unique. The road is now newly paved, and the layout is just great. It is an endless flow of curves, up and down the mountain ranges with only a few hairpins.



SELLA RONDA, ITALY – ROAD: SELLA RONDA (50km, APPROX. 140 SWITCHBACKS)

The Sella Ronda offers a mix of an endless number of curves and switchbacks, the Italian lifestyle and the wonderful combination of colours within the UNESCO World Heritage Site Dolomites. There are no “boring” connections between the Sella Ronda’s combination of four passes: Sella, Pordoi, Campolongo and Gardena. Pordoi is the highest pass at 2239m. The food is also an important part of the experience – after all, we’re in Italy. There are guest houses on top of every pass which serve espresso, cappuccino and other Italian and South Tyrolean delights to perfection. On the Sella Ronda, roads, landscape, infrastructure and usually also the weather, match perfectly – the ideal ingredients for the best motorcycle road in the world!


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