A few weeks ago I was speaking to Rich, the publisher of AutomotiveTraveler.com because he wanted to use one of my photos for a story. In the course of our conversation he said something to the gist of, ‘motorcyclists know the best roads.’ I think he’s right on the money. One thing that many motorcyclists don’t know, is how to share. In this digital age of communication motorcyclist who frequent online hangouts like forums or message boards have been known to hold their road cards close to their vests.
I am guilty of keeping mum on my roads. Are you? The reality of the matter is of course that there are no secrets. Anyone that can buy a map or look at Google Maps online can know what you know. Yet, somehow we feel the need to protect our knowledge for fear of the word getting out. It all comes down to one word. Trouble. People who draw complaints from whizzing past driveways, bringing the noise, stunting shenanigans and heaven forbid accidents, all bring the police. Who wants to encounter the police on their roads?
Today when I was messaging back and forth with Goldenchild who writes the SteadyOntheHumble.com blog, he readily tipped his hand to me on a road loop he likes to use. I immediately thought, ‘Wow! Alright, this is nice!’ I was honestly shocked that someone would share their treasures with me and I really appreciated it. I hope I am able to return the favor some time.
So how do you do it? How do you find roads in areas that you’ve never been to? My personal preference is to get a paper map of the area I will be traveling to. A paper map gives a high level overview of where I’m headed. I then zero in on where I think I may be going and start picking off routes that look interesting. I look for lakes, rivers, and mountains. My experience so far has taught me that these things are rarely square, so aside from lovely vistas they often provide the twisties. If I’m near a computer, I usually follow up with checking my route on Google Maps to see if I‘ve come up with something good. When have you ever ridden a ‘Snake Hill Road’ or ‘So and So Mountain Road’ that really stunk?
For trips to faraway places I check regional forums on message boards whose membership are sport or sport touring oriented. I look for ride reports and photographs that are centered around the state I’ll be traveling in and jot down any interesting tidbits that I find. I then go back to my paper maps and to Google to see how everything begins to gel. Routes will then begin to materialize naturally.
Perhaps the most important thing that I have learned to do over the years is just to wander. Explore. Make a left when left looks like it might hold some promise even if I haven’t the foggiest idea of where I will end up. True, this often works best when riding alone as I most often do. But, from many of my conversations with other riders it seems that some have a hard time letting go and just winging it.What is that saying? All who wander are not lost.
Everything you could possibly want is on the internet, good motorcycle road suggestions included. Here are some websites that offer road suggestions:
I’d love to hear your feedback on the topic. Please, don’t be shy!