Ewan McGregor, David Beckham, and Gerard Butler may make motorbike riding seem sexier than ever, but they are just a few of the thousands of Brits who are heeding the call of the two-wheeled route to freedom.
Biking in Britain has made a big comeback, and you can get in on the fun! Here are the top four tips for seeing Britain by motorbike:
1. Popular Routes
From the busy streets of London to the mysterious beauty of the Scottish Highlands, there are hundreds of amazing routes to choose from if you want to get to know Britain on two wheels. Two of the best motorbike roads are The Cat and Fiddle (A537 from Buxton to Macclesfield), where new and more seasoned riders alike test their mettle against the windy roads (Watch your speed, as you are bound to run into more than one herd of sheep!), and The Antrim Coast Road (A2 in Northern Ireland), which is famed for its proximity to the sea. When you’re not riding and breathing in the fresh salty sea air, stop at one of many villages and enjoy a hearty meal of grilled or fried fish!
If Scotland is more your scene, Glasgow to Inverness (A82) will take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes you can imagine, including the mysterious Loch Ness. You will find many great route ideas on Twisty Ride, but you might also consider purchasing the book Bikers’ Britain by bike specialist Simon Weir. He has written for Ride magazine and been an advanced riding instructor for a long time, so his book is well worth it. Not only will it enlighten you on the best routes, it will also help you save money thanks to a wealth of tips and advice.
2. Where to Stay?
Whether an elegant five-star spa or a small bed-and-breakfast is your scene, you will find your ideal accommodation while biking through Britain. The key to avoiding disappointment is to plan in advance. Call the hotel or other accommodation you are interested in and ask about the possibility of arriving without a booking (just in case you cannot get there in time owing to maintenance and repairs, bad weather, etc.). During peak season, you may have to make a formal booking even a couple of weeks in advance to make sure you don’t get left without a place to rest after a long ride. To help you plan dates and times of arrival, look at your route and plan how many hours you will be travelling each day. Always give yourself extra time for meals, getting lost, visiting cities and towns, etc.
3. Filling Up
Make sure that there are enough petrol stations to enable you to complete a route without running out of fuel. Plan exactly where you will fill up your tank, and make sure to check online or call stations to ask about their opening hours. The last thing you want is to be stranded in a desolate area all night because the local petrol station is closed. You will also need to fuel your own body, so if gastronomy is a hobby, read up on popular restaurants and bars. For many riders, one of the best thing about long tours is savouring local fare, and possibly even taking a few treats home for loved ones.
4. Determining Your Budget
In addition to taking into account the cost of accommodation and meals, research online to discover interesting sites in the areas you will be visiting. Make sure you have the cash required to see sites like interesting or quirky museums, national parks, adventure parks and the like since you don’t want to miss out on the most attractive features of your town or city of choice.
Finally, don’t skimp out on protective gear and follow basic safety tips such as always looking ahead, learning how to corner, and honing the art of overtaking.
Where would you go on a motorbike tour of Britain?