Epic Motorcycle Rides: Where Will You Ride This Year?

Your next great ride can be right around the corner!

Harley’s Road Glide lives for the relaxed pace of inquisitive touring, here on CA’s Highway 25.
Harley’s Road Glide lives for the relaxed pace of inquisitive touring, here on CA’s Highway 25.©Motorcyclist
Motorcyclist Epic Rides
In this issue, four Epic Rides: the Alps, Japan, US Civil War landmarks and the American Southwest.©Motorcyclist

Let's assume you're like us. Your motorcycling has to fit into (and around) your work and home life—yes, we also have families and commitments and even (gasp!) drive cars. Not every year contains a two-week riding vacation, camping in the American Southwest, slaloming through about a thousand hairpin turns in the Alps, traipsing around Japan, or following the tragic but ultimately fascinating events of America's Civil War in the mid-Atlantic states—all, incidentally, elements of our Epic Rides special section in the April issue.

Sometimes you make do. Sometimes you find a crack in the otherwise packed schedule and wedge a ride into it—remembering, of course, that not every journey outside of your work/life radius has to be half a planet away to be called epic.

Example: A few days before I was to leave for Santa Cruz, California, about 400 miles up the coast from home, to attend a press function with Zero Motorcycles, my wife suggested a ride-along. "Why don't I join you? Work isn't pressing, and I love Santa Cruz," she said. She already knew that I was planning to take a testbike there rather than accept the plane ticket—because, well, it's riding—and that bike happened to be Harley's new Road Glide Ultra, more than capable of the journey.

Our ride up was pleasant, not as cold as I’d feared it would be (though we were both prepared with heated vests), and without the forecasted rain. The return on a Saturday was more leisurely because we had no time constraints, so we started with a hot breakfast in Santa Cruz and a plan to stay off the major highways as best we could.

Martha had never been down Highway 25 between Hollister and San Miguel, and I’d only done it in the summer and fall. We knew it was the right decision as soon as we cleared the suburban sprawl south of Hollister. “Oh, my, this is so beautiful,” Martha cooed over the headset. “I feel like I’ve never seen this part of California.” We chased a ribbon of pavement through valleys bracketed by deep-green foothills, normally brown in winter and fall but alive with color after winter rain. Cattle gazed at us. Ground squirrels skittered. Clouds formed and dissipated on the horizon.

For two and a half hours and 102 miles we gamboled down a spit of ever-narrowing road, seeing almost no other vehicles, to a running commentary on the astounding variety of our home state even as it was a little hard to believe we were still in it. We talked about the ride for days afterward.

The point? This small escape was right in front of us, needing only the desire to make this Harley into more than a pure transportation tool. It's all about frame of mind, an opportunity seized. Make your next ride epic, even if it's close to home.

Introducing the new Rever App from Butler Maps. Join the *Motorcyclist* ride group at www.rever.co and share your ride with us.
Introducing the new Rever App from Butler Maps. Join the Motorcyclist ride group at www.rever.co and share your ride with us.©Motorcyclist

Hey, What Are Those Weird Logos?

The navigation gurus over at Butler Maps have created Rever (rever.co), a website and mobile application built specifically for creating, tracking, and sharing motorcycle rides. Integration of the site and app are excellent, allowing a user to build a ride online (as you might in Google Maps) then link it to the mobile device to follow the self-created route.

We tapped "track" in Rever on this round of Epic Rides for a couple of reasons. First, it's fun to have documentation of your ride—from exact roads to average speed and elevation data. Also, we wanted our rides to be available to anyone. If you head over to this page on our website (click here), you'll see links to all of this year's Epic Rides, turn by turn, and by joining Rever (membership is free) you can ride our routes as well as create and share your own epic journeys. Zack Courts