Activate Your Premium Membership Today >

How to find new motorcycle-friendly roads

It takes a long time to get bored with a good motorcycle road, but sometimes you have to move on and find something new.

Or maybe you are on holidays – like I am at the moment – and you need to find some motorcycle-friendly roads in your vicinity.

The obvious solution is to consult a map or GPS.

However, there can be occasions when you don’t have the appropriate scale of map to uncover all the local B roads and using a GPS to zoom in and out can be a right pain in the Armco.

But with time, sun and the right attitude you can still find some good roads, even if you have no idea where you are or where you are going.

First, you need time. There is no point being on a deadline to get somewhere. You may have to backtrack, you may get hopelessly lost, you may go round in circles.

Given plenty of time, you can experiment and try that “no through road”, “gravel road”, or “local traffic only” road as sometimes those signs lie. I’ve been down these roads on many occasions and found a way out the other side. Usually it’s via a bit of gravel or a track, so it might pay to have an adventure bike for these adventurous pursuits.

Second, you need sun. Or at least a compass. Then you will have a reasonable idea of which direction you are pointed and can orient yourself.

Third, you need the right attitude. Getting lost shouldn’t be considered a negative, but a positive. With the right attitude, you will venture down that dodgy dead-end road. It might only go a short distance and be a thorough disappointment, but it could also go for a reasonable distance and be quite enjoyable.

Take your chances, spin the wheel, try your luck.

You also need to look for the signs – topographically and literally.

Topographic indicators are things like hills, rivers, small farms and national parks.

If you see hills in the distance, head for them. That’s where the roads start to twist and turn.

Follow rivers as the roads usually meander in sympathy, or cross over interesting bridges or, if you are really lucky, they cross via a ferry.

Small farms require a network of quiet, intertwining roads that can be great fun on a bike, but watch out for tractors pulling out in front of you.

National parks are a haven for motorcycle-friendly roads, but beware as they can be plagued by people wearing khaki Mountain Design hiking gear and driving Toyota Camrys, slowly. Very slowly.

You also need to look for signs, literally.

Check out the road signs as they can give a clue to the appropriateness of the road ahead.

Obviously one that shows a “Winding road” ahead is a big lure for bikers. Also those signs that warn of “Motorcycle danger”.

But there are other words on signs you should look for.

Old, Historic, Heritage: if these words are present, it indicates the original road before bulldozers and surveyors with theodolites carved a straight line through the hills. These roads follow the natural contours, usually in a very entertaining fashion.

Way, Drive, Track: while you should avoid anything called a motorway or freeway, words such as Way, Drive and Track usually indicate much more fun. However, even some highways can be motorcycle roads. Anything called a street should probably be avoided at all costs.

Scenic, Vista, View: often these indicate roads that wind around a mountain, although they are also used by land developers to dupe buyers into purchasing a block which has much less than panoramic views.

Hill, Mountain, Ridge, Range: if any of these words are present in a road’s name, you have a pretty safe bet that it will be fun.

Valley, Gorge, Canyon: same deal.

Creek, River, Dam: ditto. The word “River” in a road’s name can even make a flat plains road interesting as rivers meander more through flat land.

So, if you see a “Gravel road” sign on “Old Farmview River Track”, click down a gear and have fun.

That’s a motorcycle-friendly road bonanza!

If you get lost you may eventually need to consult Google maps or your GPS to find your way home. GPS is also handy to breadcrumb the route you’ve just taken so you can do it again and share it with your friends.