Throughout the pandemic, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
Problem: You want to motorbike the epic asphalt out west, but you live east of Pacific Standard Time and don’t have the vacation days needed to roll cross-country first.
Solution: The Roadery.
The Los Angeles–based touring company, founded in 2013, offers vintage-inspired bikes and 12 self-guided itineraries (and innumerable custom trip ideas) that hit the West’s most scenic highways. Routes are tailored for all skill levels, as long as you have a motorcycle license, and start in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland, or San Francisco. They range from two-day jaunts to 11-day excursions.
The biggest difference between the Roadery and other motorcycle-touring companies is that in place of more commonly rented Harley-Davidson-style hogs, you can choose from a trove of more agile, vintage-inspired models, like the Harley-Davidson Sportster, Iron, and Nightster, as well as the Triumph Bonneville and Thruxton, two nimble British bikes with racing pedigrees.
Tours are unsupported and private, so there’s no hand-holding or being grouped with unskilled strangers. Instead of a guide, the Roadery gives you a written travel manual detailing must-see roadside attractions. You’ll ride approximately 200 miles per day before spending the night at one of the hotels (from historic motels to upscale boutique lodges) that have been prearranged for you.
Beginners should choose the eight-day Vegas, Route 66, and National Parks loop from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park via Route 66, through Monument Valley on US-163 to Zion National Park, and back to Las Vegas. Roads are flat, straight, and light on traffic.
Those with a little more experience could tackle the six-day Vegas, Yosemite, San Francisco tour that includes the legendary blacktop of Yosemite’s Tioga Pass, Death Valley, Mammoth Lakes, and the windy roads of the Sierra Nevada; the three-day Best of Southern California loop, where you’ll navigate the curvy roads in the San Gabriel Mountains, descend into Joshua Tree National Park, and glide past Palm Springs with views of the Coachella Valley; or the five-day Portland Paradise tour that has you cliff-hugging Highway 101 on the Oregon Coast and maneuvering up the peaks of Crater Lake National Park.
The most capable riders should attempt the mother of all coastal concrete: California’s Highway 1 on the three-day Beautiful Pacific Coast tour starting in San Francisco, traveling through Big Sur, and ending in Los Angles.
Experience Needed: You’ll need a motorcycle license (find a motorcycle training course near you). Tours leaving from Las Vegas tend to be easier for their quicker access to flat, traffic-free roads.
Packing: With no support vehicle to hold your luggage, pack what you need in a backpack and optional saddlebags. For riders on one-way routes, the Roadery can ship your bulk luggage to your final destination for $50 per bag.
Tip: Many Roadery road trips are one way (to maximize ground covered and avoid seeing the same scenery twice), so consider tagging on a few extra days at the end of your trip in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Portland, or San Francisco.
Price: $289 to $3,692; includes motorcycle rental, accommodations, detailed itinerary, unlimited mileage, helmet, and one-way bike transfer for one-way tours. Fuel is not included.
Support Outside Online
Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.