The Death-Defying Motorcycle Trails No Rider Can Resist
Taste & Travel4 Minutes Read

The Death-Defying Motorcycle Trails No Rider Can Resist

May 30, 2024 Share

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Uncover the thrilling secrets of the world’s most legendary motorcycle routes, from haunted bridges to lost treasures.

Sweeping bends, panoramic views, empty, clear and smooth tarmac – that’s what makes a motorcycle route so legendary. From haunted bridges to long-lost treasures, the world offers a staggering variety of them, each with their own captivating stories and rich cultural legacies. Some are more suitable for technical riders. Others beckon the lovers of speed. A select view happen to be surrounded by some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Thrill-seekers, start your engines. Here are some of the best kept motorcycle road secrets.

Stelvio Pass – Italy

Image courtesy of Michaela Římáková

Stelvio Pass is for riders with a knack for technical rides. The stats alone are enough to get a biker all tingly – we’re talking 48 knuckle-whitening hairpins switchbacking their way up to a stratospheric 2,757 meters of pure altitude-addled euphoria.

But as if the sensory overload and adrenaline hits weren’t enough, Stelvio has an ace up its sleeve – a hearty serving of rich historical significance to complement all those horizon-melting vistas. This very same gauntlet of a road served as a crucial military route during the chaos of World War I. These days, rugged old fortifications and bunkers still stand sentry, souvenirs from that era dotting the mountainsides.

Transfagarasan – Romania

Image courtesy of Jaanus Jagomägi

This 90-kilometer knuckle-whitener carving through the highest peaks of the Southern Carpathians is a certified mountainous masterpiece of mind-bending hairpins, sweeping off-camber curves, and high-altitude plunges that’ll have even seasoned riders getting dizzy. But the payoff worth any momentary queasiness. Towering pinnacles give way to viridian forests as far as the eye can see, with glacial lakes and misty waterfalls providing pittstops of untouched beauty.

This whole crazy roller coaster route was originally conceived in the 1970s as a strategic military highway under Communist rule. The story goes that over six million kilos of dynamite were used to, quite literally, blast a path for the road through these imposing peaks. Needless to say, the construction crews who made the Transfagarasan a reality must have been built of pretty stern stuff. These days, their legacy draws adrenaline junkies from around the globe, all aiming to conquer one of the most challenging and beautiful mountain roads on planet Earth.

German Alpine Road – Germany

Image courtesy of Dan Burton

This 450-kilometer stunner packs more breathtaking vistas and knee-dragging corners into one stretch of tarmac than should be legally allowed.

With lush alpine meadows giving way to glass-like lakes and tidy villages sitting pretty amid rolling hills and forests, this road is straight out of a fairytale. And of course, plenty of knuckle-whitening switchbacks and sweepers to test your mettle as a rider. It’s scenic overload in the best possible way.

The whole German Alpine Road concept was cooked up back in the 1930s as a ploy to draw tourists to the region. Of course, it then took decades of construction to finally connect those pristine Alpine stretches into one glorious, unbroken route for motorheads. Needless to say, was it worth the effort.

These days, riders can aim their wheels towards stunners like the fabled Neuschwanstein Castle – you know, the one that inspired Disney’s take on Sleeping Beauty. Or just lose themselves in the remote mountain passes, feeling those Bavarian curves load up their tires.

Izy Skyline – Japan

Image courtesy of Mark Basarab 

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of ripping up the Izu Skyline in Japan on two wheels, do yourself a favor and put it at the very top of your riding bucket list. This scenic road slicing across the Izu Peninsula is a non-stop barrage of intoxicating curves and bends that’ll have you working that throttle like a virtuoso violinist.

But it’s not just the thrill factor that makes the Izu Skyline so special. This route lays out one of the most gorgeous viewsfolios a rider could ask for, with sweeping panoramas of the iconic Mt. Fuji, the churning Pacific stretched out to the horizon, and thickly forested mountains adding pops of green at every turn. The pavement quality is also sublime, making it a perfect high-speed playground.

Now here’s maybe the coolest part: The Izu Skyline has become a mecca for Japan’s diehard motoring faithful. On any given day, you’ll catch packs of sports cars and superbikes hitting the tarmac and swapping admiring glances (and maybe a couple revs) with fellow speed worshippers. It’s a tight-knit tribe that any self-respecting rider will want to join.

Great Ocean Road – Australia

Image courtesy of Weyne Yew

This 243-kilometer coastal stretch serves up some of the most jaw-dropping scenery you’ll ever lay eyes on from a bike. We’re talking sweeping curves hugging those wild, rugged cliffs with the vast Southern Ocean crashing below. And then there are the Twelve Apostles – those massive limestone stacks rising from the sea like medieval castle turrets. It’s the kind of backdrop that makes a rider want to ditch the bike and become a landscape painter.

But get this – the Great Ocean Road has an origin story worthy of a Hollywood epic. Built between 1919 and 1932 by returned soldiers from World War I, it stands as the biggest war memorial on the entire planet. Can you imagine? Thousands of vets coming home from that nightmare, taking a treacherous coastline and turning it into one of Australia’s most treasured attractions. These days, riders who cruise the Great Ocean Road don’t just get world-class scenery – they get a hefty dose of history too.

So for anyone who loves carving up coastal roads on two wheels while soaking in unreal natural beauty with a side of meaningful heritage: Get riding.

Strada Regionale 439

This winding little road is a motorcycle rider’s dream – smooth tarmac carving through the region’s famous vineyards and olive groves, with gentle curves letting them lean into those iconic Tuscan landscapes. And the best part? It remains remarkably unknown.

The SR439 (short for strada regional) also cruises right through the hilltop town of Volterra. This place is like stepping into an Indiana Jones movie for riders, full of Etruscan and Roman ruins just waiting to be explored. Rumor has it there are even hidden treasures buried underneath the streets, ancient riches that would make any archaeologist go weak in the knees.

So motorcycle riders get the whole package on this road – gorgeous vineyard vistas, centuries of history practically oozing out of the cobblestones, and sublime riding at every turn. For any self-respecting motorcycle nut touring Italy, the SR439 is an absolute must in this columnist’s book. Twist that throttle, feel the Tuscan breeze, and get ready to be transported – this route has it all in spades.

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Author: Laura Scalco
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