Motorcycle Touring in the Green Mountains

Motorcycle Touring in the Green Mountains

Courtesy of Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing

Winding two-lane blacktop is about as close to heaven as you can get on a motorcycle. And although Vermont is a small state geographically, its mountains and valleys are laced with thousands of miles of prime less-traveled highways for two-wheeled touring.

The rider in black leather on the Harley Sportster is far more likely to be a dentist from Ohio, or a woman, or both, than an outlaw biker in the Wild One imagery of the fifties and sixties. Motorcycle touring, and the machines themselves, have since come of age in terms of respectability and reliability.

Vermont, and much of northern New England as well, has an abundance of roads with the winding, rural, up-and-down allure that motorcycles are designed to navigate. The pastoral scenery of Vermont, its open farmland rising into switchbacks through high-mountain passes, provides a touring setting as visually satisfying as it is challenging.

Motorcycling in Vermont intimately puts a rider into the environment. Motorcycling is an active, focused mode of travel where the pull of gravity when leaning through a turn is more akin to carving a perfect turn on skis than anything experienced in a car.

Another aspect of Vermont’s ambience that appeals to touring motorcyclists, and other travelers as well, is the abundance of small inns, bed & breakfast homes and convenient roadside motels. Whether a tour is spontaneous or planned in meticulous detail, these small, often family run accommodations provide a local sense of place that is distinctive in Vermont as compared to other areas.

Motorcyclists frequent Vermont’s state parks and private campgrounds, too. A new generation of high tech trailers for bikes can enclose not just luggage, but pop-up sleeping spaces.

The appeal of the Vermont experience has brought the BMW Motorcycle Owners Club to hold their national convention in Vermont twice in the past decade. Vermont tours, whether guided or on-your-own, are a popular feature of Americade, held each June in nearby Lake George, NY. A full week of day tours only scratches the surface of the great roads and rides to be found in the Green Mountains.

Spring through fall, little kids in almost any small town or village in Vermont can enjoy an intermittent parade of full-dress touring bikes, sleek cafŽ racers, and classic thumpers. The smiles and waves from the riders are a clear indication they are enjoying it too!