RTW plans: Planning to do the USA and Canada by Motorcycle

by Stephen

(This post was written long before I decided to travel around the world by bicycle. I have kept the post, for historical purposes. At the time the post was originally written, the idea was to spend a much shorter time, travelling by trains, buses, ferries, and so on)

Like Australia, the United States and Canada present some difficult challenges to move around freely without a car. With the exception of larger metropolitan areas, there are only a handful of Amtrak services that cross the country. The other alternative, is to travel with one of the bus companies, such as Greyhound or Megabus. However, this limits one to scheduled stops. Also, a few years ago, Greyhound decided to withdraw its extremely popular Discovery Pass. This was a wonderfully inexpensive way to get around. With that no longer in the offering, I’ve now considered another alternative. For many years, not long after I visited the United States, for the first time, in 1995, I’ve wanted to travel coast to coast by motorcycle. With the planning of my round the world trip, I’ve decided to do all of my travels in the United States and Canada by motorcycle. I had thought of other options, such as buying a car. But, after much thinking, I’ve decided that a motorcycle is my favoured option. The thrill of riding down the Pacific Coast Highway, in California, and along the remains of Route 66 to Chicago, is difficult to ignore. Also, the thrill of deciding this is the same kind of thrill I experienced when I decided to do my first (and, so far, only) skydive almost five years ago.

There is one thing I need to do first, though – and that is to learn how to ride a motorcycle. In New South Wales, it takes about four years to become a fully licensed (unrestricted) rider. Because I’m over 25, and hold a full driving licence, I can cut that down to two years.


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Tiana 7th August, 2014 - 09:33

Very cool! My dad just did a coast-to-coast motorcycle trip, although that was a race. I assume it would be much more scenic if you took your time 🙂

Stephen 7th August, 2014 - 10:36

Wow. That would have been fantastic! But, yeah, a year will give me plenty of time to meander west to east, north to south, and back again. 🙂

Kim Dayman 19th August, 2014 - 12:32

Tip: Canada has some amazing places to be discovered by motorcycle, but make sure it’s between April-October otherwise you’ll be out of luck as motorcycles can’t hack our snowy roads. Also a great route would be Alaska down to B.C. through the rockies to Alberta, but if you’re smart skip the prairie provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northern Ontario, just flat never-ending horizon with nothing to see or do. Jump back on in Southern Ontario and go across the Trans-Canada highway to the east coast – it’ll be a lovely ride!

Stephen 19th August, 2014 - 12:42

Thanks for the tip, Kim! Yeah. I’ll be skipping the northern states, during the winter, for the same reason. And the long ride up to Alaska is also in the plans. 🙂


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