Your Favorite Two-Hour Ride

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Your Favorite Two-Hour Ride

Sometimes you just need a couple hours on a motorcycle to clear your head, to practice active meditation, and recharge your spirit. When a hot shower and a trip to the gym won’t do, a familiar, favorite loop on your bike is a great alternative.

Many of us have the privilege of pretty scenery, interesting geography and fun, twisty roads nearby that we carve out as our place to roam when we need a break from everyday life. So, I’ll share my favorite route and then you can share yours in the comments section below.

Be sure to tell us:

  1. The city, state and country your route is located in.
  2. Why you like it.
  3. What to look out for – good views, places to eat, fun curves and any road hazards.

My Favorite Two-Hour Route:

Route: South Berkeley to San Pablo Dam
Location: Berkeley, California, USA

The San Francisco Bay Area has a surplus of wonderful roads that also happen to be bumpy and poorly maintained. However, the views, trees and relative close proximity to pretty much everything making them worth exploring.

This is my favorite blowing-out-the-cobwebs ride and it takes about 1 hour, 40 minutes if you go by Google’s estimate, however I take my time and give it the full 120. It’s got everything from extremely tight and twisty sections to nice, open sweepers. The scenery ranges from tall redwoods to lovely wide-open fields and vineyards. Things to watch out for are: deer at night, rough and uneven paving on Bear Canyon, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians on Wildcat Canyon Road.

Ok, I showed you mine, now you show me yours.

Your Favorite Two-Hour Ride
South Berkeley to San Pablo Dam
  • gary

    I like the Nickel and Dime tour in Virginia. Start out of Richmond, VA on route 10 (the dime), and head east on a well-paved but scenic road. Hop on the Jamestown ferry across the James River that takes you right by the historic Jamestown Settlement. Hop on route 5 (the nickel) west to head back towards Richmond. Along the way you’ll pass through tree-canopied roads, numerous historic Southern plantations, and picturesque Virginia farms and fields. If you have more time visit historic Yorktown in after you get off the ferry and tour the battlefield where we won our independence. Have a bite at the Yorktown Pub, a popular spot for bikers and seafood lovers.

    • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

      Mapped on Google (from motorcycleroads.com):

  • APG7

    1) San Francisco, CA

    2) Fun medium pace roads with little traffic and awesome views.

    3) 1 to Stinson is pretty tight with lots and lots of blind corners and zero run off space…don’t be a hero.

    4) http://goo.gl/maps/UYnQX

    5) San Francisco –> HWY 1 to Stinson — > Pt. Reyes –> R on Sir Francis Drake –> get food in Fairfax –> 101 back to SF

    • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

      One of my favorites as well. However, it’s hard to resist the temptation to just push on all the way to the awesome white cliffs of Drake’s Bay.

      • APG7

        I’m actually headed up to Wrights Beach Campground (~10 mile north of Bodega Bay) for an overnight trip in the next couple months. Figure I’ll head up there on a Saturday morning, and just fly around the little trails and fire roads all day. Probably take some of the mountain/valley roads back to Marin and then back to SF.

    • Scott Otte

      I often just keep going north on 1 the twelve miles of road between Jenner and Fort Ross is sublime. I think that is a bit longer than a 2 hour round trip from SF though.

    • Mark D

      That is a great ride for sure. I also like head up the 101 a bit further and taking Lucas Valley Road west until you hit the 1, then up to Bodega Bay. There is an amazing crab shack with hot, peppery clam chowder and crab rolls there that is perfect. But you’re right about the roads; they are extremely tight, often a dangerous combination of decreasing radius and off-camber, and strewn with gravel. Unless you’re a pro rider who knows the area well, and are doubling back after checking for debris, “don’t be a hero” is right.

      • APG7

        Been meaning to hit up Lucas Valley, but the recent spate of gross weather has deterred me.

        • Sylvain Dumas

          nice road but Lucas Valley Road is infested with cops

  • Justin McClintock

    Downtown Atlanta at 1 AM. On the motard.

    • Blake Harrison

      Let me know the next time you’re going. I’ll bring my KLR. Lol If the concern about people in the park wasn’t an issue. Hauling through Piedmont park at that time of nice would be a blast through the fields.

  • Jack Meoph

    Like I’m going to tell anyone my favorite roads. There’s already enough people on them.

    • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

      Touche, Grandpa Eastwood

    • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

      I feel the same way. I’ll show you, but i wont tell you.

  • Rameses the 2nd

    Chicago, IL – Lake Shore area on North East side of Chicago is pretty good (Just keep riding North on Sheridan avenue). It has quiet a few twisty turns, some of the nicest houses I have seen in my life, and spectacular lake Michigan views. Stop by at Bhai temple on you way North and enjoy its beauty.

    • JT

      Might have to try that when the weather warms up, moving from San Diego has had be a bit dicouraged for pleasure rides with it being so flat out here.

    • Piglet2010

      Hey, I have done most of that on a pedal bike.

      Any of the Chicagoland freeways/tollways/expressways are exciting when the traffic is just light enough to be crowded but still moving fast.

      • Rameses the 2nd

        I know. I used to live in Naperville and rode my bike to downtown Chicago on regular basis. The problem is that freeways/tollways/expressways are almost always jam-packed. Riding in the City of Chicago itself is even worse. The stop-and-go traffic, speed and red lights cameras, and the crazy CTA bus drivers just suck the fun out of motorcycling. However, I love the fact that I can find free parking in downtown for my motorcycle pretty much any given day at any given time.

        • Blu E Milew

          What’s worse than gridlock on I-94?

          Being stuck in it.

    • Chris S

      I do this ride regularly in the non-snowing months from Evanston all the way up to Milwaukee to grab a cup of Alterra coffee.

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    We should do a ride apart reader group ride.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      That has some serious potential. What a cross section of the motorcycle community that would be.

    • Dustin Coury

      That is a great idea.

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    Aakash, that’s called the Three Bears Loop, named after the three climbs starting on Bear Creek Road. Cyclists sometimes have a race, where they will do laps on that route. Anywho, i think they do a better job of naming things than we do.

    • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

      Laps on that route? Cyclists do the darndest things…

  • skeelo221

    Anywhere on the south island of NZ. This was probably my favorite bit — look at those roads just west of Picton!

    http://goo.gl/maps/fHGri

    • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

      That looks fantastic!

      • skeelo221

        Or outside of Queenstown a lot of roads that climb out of the valley that look like this! Queenstown to Glenorchy is incredible.

        • http://www.motopraxis.com/ Aakash

          Gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

        • Barry

          Mate is that the road up to the crown range and wanaka or another ribbon of beautiful tarmac i need to look for this weekend?

          Also good is the road from gibston valley to cromwell, but look out for the cars that cut the corners when the roads start to get narrow. and then once you pop out the other side, see if you can use that new race track they were building last year.

          • skeelo221

            That’s exactly it — Wanaka to Arrowtown via Cardrona. Killer ROOT!
            Here’s all I hit — got most of the south island down. Just need to return for a dual sport trip
            http://jacob.keiners.com/index.php?cat=47

    • Send Margaritas

      That looks like my dream ride! I’ve asked for the South island of New Zealand every fathers day for the last 20+ years. (As a joke to the family, but in all seriousness.)

  • Arin Macchione

    Hwy 14 east from Vancouver Wa to Stevenson Wa is my go to two hour ride. The ride has a good number of twisties and some amazing views of the Columbia river gorge. Stevenson itself is a cool little town and is the home of Walking Man brewing and the Big River Grill, both have excellent food and brews.

  • Piglet2010

    U.S. 30 from Rock Falls to Sugar Grove, Illinois and back. Oh wait, that is the most boring ride possible in the known universe.

    • Send Margaritas

      Piglet, a decent place to ride for you may be around Starved Rock in the Marsailles Ottawa area. There are also some good places to ride near Galena, but that is farther for you, I’d expect.

      • Piglet2010

        I am in eastern Iowa – the best places are a couple of hours away in SW Wisconsin, where the “letter” highways and most of the farm-to-market roads are curvy with decent pavement quality.

        • Send Margaritas

          Understood, I was assuming you were near Rock Falls or Sugar Grove.

          • Piglet2010

            Just going to Chicagoland on a Bonnie with less than 500 miles on the clock, so I stayed off I-88.

  • Send Margaritas

    Has anybody rode the ‘Going-to-the-Sun’ road in Glacier National Park? That is on my list, but a much longer ride than 2 hours.

    • FSAE

      It’s filled with amazing scenery, buuuuttttt… traffic is usually so brutally slow (think 10mph conga line) that the frustration of crawling along kinda balances out the beauty. Go for the views, not the riding experience. My two cents, at least.

    • Justin Cole

      Rode it last September on a trip from Portland to visit my mom who lives southwest of Glacier. It’s a beautiful road, but as FSAE noted, it’s slow and lots of traffic. We rode east on US 2 to East Glacier village and north on MT 49 to US 89, then through Glacier from east to west. I was told, and it seemed to me, east bound traffic was lighter and most people for whatever reason travel from west to east. Anyway, fun ride beautiful views. The stretch on MT 49 and US 89 was fantastic riding.

  • ThruTheDunes

    Northwest of Boston, outside the 495 and up into southern New Hampshire, there are so many small towns connected by small winding roads, many of them with dirt stretches. Want to escape or just lose yourself? No problem, just pick a direction and go. Want to go farther? Head over to Southern Vermont and start heading north and you’ll find more of the same (heck, you will even find a real place called Podunk).

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      Breakfast in Brattleboro VT is sometimes a thing for the north/central MA riders.

  • Ross McCurdy

    There are so many great roads up here in Humboldt County, just recently I found a forest road one that has switchback after switchback connecting 299 to 36 with views of Shasta mountain on a clear day. Just wish my Crf250l could make more mileage to the tank. Hills kill the little 250′s mileage and would be lucky to make it to the next gas station. Too much range anxiety, maybe I’ll get the fiance to follow me in the car next spring with a 5 gallon tank in the back, or upgrade to a 500.

  • thegreyman

    Location- Monterey Ca. I take HWY 1 south towards Big Sur and return when I hit the 80mile mark. On other days I go north on Hwy1 towards the road really opens up once you pass Santa Cruz.

  • Mykola

    Location: Chula Vista (San Diego), Southern California.
    Route: Otay Lake to Mt. Laguna/Sunrise Highway via Lyons Valley Rd, then to Mt. Palomar with a short detour on Mesa Grande Road.
    It’s a bit long and a bit far for a casual ride, and then there’s the return trip (I didn’t care much for the run back down I-15 on a CBR250), but it’s a beautiful ride.

    • ThruTheDunes

      Banner Grade on the back side of Julian is also a nice diversion up that way, as well as the climb out of Borrego Springs.

  • bainelaker

    Sunset to Topanga to Mulholland until I run low on gas. Then Kaman to gas to Sunset to home.

  • Ty Brookhart

    From DTLA – up to Angeles Crest, left on Angeles Forest, right on upper Big Tujunga (super fast, great pavement), and right back down Angeles Forest Highway. Google Maps says 2 hours, but 75 minutes is doable..

  • killian101

    I put a monthly Triumph ride. We go all over. Lately, ive been doing a lot of Inland Empire routes:
    Starts in Banning California http://goo.gl/maps/KFcnD
    The road up to Idyllwild is pretty amazing. And when I mean amazing, I mean, if live in SoCal and you haven’t ventured past Angels Crest, you’re missing out on God’s country. The are very clean, and have long sweepers that very forging to inexperience riders. Stop in Idyllwild for lunch. The good thing about this route, it gives you a lot of options. You can head down into the Palm Springs area, make your way over to Mt Palomar, into IE wine Country of Temecula. My route heads up Sage road. Its empty, wide open, and stupid fast. It dumps you into Helmet Ca…its about 2 hours long if you decide to skip lunch.
    cheers,
    -paul

    • Preston

      Just did this ride for the first time a few weeks ago, starting from the other side. My favorite road of the lot in SoCal, and I’ve done just about all of them, but I stayed on the 74 into Hemet

  • Doug S

    GREAT, there goes the neighborhood! Bumped up patrol on Grizzley peak/Bear Creek here we come…That’s the ride i’d have posted too:oP

  • Dustin Coury

    I have this secret place that my close friends and I call The Snake. Super low-key and we’d love to keep it that way. Can’t tell you where it is, but it’s right outside of LA. Mellow on the weekends. Wear your mohawk helmet and we’ll know you’re one of us, leather vest a plus.

  • robot

    Las Vegas to Overton, NV Via Lake mead 70ish miles of almost uninterrupted bliss. Especially Fall Last days in the 80′s Late October. Usually see 5-10 vehicles each way. No bugs. No wind* one caveat: you need a pass, either $10 a week, or $80 for a year U.S. Golden Passport. Plenty of nice stops picture taking and during the week virtually no one. I eat at a Super Market called Lin’s in Overton, nice people and inexpensive.

  • Charles Quinn

    Mount Nebo/Mount Glorious and Splityard Creek Dam, southeast Queensland, Australia

    https://maps.google.com.au/maps/ms?msid=211035210909421753465.0004ed17fe09878d5f076&msa=0&ll=-27.400423,152.792015&spn=0.261219,0.362549

    This one is a bit over two hours if you stick to the limits but it’s one of the most popular rides around Brisbane. The road over the top of Mount Nebo and Mount Glorious has just about every kind of tight corner you can think of and is very steep coming down the far side (some riders prefer to take it anticlockwise for that reason). But the reward for about an hour of concentrating hard, and the highlight of the ride for me, is a long series of fast sweepers along Northbrook Parkway and the Wivenhoe-Somerset Road between Splityard Creek Dam and Lake Wivenhoe.

    You see every kind of bike on this ride and most of them stop off at the Maiala Rainforest Teahouse on top of Mt G. Although sadly with the way attitudes to bikers in Queensland are going, this might not be true for long.

  • roma258

    I think if you live in the Bos-Wash megalopolis, a fun 2-hour loops just isn’t happening. It usually takes an hour just to get out of the burbs and start approaching anywhere fun.

  • Chris Karsten

    I don’t live in North America, so even if I shared them it would not even matter.

  • NOCHnoch

    taconic pkwy, hawks nest, and plenty of fun to be had on LI

  • Justin ‘Ping’ Randall

    Moonshiner 28 up to the Tail of the Dragon, 3 hours, but worth every second.