We asked a handful of throttlers about their favorite motorcycle routes and the bikes they take on them. What they told us started out with directions – but veered into hard-won road wisdom.
Billy Joel's New England Coastline
Endpoints: Salem, Massachusetts, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Route: 127N, 133W, 1AN, 1N, 1AN
Distance: 86 miles
Estimated time: 2 hours 40 minutes (one way)
Bike: 2009 Moto Guzzi California Vintage
Engine: 1,064cc V-twin
In his words: "When we go on tour, I bring sometimes half a dozen motorcycles for me and a couple of guys on the crew. We've done the West Coast, Napa Valley, British Columbia, the southwest, and Louisiana, and I own a house in Miami, so I ride in Florida. But to me the best riding is in New England. You start in Salem and you go up Route 127 to Gloucester along the Massachusetts coast. Then you go all the way around Cape Ann, which probably has remained close to what it originally was for a couple hundred years now. You come back around the top end of Cape Ann and hit Route 133, which will take you up through Essex and Ipswich. From there you can pick up Route 1A, which you take north to Newburyport near the New Hampshire border. You go north from there on Route 1 for a bit, then jog back to Route 1A and head up the coast again to Portsmouth. I try to do this route once a year in late summer, early fall. There's not a lot of high-speed riding, but you're going along the coast for a good amount of time. It's scenic, with picturesque seaside villages, beautiful countryside, and nice twisty roads. It's a Zen ride."
Billy Joel will receive a Life Time Honor from the Kennedy Center in December, 2013.