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.
Matthew Crawford's Blue Ridge Climb
Endpoints: Richmond, Virginia, and the George Washington National Forest
Route: 711W, 522N, 6W, 29S, 56 to the Blue Ridge Parkway
Distance: 120 miles
Estimated time: 2 hours 15 minutes (one way)
Bike: Honda CB360
In his words: "I like to go out on Route 711, just outside Richmond, Virginia, and from there to Route 56 across the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The curves have just the right rhythm – they connect to each other in just the right way. I don't do this enough since having kids, but I like to strap on a pack and ride up there – what we call motorcycle backpacking. The Appalachian Trail runs through there, so I'll leave my bike, a Honda CB360 that I tore down to the frame and rebuilt, at a trailhead and hike up the Priest, a 4,000-foot peak that looms over Route 56. It's a pretty hard climb – about 3,000 feet of elevation gain. There's also a waterfall, Crabtree Falls. I'll hike there, start at another trailhead, climb down that way, and then hitchhike on 56 to get back to my bike."
Matthew Crawford is a motorcycle mechanic in Richmond, Virginia, and the author of the best-selling book 'Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work.'
Credit: Robert Adamo