One bucket list entry for some people might include riding a motorcycle as a passenger. Perhaps rolling the throttle yourself takes up a spot on your list.
But for the veteran motorcyclist their bucket list takes on a completely different set of standards.
Commuting and Sunday afternoon rides rarely get old but the need for more eventually takes hold. Where else can I ride? Check that. Where else should I ride? Pack up and ride. Go somewhere, anywhere. But a few places around the country serve as stand out motorcycle destinations whether to ride or ride to or both. Usually both.
We searched far and wide, and in our own backyard, for a list of places that implore you to ride and roll the throttle for a few hours, if not a couple of days. Whether you go it alone or ride alongside others, perhaps you have already penciled in some of these on your bucket list - a few you'll recognize as "must-rides" - but others we think rank as hidden gems you'll just want to check out for yourself.
Motorcycle Bucket List Rides
1. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Likely #1 on the bucket list motorcycle ride for many even though the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally isn't exactly a ride but getting there sure offers fun. Technically, you do ride at Sturgis but ultimately it's a massive party that starts on the first Friday in August for 10 days where riders come from all over the globe to experience and hang out with 500,000 fellow enthusiasts. Bucket list bonus includes getting into a fight. Plan far in advance if you want a place to stay.
2. Cross Country Road Trip
You can take any number of freeways from the east coast to the west and vice versa. You can even map out a circle to hit the southern states in one direction and the north states in the other direction. Or spend some research time to get off the main drags and hit the roads less traveled or the road less traveled now, like Route 66. Whatever path you decide to ride your motorcycle across the country don't be surprised if you want to live it all again.
3. Daytona Bike Week
Kind of sort of like Sturgis but different. Or at least in Florida not South Dakota. Daytona Bike Week offers bikers a 10 day respite from everyday life to hang out with half a million other enthusiasts and partake in concerts, street festivals, racing (including a round of Supercross) and an all-around good time.
4. Tail of the Dragon
Billed as America's #1 motorcycle and sports car road, Tail of the Dragon, aka US 129, offers 318 knee dragging curves along 11 miles. If you include knee dragging on your bucket list, cross off both with this trip to the border of Tennessee and North Carolina. And if you'd rather enjoy the surrounding Smoky Mountains enjoy because Tail of the Dragon invites riders of all experience levels.
5. Ride PCH
Pacific Coast Highway in California offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean but some would argue one of the finest motorcycle roads in the country. This mostly leisurely cruise on pavement offers many pullouts along the way to fill up your camera.
6. Blue Ridge Parkway
Start in North Carolina and ride through to Virginia to see one of the most scenic roads in the country by bike.
7. The Grand Staircase
This bucket list entry could very well simply be Utah, thanks to numerous places to ride in the state, but let's narrow it down to the Grand Staircase offering views of Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
8. Florida Keys
Amazing ocean scenery, a seven-mile bridge and island hopping make the point of this journey one not to arrive.
9. Alaska-Canada Highway
Open only three months out of the year, join just five percent of Alaska visitors who ride or drive the Alaska-Canada Highway to reach the Last Frontier.
10. Lolo Pass
Not for the faint of heart or inexperienced rider, Lolo Pass takes you nearly 100 miles through the northern Rocky Mountains with plenty of hair-raising hairpins.
If we have learned anything the last few years putting off tomorrow what can be done today no longer represents a clever catchphrase. One day is now. One joy of motorcycle riding comes from the spontaneous nature of packing an overnight bag, throwing a leg over and riding where the road takes you.