Touring on a big, comfortable motorcycle is something That every biker should Tick off his bucket list
Sweeping around the bend, i am greeted with one of the region’s most incredible views. the coast road to Kassab, the main town on oman’s Musandam penisular, follows the mountains at almost sea level, and from my current position i can see at least 20 corners ahead, framed by the stark, yellow rock and the azure blue sea.
i’m riding a harley-davidson Street glide, so i am comfortable, relaxed and, importantly, i have the perfect bike under me for this sort of ride. touring on a bike is one of life’s great pleasures; touring on a harley makes it even more special.
it’s a bit of shame really that many harleydavidsons do little more than ride around the city and park outside coffee shops. there’s so much more to the bikes than this. Yes, it can be hard to shake off the shackles of life’s constant demands, but if you can then this is the perfect way to blow away the cobwebs.
Luckily, the region boasts a number of great roads, from sweeping desert highways to tight, winding mountain passes, so there’s no excuse for not getting away from the crowds. and harley’s range of tourers are perfect for the job.
the models are well known to most
bikers and although some may not be to everyone’s taste, most of the larger models (and even some of the smaller ones) can be used for a good touring trip. So there’s more than enough choice for everyone, especially with the addition of the company’s range of touring accessories. The key ones to fit are a screen to keep the wind off you and the Harley music system, so you can listen to your tunes on the go.
The bike range starts with the Sportster Low, which is ideal for shorter riders and especially women. It’s not so good for taller riders. They’d be better off on one of the larger bikes, which is pretty much everything else.
The big, top-of-the-range cruisers might be a little daunting to less experienced riders, but all are easy to ride, thanks to their low centre of gravity and smooth power delivery. It’s certainly a case of looks being more than a little deceiving.
The big bikes comprise of the classically styled Road King, the huge Electra Glide, the cool-as-ice Street Glide and the Mad Max-esque Road Glide. There’s even a three-wheeled trike for the ultimate laidback ride.
The Electra Glide is easy to spot with its array of boxes and cruise liner proportions, but it’s also one of the most polarising. Those that love them dote over them; those that don’t like them really don’t like them. Regardless of your
views, there are few better ways to move a lot of luggage and two people across a continent on two wheels.
Luckily we’re not going that far, so I have the choice of any of the models. For me, the stand-out is the Street Glide. It’s got almost as much luggage capacity as anything else, but retains that road-warrior, super-cool image that lots of people are searching for.
In this region, there’s more than a few places for you to explore with a touring bike. The UAE has a number of long rides that will keep you occupied, including a run out to Liwa or exploring the joys of the East Coast. Or like me, you can pop over the border to Musandam for a stunning coast ride.
Down in Oman proper, there’s a neverending ribbon of great Tarmac criss-crossing the country from the UAE border to Muscat, through Nizwa to Salalah, and a beautiful run along the country’s virtually undeveloped Indian Ocean coast.
There are also great rides in Saudi Arabia, once you get off the highways and head into the mountains. Then there’s the breathtaking landscape of Jordan to enjoy— especially the run from Amman down to Aqaba, or a trip to Wadi Rum.
Yes, any touring bike could do these trips with ease, but on a Harley it’s a little more special. It opens your mind to those brave souls who rode the US highways before the invention of such niceties as the mobile phone and decent protective clothing.
You really could tour on any of Harley’s bikes, although those with longer legs might struggle on the Sportster models on longer journeys. Yes, Harleys are a lifestyle choice, but as a head turner and practical tourer combined, nothing beats them.
Another advantage of touring on a Harley-davidson in the Gulf is that hotels seem more than happy to accommodate a big group of bikers. Regionally, I’ve always found Harley riders are well accepted, even at the big, luxury hotels, so don’t for a moment think there’s any need to go for the more ‘down at heel’ establishments. Most of the time they even let you park your bike outside reception.
So, if you want to let your hair down and really get away from your email, mobile and constant rat race, you could do a lot worse than jumping on a big Harley and heading off towards the hills.
But if you do, give me a call. I’ll come along.