Tour­ing on a big, com­fort­able mo­tor­cy­cle is some­thing That ev­ery biker should Tick off his bucket list

Virtuozity - - Handmade -

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.

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