Every state in our great nation offers unique opportunities for riders, with diverse landscapes and roadways that cater to all sorts of motorcycle enthusiasts. However, it’s fair to say that not all states are created equal when it comes to the motorcycle experience. In the spirit of good-natured debate, we’ve compiled a list of the five states that, while still offering certain charms, might pose a few more challenges to riders.
Let’s jump in, but remember, any day on a motorcycle is a good day, no matter where you are.
Alaska, with its awe-inspiring landscapes and open roads, might initially seem like a motorcyclist’s dream. However, the state’s severe winters and short-riding season can pose significant challenges. Icy roads and sub-zero temperatures make it hazardous for riders for much of the year, while remote locations may lack quick access to repair shops or medical facilities in case of emergencies.
Yet, it’s these very challenges that make Alaska a captivating destination for the truly adventurous. An inspiring example is the motorcycle adventure story of Ben King, who in 2010, braved the freezing temperatures and perilous conditions of Alaska’s infamous ice roads. King’s remarkable adventure demonstrated the resilience of both rider and machine while underscoring the stunning beauty of Alaska’s frozen wilderness.
So, for those who don’t mind the chill and relish the idea of a rugged, memorable ride, Alaska’s icy roads might just be the next great frontier.
Known for its idyllic beaches and tropical climate, Hawaii offers a unique riding experience that’s quite different from mainland states. However, it falls short when it comes to long-distance riding opportunities due to its confined geography. Limited highways and traffic congestion, particularly in urban areas like Honolulu, can prove challenging for riders who crave wide, open roads.
Yet, Hawaii shines in its own unique way. One of its treasures is the Hana Highway in Maui, a location we’ve previously featured. This 64-mile-long winding road is the perfect route for a tropical waterfall-chasing adventure. Riders can experience lush rainforests, dramatic ocean views, and, of course, stunning waterfalls. Twin Falls, Wailua Falls, and the Pools of Oheo offer breathtaking sights and refreshing dips in the water.
Even with its limited highways, the perfect riding weather, unique biker culture, and such awe-inspiring routes like the Hana Highway make Hawaii a worthwhile destination. So, while it may not be the best state for long-distance riding, it surely offers unforgettable short-distance, scenic rides that can redefine your motorcycling experience.
Delaware may be the second smallest state in the U.S., but don’t let its size fool you. The state offers its own unique charm for motorcyclists. However, it does face certain limitations. Its smaller size and higher-than-average population density mean fewer open roads and more traffic, which might not be the preferred environment for riders who crave the stress-reduction properties of riding.
Despite these constraints, Delaware has its own scenic routes, particularly in the southern parts, which can provide riders with enjoyable experiences. It might not boast the vast landscapes or diverse terrains found in larger states, but its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean offers coastal rides that are nothing short of picturesque.
Moreover, Delaware’s location is an advantage in itself. It’s close to motorcycle-friendly states like Pennsylvania and Virginia, offering riders the chance to easily expand their horizons and explore new routes.
So while Delaware may not be the first state to come to mind for a motorcycle adventure, it still holds its own unique appeal. It serves as a reminder that sometimes, the most rewarding journeys are found in the most unexpected places.
4. North Dakota
North Dakota, with its flat and seemingly monotonous terrain, may not be the first choice for many riders seeking diverse riding experiences. The state’s severe weather conditions, including harsh winters and high winds, can also present challenges for motorcyclists.
However, there is a different side to North Dakota that deserves attention. The wide-open spaces, with roads that stretch into the horizon, can offer a sense of solitude and connection with the machine that is unique in its own way. For those who find beauty in simplicity and the rhythm of the road, North Dakota can deliver.
Even more enticing is North Dakota’s proximity to South Dakota, home of the legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. With just a short ride, North Dakota residents can participate in one of the largest and most celebrated motorcycle events in the world, enjoying the camaraderie of fellow riders and the thrill of the open road.
So, while North Dakota might not offer the traditional allure of winding mountain passes or coastal highways, it holds its own charm for those seeking solace, simplicity, and the spirit of the open road. Plus, with Sturgis just a ride away, North Dakota becomes a compelling stop for any motorcycle enthusiast.
5. Rhode Island
Rhode Island, the smallest state in the U.S., may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of iconic motorcycle destinations. The state’s compact size and urbanized environment mean fewer open roads, more traffic, and less motorcycle wind therapy. Nor is it home to any of the major motorcycle rallies.
However, to overlook Rhode Island based on its size would be to miss out on its unique appeal. The Ocean State boasts beautiful coastal rides that offer breathtaking views of the Atlantic, and historic landmarks like the Newport Mansions, which add a touch of grandeur to any ride.
Rhode Island’s compact size also means that everything is relatively close together, making it easy to explore various attractions in a single ride. And, given its location in the heart of New England, Rhode Island serves as a great starting point for longer rides into neighboring states.
While it might lack the vast landscapes and open roads found in larger states, Rhode Island offers a distinctive charm. It’s a place where you can start the day with a city ride, take a mid-day break along a picturesque coastline, and end with a journey into history. In the world of motorcycling, sometimes it’s the small surprises that make the ride worthwhile, and Rhode Island certainly fits the bill.
Embracing the Road Less Traveled
The journey of exploring these unconventional states for motorcycling brings to mind the words of the iconic poem, The Road Not Taken:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —– Robert Frost
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
These words resonate with the spirit of motorcycling. Taking the road less traveled can lead us to discover unique landscapes and meet new people at biker bars. You may even to pick up a new bit of biker slang along the way. You don’t always have to ride in one of the sunniest states with the best motorcycle weather.
Whether it’s the adrenaline rush of Ben King’s Alaska adventure, the tranquil pursuit of waterfall-chasing along Hawaii’s Hana Highway, or the discovery of the unique culture and history embedded in the small yet charming Rhode Island, the joy of motorcycling can be found in every corner of the United States.
In the end, the essence of motorcycling is the freedom to explore, to challenge ourselves, and to experience the world from a unique vantage point. It’s about appreciating the unique beauty and lessons each state offers. Choose your road, speak the language of the road, and let the spirit of adventure guide your ride.