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Motorcycle Riding for the Adventurous Traveler; Sustainable or Not?

Rev up your engine and set out on a motorcycle tour like no other


Motorcyclist taking a break by a lake. Credit: Adobe

Ever since I saw the series Long Way Up featuring actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, I got some different ideas about motorcycling the planet 😉 

They rode Harley Davidson’s LiveWire electric motorcycles that get a range of up to 146 miles on a single charge. In one scene, they are down in Patagonia and can’t find a suitable outlet to charge their motorcycles. Let’s just say they improvised along the way. They managed to go the 500+ miles all the way up to their final destination of Los Angeles. Overall, it was very fascinating to see how 2 guys managed to travel by motorcycle (with a team) 13,000 miles. 

Now, I’m certainly not an expert in motorcycle riding, however I’m open to learning new things when it comes to travel. 

Let’s look at what’s new in this industry

Motorcycling has apparently changed in the last 30 years with the advent of (what else?) new technology. My assumption is that electric is the new frontier for any type of personal vehicle transportation, but this article points out two aspects to its future. One, is stricter emission regulations based on European standards called the Euro 5. It’s the fifth iteration of emission standards in Europe for motorcycles. The article mentions the US is always soon to follow.

The second issue is batteries and their current limitations. It remains to be seen what new developments will transpire in the future of li-ion batteries used in transportation. 

But are motorcycles still a good way to travel sustainably?

This article points out several reasons why they are, compared to autos.The main reason is lower environmental costs. Even if they are not electric, they still have lower emissions than autos. About the only drawback I can think of as a deterrent to using a motorcycle, is weather. Inclement weather can make it more difficult and less enjoyable to riding (bicycles and walking included). But if you’re the super adventurous sort it won’t matter as much. It costs about as much as some cars to buy a new electric motorcycle but maintenance costs are a lot less.

Travel by motorcycle?

Not sure if motorcycling is for you? BMW Motorrad offers a list of 20 motorcycle tour operators sure to fit the bill for you. So tick that travel bucket list and get on a motorcycle to explore the world–the way Ewan and Charley did–up, down, and around. In the end, it’s just one more piece to the sustainable travel & transportation puzzle. 

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