The definitive motorcycle bucket list

Top 50 countdown of motorcycling adventures that you simply have to do before you die...

50. Get your knee down

When: This weekend
Where: A roundabout or a track
Cost: Free

Amazingly, 40% of sportsbike riders have never got their knee down. The first time your plastic slider makes contact with the road you'll squeal with excitement.

Pick a good corner or your favourite roundabout, circulate until the bike is at a good angle, shift your arse 2/3rds off the seat, stick your leg out at 90 degrees and ta-da! Another riding god is born.

49. Camp at the British GP

Where: Silverstone
Cost:  £150 (camping, admission and beer money)

Get some mates, some beer, some more beer and a tent. Head to Silverstone. Don't put your tent up until its dark or you're too drunk to care about where you sleep. Wake up in a pool of your mate's sick to the sound of Ducatis and Hondas, stagger out of your tent and crack open a breakfast beer. You've arrived. Also, get there a day earlier and enjoy the Day of Champions.

48. Drag race at Santa Pod

Where: Wellingborough, Northants
Cost: £25

Looks simple. Isn't. Drag racing is all about your ability to launch a bike from 0mph to max mph in a quarter mile, and beating the guy next to you who's trying the same thing. Santa Pod is the cultural home of UK drag racing and for just 25 quid you get a full day's entertainment (on average you'll get about 8 runs in a day) and some of the most disgusting hot-dogs known to mankind. Go with a bunch of mates and prove, once and for all, who's the boss. Top fun.

47. Own an Italian bike, preferably a Ducati

When: Now
Cost: £3500 (S2R) - £40k (Desmosedici)

Ducatis are desirable, there's no question about it, they feature on most wish lists for dream bikes, and it's easy to understand why. Starting from a rich heritage, the bikes from Bologna are the epitome of all things Italian with passion and power embodied within a beautifully crafted shell. But they also have character, with imperfections that only a mothering attitude could love.

46. Buy a Rat bike

When: This summer
Where: Your hometown
Cost: £500

Get on eBay and each buy a running rat bike. Set a target of £500 each and organise a run. Buy whatever floats your nostalgic boat. Agree on a weekend's destination and set off on Friday night. It will be the best biking adventure you will ever have. Laugh as your mate's bike seizes, cry as it happens to yours, then laugh again as you both get running with the help of  a baked-bean can and gaffa tape.

45. Race flat-track

When: Various dates
Where: Scunthorpe Raceway, Lincolnshire
Cost: £120 (Adults), £90 (Juniors)
Contact: 01673 878426

Flat track is catching on in the UK. Ride experiences are at tracks all over the UK throughout the year. It's all about having the balls to push the thing in sideways and ride it on the throttle. You will fall off loads and you will get very dirty, but bad injuries are rare and it is an absolutely brilliant experience. Go on, live out your 'On Any Sunday' fantasy!

44. Go to the Milan show instead of the NEC

When: November
Where: Milan
Cost: €18 (entrance)

Milan, one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet, cultured, full of beautiful people and jammed with stunning neoclassical architecture. Birmingham, grotty shit-hole of the midlands where the sun never shines and scum will steal anything not nailed down. So go see your new bikes in Italy! Once a year they host one of the best bike shows in the world at the Milan Show, unveiling all the new bikes to the world's press. Flying to Milan from London is most likely to be cheaper than getting a train to Birmingham. Does anyone know how you say 'no brainer' in Italian? Thought so...

43. Head to the Bulldog Bash

Where: Shakespeare County Raceway, Warwickshire
Cost: £60

Fancy having your bike washed by a load of ladies with their jubblies out? Or watching Grand-dads of rock, like Status Quo, getting their grey groove on. The Bulldog Bash has established itself as one of the best festivals in the world. Take part in the 'Run What You Brung' drag racing or watch the big boys doing their thing on Rocket bikes and Top Fuelers. Get to the dance tent and throw shapes with sweaty bikers.

42. Do a long weekend in Scotland

When: May or September is best
Where: Perth to Inverness, Ullapool to Tongue
Cost: From London, budget £350 for petrol

The best riding you can do in the UK can be yours for the price of a long weekend. Book off Friday and Monday from work, get up early and get cracking. From Perth the roads really start opening out and by the time you hit Spean Bridge you're in biking heaven. Accommodation is cheap, and by the time you hit Ullapool you're north of the highlands and it's like being in another country. Make sure you stop off at the Lochinver Larder for the best pies in Britain.

41. Plan your own south of France ride

When: May or September are best
Where: South of France
Cost: Budget for £1,200

The South of France offers one of the very best riding experiences in the world. Getting there is an eight-hour blast, and once you're south of Lyon the options are endless. Turn left and delve deep into the Alps and endless mountain roads. Keep going for glorious the glorious beaches around Cannes, or just get lost in the backroads of the Auvergne. Nearby, bike-friendly and brilliant, it's still one of the best adventures you can have.

40. Wheelie School

When:  All year round
Where: Lincolnshire
Cost:  £200

Learn how to wheelie on Jimmy Fireblade's bike. If you drop it, it doesn't matter. Brilliant. There are a number of wheelie schools now in the UK, but they all do the same thing. Watch amazed as your instructor sails effortlessly past on the rear wheel, listen to a load of stuff you don't understand, then try it yourself.

39. Brave the Lands End trial

Where: London to Cornwall
Cost: £150 should do it

Ride nearly all off-road from outside London to the furthest reaches of the west country. Ideally suited to big trailies and hosted by a bunch of flat-caps on original Triumphs, don't be put off as you'll discover parts of the country that you never knew existed.

38. Enter the Gumball 3000

Where: Los Angeles, USA
Cost: £28,000

If you fancy ripping it with a bunch of coked-up, trust-fund Tarquins, then the Gumball 3000 is worth a gander. In fairness the toffs (with so much time on their hands) do organise a cracking trip across several US States, allowing plenty of time for stop-offs and all the time riding at terminal velocity.

37. Drown at the Weston Beach Race

Where: Weston Super Mare

You do not need to be an off-road God to take part in this event. Your bike needs to be in good order though as it will get battered. 1,000 bikes usually run in the adult solo race, with around 850 finishing. Three hours of sand in your mouth, sea in your boots and an arse battering that will leave your bum looking like a stunt double from Brokeback Mountain. Take some friends and some tools, as you will need both if you intend to finish.

36. Historic tours with BMW

When: Multiple dates
Where: Europe, the World
Cost: from £949

BMW run a whole range of rides and tours, all highly organised events performed with teutonic efficiency. From wine-tasting runs to opera-vists, there's something to suit everyone.

35. Freeze your arse off at the Numb Bum 24hr race

When: February
Where: Canada
Cost: £1,200 all-up estimate

45 minutes northwest of Edmonton Canada is the village of Sandy Beach. Once a year they host the Numb Bum 24hr race. Held on a frozen lake, they only average 170 entrants as the race is held in February so there is snow, lots of snow. So much snow in fact that the riders (not the bikes) wear the lap counting transponders, to help the rescue teams locate them should they end up in a snowdrift. Temperatures drop into the -20's, and only a handful of the entrants expect to finish. If you get grumpy 'cos the heating's too low in the winter in Blighty, pick something else to do, otherwise give this a shot.

34. Learn Speedway from a captain

Where: Scunthorpe Speedway
Cost: £70

Master going sideways on shale with former Scorpion's Captain, Wayne Carter. The sessions are run on regularly on weekends and are open to riders of all abilities. All the riding gear and a bike is provided at the riding school.

33. Race through the Italian Alps

When: Summer
Where: Western Alps, Italy
Cost: From £600

Centopassi means "100 passes" and this Ducati organised rally is held over four days in the Dolomite range. There are two classes, competition and non-competition - the latter missing the timed and other special stages in favour of a more relaxed time. Ducati stress that it's not about speed, but naturally it degenerates until an all-out race on Multistradas through some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe. Incredible views and glorious riding.

32. Do the TT in a tent

When: Every June
Where: Sulby Glen Campsite, IOM
Cost: £600 should cover it

Truly one of life's more earthy experiences, all your clothes will be soaked on day one, you'll lose your wallet on day two, and spend the next week shivering and scrounging off your mates. The racing you came here to see will be a distant memory as you face a daily battle just to stay alive. The closest experience to life in World War One trenches.

31. Ride trials with Dougie Lampkin

When: August
Where: Yorkshire
Cost: £149

Seven times World Champion Dougie Lampkin will personally supervise your first steps into the world of trials. Using brand new Montesa trial bikes, watch completely dumfounded as Dougie and his friends ride up vertical cliffs, only for yourself to stumble at the first small pebble you tackle. Massively recommended.

30. Get pissed at Daytona 200 Bike Week

Where: Florida, USA
Cost: Packages from £650

The sanitised insanity of Daytona Bike Week is a sight to behold. Women get their tits out and the nights belong to the freestylers who slug it out with the cops. Oh, and there's some racing, too.

29. Ride a 1198 at Mugello

Where: Mugello, Misano and Imola
When: Various dates
Cost:  £800

Can you put a price on motorcycling Nirvana? Ducati can. They supply you a 1198 and a sun drenched foreign track for the day, as well as riding gear and a pro photographer to capture your rapture. Don't worry if you don't speak Italian as they have English-speaking tutors. It's pricey, but it's an experience that you will never forget.

28. Do a lap of the Peripherique flat-out

When: Anytime
Where: Paris, France
Cost: £200 for return ferry

In 1985, a madman calling himself the Prince of Darkness on a GSX-R1100H did an incredible 11-minute lap of the peripherique around Paris. His feat is there for all to see on YouTube today, but try it yourself if you want to know the meaning of fear. Prince did his lap on a regular Thursday evening at 7pm through solid traffic, but I would suggest 3am - and you still won't get within a minute of his time! He tried to beat his time the following year and promptly wiped himself out.

27. Fly to Japan for the Suzuka 8hr

The Japanese manufacturers rank the Suzuka 8hr as one of the most important races on the calendar, the 8-hours is crammed full of superbike unobtanium where the top secret parts may one day end up on a production bike. For the big-four a win here is just as important as a title on the world stage. It is worthwhile make a trip of your time in the land of the Rising Sun, experience the oddball motorcycle culture and also try to visit the Honda museum collection to see

26. Experience the Jerez GP

Where: Jerez, Southern Spain
Cost: £50 (entrance only)

Help kick-off the start of the European racing calendar by getting down to the arse end of Spain and enjoying a party. Bank on spending two and a bit days riding down there from Calais, or sail into Bilbao and save yourself a day. The party kicks off a few days before the race with all the locals helping to make it a trip to remember. Expect fireworks, noise, sangria and a suntan.

25. Know speed at the Nurburgring

When:  All year round (including Christmas day!)
Where: Germany
Cost:  £75 (4-lap ticket)

Get yourself a map of Europe and a ferry ticket. Following your nose at sensible speed on the Autobahn should have you there in half a day. By tickets by the lap or in bundles of four. Look out for locals flying round in pimped-up Golf GTI's and fat old British car journo's driving Transit vans. Learn the 76 corners of the 13-mile course and scream in terror when the uphill left you anticipated is actually a downhill right. Tip: avoid having a big off into the armco, as the thieving Nazis will have up to £3,000 off you for repairs. Swinehund!

24. Ride a jet-powered motorbike

When: All year round
Where: Louisiana, USA
Cost: £4,995

The makers of the only jet-powered motorcycle in the world, MTT in Louisiana are now offering one-off rides on their £100,000 marvel. Producing 350bhp and capable of 227mph, the MTT superbike is powered by a jet-turbine. Hit the starter button and there's a jet whistle as the ignitors start the motor, quickly building to a low roar as the compressor blades spin up to 54,000rpm and a single press of the button-shift engages first gear. There's a shriek of jet exhaust and you are quite literally catapulted forwards at ludicrous speeds.

23. Enter the Tuareg Rally

When: March
Where: Spain and Morocco
Cost: £900

If you don't have the £50,000 it takes to enter the Dakar try the Tuareg Rally instead. It's an eight-day desert race that starts and finishes in Spain but is dominated by its Moroccan stages. You'll pay £180 for the sweep truck to carry your spares box and you pay extra for an upgrade from the desert floor for sleeping. There are easy 'amateur' variations on the course for first-timers.

22. Take off across Australia

When: April - October
Where: Brisbane, Australia
Cost: £2,300 all-in

This is the daddy of all trail rides, operated by Roy Kunda out of Cape York. Fly from Brisbane to the Cape in a turbo-prop then jump on the latest 450 enduro bike and ride back. This is serious terrain with wave after wave of mammals, reptiles and enormous arachnids all set on killing and eating you. Sleeping out in the Aussie bush is a serious business.

21. Do the Elefant Rally

Where: Passau, Germany
Cost:  £600 incl ferries and fuel

One of the strangest biking events ever, as you ride in the dead of winter into a snow-covered landscape. Wrap up warm and collect miniature bottles of foreign booze on the way there. Erect a tent, light a fire and get drunk. If standing round talking about Toseland and Rossi is your bag this might not be your thing. If not washing for three days and getting drunk with people you can't understand takes your fancy, then this is the trip for you.

20. Race a moped across Vietnam

Where: Saigon
Cost: Around £900 including flights

It's called the Chally Rally, and involves 1,000km of riding across the rice paddies and dense jungles of inner Vietnam. The brain-child of a bunch of bike-mad ex-pat Brits, you'll be riding customised 50cc Honda Chally scooters in this five-day trek. Low on complicated organisation and very high on laughs, it's a unique experience.

19. Go mad at the 24hr Le Mans

Where: France
Cost:  £350-ish

Ride like a hooligan the whole way to the track and remember to wave to the Frenchies that stand on the roadside. Campsite shenanigans keep your interest when you get bored of watching the racing after 20 minutes. Enjoy watching Renault 5 engines mounted in shopping trolleys running flat out, and then fail to sleep to the sound of a hundred rev limiters, ace.

18. Do your next trackday abroad

When: Summer dates
Where: Almeria, Catalunya, Jerez
Cost: from £399 through organisers, £300 done on the cheap

If you're bored of Cadwell and you've done Donington to death, try your next trackday at one of Spain's incredible circuits. The cheap way of doing it is to contact the tracks direct, hire a van with two other mates and share all your costs on the drive down. Or just go through one of the big trackday companies.

17. Ride the the Baja 1000 course

When: All year round
Where: Ensenada, Mexico
Cost: Prices start at £800

Follow in the tyre-marks of one of the world's toughest desert races. One of the last places on earth where you can blast a motorcycle along miles of open beach one minute, then be picking your way through technical, rocky stages the next. Bring plenty of cash, expect to crash, and prepare for the Mexican nightlife which is as bawdy as legend has it. Excellent.

16. Blaze across New Zealand

When: January-February every year
Where: South Island, New Zealand
Cost: From £2,500

Covering over 1,000 miles nearly all off-road, this a five-day trail ride with so many differences. Much of it runs through massive natural forests using gold miners' trails, and this is a ride that takes you clean away from civilisation. That which you do find is circa 1950's. Advanced riders will love the mountain plateaus, vast river crossings, miners' tunnels to ride through and lonely rides through vast empty valleys. Tiring, but this is a trip you won't want to end.

15. Enter a race

When: You're bored of trackdays
Where: Donington is forgiving
Cost: £500 approx.

Think you are quick? Then put your money where your mouth is. The first corner of your first race is like no other feeling in the world as 30-odd bikes all fight it out for the same inch if track. Have you got what it takes, do you have the inner-devil? Go on, find out.  If the drama of signing forms and attending scrutineering is putting you off, companies now do rent-a-race bikes where the will sort out entry, get the bike to the track and deal with fuel, tyres and even crash damage. All you need is an ACU licence and the bottle to do it. What's stopping you?

14. Raid on Moscow

When: June to August is best
Where: Moscow, Russia
Cost: Visas £78, budget for fuel and accommodation of £800

Ride to Russia. There is one road between Berlin and Moscow, but it is still a battle to get there. Moscow is 2,000 miles away and you have to go through France, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Belarus and finally Russia to get there. The sights, sounds and smells of the former communist country are as far removed from home as you can get while Moscow itself is surprisingly European. The trip can be done in 10 days easily, but the more time you can take the better the experience. Glasnost!

13. Go dune riding in Dubai

When: November to April
Where: Dubai, UAE
Cost: Around £800 all-in

For some bizarre reason people go on holiday in Dubai. Once you've stayed at a hotel that looks like a sail and done a bit of shopping, you realise that there's literally nothing there apart from sand, so the only decent thing to do is ride on it. Trading Enterprises Honda in Dubai will, for the right money, loan you a CR250, but pack a GPS and plenty of water should you head out into the miles of sand. The dunes are incredible, the potential jumps are enormous, but plenty of people have died out there from dehydration.

12. Get high on Enduro Himalaya

Where: Lower Himalayas, India
Cost: £3,000

Ride a motorcycle at 18,000ft in God's own back garden, and you can't help but be humbled. Over 2,000 kilometres of dusty, filthy roads with boulders the size of cars push many to their limits, yawning 500 metre drop-offs spell certain death for anyone who goes over the edge, and altitude sickness is a very real and constant threat. It's a proper adventure.

11. Ride with a GP legend

When: Various summer dates
Where: Atlanta, America
Cost: Flights £450, £1,000 for course including bike hire

Kevin Schwantz is a legend. Simple. He crashed his tits off until he worked out how to make the evil Suzuki RGV500 handle and then took the 500 GP title. His bin it or win it style won him an army of fans, and this school gives you the chance to ride with the great man himself. Schwantz turns up to every day, rides on-track with the pupils, instructs one-to-one and is there to give advice. It's like having your hero as your best mate all day.

10. Cruise Route 66

When: May - September
Where: West coast USA
Cost: £80 per day, £450 flights

One of the best rides in the world is from state to state in the USA. There are loads of companies that will rent you a Harley-Davidson in Los Angeles. After that, it's up to you. Follow Highway One north towards San Francisco to escape the hell of LA, then cut eastwards through the stunning scenery of the Napa Valley and on towards Montana and Utah. Marvel at the tiny size of Mount Rushmore, be treated as a god by other road users, stay at motels owned by genuinely scary hillbillies, and cruise long into the night.

9. Own every type of bike

When: monthly, or longer
Cost: varies

Break the mould, leave your comfort zone and experience motorcycling from all the different angles by owning every single type of bike. If you've always ridden sports bikes try a cruiser, swap a naked for a big tourer and ride a cruiser instead of sticking to adventure bikes. You never know, you might actually like it.

8. Get lost in Costa Rica

When: November to March is best
Where: San Jose, Costa Rica
Cost: Budget for £1,000 all-in

Costa Rica is easily reached via flights to the USA and is the perfect winter holiday. Stunning beaches, beautiful women, friendly locals and proper unspoilt jungles. Rent a bike from a Tico (local) and they'll charge you less than £15 per day for an old XL200. Ride from Tamarindo on the west coast across to the Caribbean side.

7. Rent a 500 GP bike

Where: A UK track of your choice
Cost:  £1,000+

So what if the guy in the garage next to you has got an MV Agusta, nobody will give him a second glance as you head out on a genuine 500 GP bike. Smell the fumes, feel the fear, crack the throttle open and try not to highside. It's not cheap, but it's the last of the great V4 two-strokes!

6. Ride the Erzberg Rally

Where: Eisenerz, Austria
Cost: £45 entrance for weekend

Watching or taking part is an adventure of huge proportions at the Erzberg Rally. Watch David Knight duffing up Pastrana and his mates on the side of a quarry. The weather is always good and the beer flows while you watch 1,200 lunatics try their very best not to die. An average of around 20 finish. This is the Glastonbury of off-road events. Watch at your leisure, enter at your peril.

5. Restore a classic

When: winter is perfect for projects
Where: your garage

Forget the faux modern retro bikes like the Bonneville and the V7 Guzzis, pick up a proper classic and return it to its former glory. When restoring a classic make sure you carefully plan and choose a model where all or at least the majority of the spare parts are still readily available, either from local dealers or the web. The best thing about a owning and restoring a vintage bike is that more often than not you can have one for years without losing loads of money, or even better you could make some.

4. Ride six countries in six days

When: June - August
Where: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia
Cost: Budget £1,000+ for a week

Drink yourself stupid on warm vodka in Poland, witness the most appalling standard of driving in Slovakia, enjoy the beauty of Lithuania and fight with border guards in Estonia. The women are impossibly beautiful and while there aren't any great mountain roads, the lavish cities and depth of history make Eastern Europe an adventure with a real difference.

3. Follow Che Guevara's ride through South America

Where: Santiago, Chile
Cost: £4,999

This massive adventure is 33 days in length and covers 5,000 miles across Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina as you re-trace parts of Che's ride made famous in the film Motorcycle Diaries. On rented Kawasaki KLR650s you'll climb to an impossible 21,000ft as you work through the Andean mountain range. Not for wimps or poor people.

2. Midnight run

When: Tonight
Where: Motorway of your choice
Cost: Free
Contact: Your mates

Pick your nearest motorway, ring some mates that are up for it, wait until 1am and go mental. Not just fast between a junction for a giggle, but absolutely flat-stick for a whole tank of fuel. Not recommended for those of a nervous disposition but a hell of an adventure.

1. Take the ultimate pillion ride

Where: MotoGP venues
Cost: £1,500+

Grab a pillion ride on the most powerful GP bike ever made, the Ducati Desmodieci, ridden by bald lunatic Randy Mamola in front of a MotoGP audience. You can either bribe Ducati (quite possible since they're Italian) or contact charity organisation Riders for Health, who have an extremely limited number of seats to give away at the British GP and the World Ducati Weekend. It's truly terrifying and you'll never get on the back of a bike again.

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