To make sure the tour fits your needs, we have given a number of options for this tour.
The tour starts in Folkestone in the UK for everyone. We take the Eurotunnel train to cross the English Channel. The standard tour is a six-and-a-half day ride to Senigallia, 3 nights at the rally, then a 3-day ride back to the UK via mainly motorways.
You can then choose to stay in a 3-star hotel right on the beach in Senigallia (just an 8-minute walk to the rally site), or for a supplement of £170 (or £85 per person sharing), you can choose to stay at a 4-star hotel very close to the rally site. It’s first come, first served on the choice of hotels.
For the return journey back to the UK, depending on how much time you have, you can choose between blasting back in 3 days mainly on motorways (the base tour), or you can choose a better 5 day ride which includes a stop over in Venice (with a guided tour of the city by Tour1), riding the wonderfully dramatic San Boldo Pass, riding in the wonderful Dolomite mountains and then riding the spectacular Grossglockner Pass, before getting back on faster motorway roads to Calais. There is a supplement of £400 (or £200 per person sharing), to take this extended ride back.
If you want to ride wonderful and scenic roads, with someone else making all the arrangements, then riding with Tour1 is for you. We are hugely experienced tour operators having ridden all over Europe and we know where the best roads are.
The tour concentrates on riding terrific roads in wonderful landscapes. Many of the roads we have selected for the tour run through mountains, alongside rivers or through glorious countryside – our aim is to put a huge smile on your face as you ride east towards Italy and back again.
The standard tour departs Folkestone on Friday 31 May 2024 and this includes taking 3-days to ride back to the UK, so returns to Folkestone at around 5pm on Tuesday 11 June 2024.
The extended tour departs Folkestone on Friday 31 May 2024 and this includes taking 5-days to ride back to the UK, and returns to Folkestone at around 2pm on Thursday 13 June 2024.
Day One (Friday, 31 May)
We catch a Eurotunnel train from Folkestone to Calais early on the Friday morning. The aim of today is to get to the great roads further south, so we use some motorway to get there. We stop for lunch in the beautiful city of Laon which rises up above the surrounding plains. We have lunch next to its spectacular cathedral.
We then visit the old motor-racing circuit Reims-Gueux, which used to host grand-prix racing. The now abandoned pit buildings make a great back-drop to photograph Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
We stay the night in Chalons-En-Champagne.
Day Two (Saturday, 1 June)
Having ridden on motorway yesterday, we completely avoid them today and instead ride some wonderful roads in rural France. For the morning, we have chosen little-known country roads that take us southeast across mainly farming areas before arriving at Mirecourt for lunch. In the afternoon the roads become amazing as we ride through the low-lying Vosges Mountains before staying at a remote 4-star hotel set in a forest.
Riding in the Vosges Mountains is a warm-up for what is to follow!
Day Three (Sunday, 2 June)
The scenery completely changes today as we get to ride some of Tour1’s favourite high alpine roads in the Alps!
First we ride through some wonderful scenery in the UNESCO Biosphere Entlebuch before riding some nice twisty roads overlooking Sarnersee.
Then after lunch we rise up the Alps to ride Grimsel Pass and the wonderful Furka Pass, used in the James Bond film, Goldfinger. There are some spectacular views from Furka Pass. It is a truly great days riding on some terrific roads set in amazing scenery.
Day Four (Monday, 3 June)
This morning we ride another great road, Nufenen Pass and then a short section of motorway carries us towards the border with Italy. We ride alongside Lake Maggiore before heading off into the hills above the lake on some very twisty roads.
We stay the night just west of Milan (but don’t go into this busy city).
Day Five (Tuesday, 4 June)
This morning we ride across the plains of northern Italy before entering the hills between Bologna and the west coast, where the riding becomes fabulous. There are great roads here for riding motorcycles.
We stop in places that haven’t changed much for hundreds of years.
In the afternoon we enter the area of Tuscany, famous for its beautiful rolling hills.
We stay the night in a remote location in wonderful scenery.
Day Six (Wednesday, 5 June)
This is a very special day, riding more wonderful roads in Tuscany. The roads are very twisty and a joy to ride.
We are close to Florence in the morning, but do not enter the city as it can be very busy, but instead stick to the terrific roads, especially to its south.
In the afternoon, we visit the beautiful square in Siena, where twice a year they run the famous horse races. The square is a UNESCO world Heritage site and it is easy to see why.
There are more fabulous roads to ride in the afternoon and we stay the night in the beautiful city of Cortona, perched high on a hill overlooking the surrounding plains. Wonderful stuff!
Day Seven (Thursday, 6 June)
From Cortona we have a short ride of about 3 hours to get to Senigallia and we should arrive at the rally site by mid-afternoon. There are of course, more great roads to ride to get there as we head east across Italy.
At the Rally
There is always much to see and do at the Harley-Davidson main European rally. The rally site hosts bands, dealer displays, demonstrator bikes, vendors, bars and all shapes and sizes of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. On our arrival day of Thursday, or perhaps on Friday morning, we will have a group orientation ride / walk to ensure you all know where the various rally activities take place.
For most of your time in Senigallia, from Thursday afternoon to Sunday morning, you are able to do as you please, whether that is ride in the local area, visit the rally site, watch some of the live bands on the main stage, or visit the custom bike show – it is up to you. If your partner wants to fly down to the rally and spend time with you, there is only a small charge for your partner to stay at the hotel.
On the Friday afternoon we are likely to walk to the location of the custom motorcycle show.
On the Saturday, if you wish, you can join thousands of others in riding in the parade.
The rally officially ends on the Sunday, 9 June 2024 and it is on that day we start the journey back to the UK. Here are the two options for the ride back…..
OPTION 1 (for those who need to get back to the UK quickly)
This is the main option in the standard tour and involves riding back across Europe to Calais over three days (Sunday 9th, Monday 10th, Tuesday 11th June) mainly on motorways. The hotels and the return Channel Tunnel crossing for this option are all included as part of the tour.
OPTION 2 (for those with a little more time and who want some more fun on the way home)
This alternative takes 5 days to get back to the UK and includes three great things to see / ride.
On Sunday 9 June, we will ride using motorways direct to Venice, arriving mid-afternoon. We will stay just outside of Venice (no vehicles allowed in Venice itself) and catch a short train journey into Venice. You will then be treated to a guided tour of Venice by Gary France and taking a Vaporetto water bus along the Grand Canal, we will see many of the cities famous waterfront building and the famous Rialto Bridge. We will get off the Vaporetto at St Marks Square, to see the basilica and the Bridge of Sighs. Should you wish, you can ride in a Gondola (not included in the tour price). We will eat in a restraunt in Venice before catching a train back to our hotel.
On Monday 10 June, we ride north out of Venice and do two great things. First we ride the fabulous San Boldo pass, famous for its road having 5 hairpin bends in tunnels. Then in the afternoon, we ride the best roads in the Dolomite Mountains (Sella Pass, Gardena Pass, Valparola Pass and the road to Cortina).
On Tuesday 11 June, we ride one of the best motorcycle roads in the world, Grossglockner Pass. It is simply stunning. We stay the night just north west of Munich.
On Tuesday 12 and Wednesday 13 June, we crack on with getting back to Calais by using mainly motorways and we will arrive back in Folkestone at around 2pm, ready for most people to ride home that day.
With option 2, the hotels and the return Channel Tunnel crossing for are all included as part of the tour, but there is a supplement of £400 to pay for this option).
Our group sizes normally range from 10 to 14 motorcycles. Due to the likely popularity of this tour, we will run two groups.
Each day, we normally start riding at 8.30am sharp and cover in the region of 150 to 200 miles. We try to avoid motorways wherever possible and only use these when there is no real alternative. We take mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and of course find somewhere for lunch. Our plan is to normally arrive at that evening’s hotel by around 6pm.
We use good quality hotels – not super luxury and not bottom end, but mid-range – normally 3 and 4-star.
We ride at a pace to suit all of the riders. We stick to all speed limits in towns, but in rural areas we ride at, let’s call them ‘more appropriate’ speeds. We generally ride in staggered convoy on straighter roads.
As we have pre-booked hotels and a schedule to stick to, we ride in all weathers. During any exceptionally inclement weather, we will pull over for short periods. We could experience a range of different types of weather, so bring waterproofs, just in case.
We like these tours to be about having a real adventure, riding on great roads with like-minded people. For that reason, we do not use a support van, but we always have a back-marker.
Payments – we require a £400 deposit to be paid when you book a tour, with the balance to be paid in four equal payments, nine, seven, five and three months before the tour starts. If you prefer, you can pay the balance of the cost of the tour earlier than this.
*Ride Difficulty Rating
Each of our rides has a difficulty rating and this tour is rated as ‘moderate’. That means this tour is not recommended for new riders. You should have at least four years of riding experience on large motorcycles. You must have ridden on the right-hand side of the road before and you must be comfortable with travelling in a group of riders and be able to keep a good pace within that group. We do not ride fast, but at the same time, it is better if riders do not go too slowly.
The route does include some high mountain passes with a few tight hairpins, but these are not the really dramatic hairpins found on say, Stelvio Pass.
While there is not much motorway riding on the tour, as a guide, the group will be riding at speeds of 75mph on motorways. You must be confident of riding in rain and on wet roads. Each day’s riding will be around 9 hours, with breaks. You should be able to ride all day. If you are at all unsure if your riding ability is good enough for this tour, then you must contact us by telephone to discuss.