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FEATURE: Five of the best adventure motorcycle experiences

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by Damien Sharkov and Thomas Waddingham

There are bikers who dare to dream out loud of riding out into some great, exotic unknown and there are those who will lie to you and harbour their desires in silence.

Touring is rough seas, there is no question about it, but every rider with a few long stretches of dirt on their mileage has an Odyssey to regale you with.

Some are so compelling that, even if just a tenth of them is not total hokum, they summon that itch in your revving hand.

"My two favourite trips were to northern Finland in summer time, and in Morocco in January time," Jonty Edmunds from Enduro21 tells us.

"Both were amazing, very different, but similar in that they both embraced different terrain, wide open spaces, and a real sense of adventure."

Today is one of those days when cabin fever has been rife at MotorbikeTimes and we have gathered some friends to inspire us away from the grey fumes of central London and into a livelier corner of the globe.

If you find yourself planning a trip, feel free to borrow our notes. Here are our five best adventure experiences:

Dust Devils, Spain

We start with probably the best traditional off-road experience out there. No long-distance flights or uncharted territories. A trek through the Spanish south on KTMs, with an expert Enduro rider at the helm and as many miles of dust and sun behind your back as you want, is the painting we are to paint to you now.

If all you want is Enduro terrain, Andalucian sun and enough time on a KTM bike to get some dirt, air and miles, Dust Devils is for you.

A breakdown of three packages is available - Bronze, Silver and Gold. Day rates start at £170 and include bike hire and one of Dust Devils' five expert guides.

Dust Devils also offer customers a 10% discount on local hotels, and that extends to non-riders travelling along.

What's more, when rooms are booked through them at the NH Marbella, you get full spa access after a day of hard trekking.

"Riding dirt bikes has being a way of life for me for nearly 40 years; I have made many friends and experienced many challenges. Dust Devils Adventure Tours is my new challenge one I am passionate about," says Mark 'Jacko' Jackson.

Jacko has several Erzberg rodeos on his CV and recently finished fourth in the 2012 ACU Extreme Enduro Championship.

"I have seen the best the World has to offer and I am still amazed by what we have here in Marbella," adds Jacko.

His team of instructors are handpicked by him and they are the pace setters for your adventure. The premise, the pitch, the gist, is simple; all it is missing is you out there.

Spyder Club, Europe

The Spyder Club comes with a huge reputation of boasting a selection of some of the best bikes on the market and the most remarkable destinations on the continent.

The rules are simple: a £500 membership fee buys you access to the club's fleet of bikes on a 'pay as you go basis'.

So, who is welcome in Spyder? "Any bike enthusiast who likes the idea of riding more motorcycles without the time or financial commitment of having to own them," Director Marc tells us invitingly.

"The average member and trip guest owns three bikes of their own; they just like the idea of riding more!"

We see a Ducati Diavel among the ranks of bikes owned by the club. - a bike that is rarely out of its depth.

So does Mark have a favourite ride from the plethora of motorcycles at Spyder Club? "I loved the Ducati 848 for years, but the 899 is so much better," he says. The club own both.

"The KTM SMT is brilliant, the Griso SE always brought a smile to my face and my personal Street Triple R does everything," Mark adds.

The club has acquired 90 motorcycles in the last six years and currently offers tours to anywhere from the Scottish Highlands to the slopes of Tuscany and from the valleys of Wales to the snows of Normandy.

Pick the right time of year and you might find yourself in Andalucia, French wine country, and who knows where else!

We cannot leave Mark alone before we have asked about the rumours there is a Norton bike in the mix at Spyder.

"The Bimota and Norton are truly memorable experiences," he tells us, before admitting that both are currently not in the running.

"After a year of very reliable riding in 2012, 2013 was the complete opposite and we didn't get the backup we needed so [the Norton] had to go. It's a shame as when it worked, it worked!"

The Lost Adventure, USA

The United States of America is quintessential road trip terrain. About 2,700 miles separate Orlando, Florida and Los Angeles, California and each rider will undoubtedly want to find his or her own particular distractions along the way.

That is why The Lost Adventure offers the opportunity to lease a bike for £899 and make the trip your own, going unguided, so long as you make it from A to B.

"Riders are expected to head off and ride however they choose, whether that be into close groups or individually," says Jim McDermott from The Lost Adventure.

"You can ride alone or as a group and re-join each other at a later point if you so wish."

Why? Well at the end of the Florida Rental season there are a lot of bikes that need to get back to California for the west coast summer season.

So instead of transporting all the Harleys in trailers, The Lost Adventure has come up with a great way to get the bikes back west.

The £899 covers the hiring of the bikes only. All other expenses such as petrol, accommodation, insurance, food and water etc. are not part of the trip.

The trip consists of travelling through some great, exotic places such as Louisiana swampland, New Orleans, Texas Hill Country, Austin, the Aircraft Grave Yard, Las Vegas, bits of Route 66, San Diego, and Hollywood.

Bike Normandy, France

Francophile bikers are at a kind of quagmire when they plan their trips through Normandy, Langue-doc, Bordeaux and Champagne.

What good is the freedom of a bike trip if you cannot let your hair down and smell the roses, or in this instance taste the vines?

Thankfully John and Jen Eggleton have organised a continental experience which combines some of the continent's loveliest sights, with overnight accommodation and aperitifs at every kind of wine lover's Mecca.

One of the packages on offer, stretching for 1,000 miles between Le Havre and Dieppe, takes a detour through Magny Cours and includes Champagne tasting in the nearby town of Reims.

At £575 per person, it is among the cheaper packages on offer and still manages to squeeze in four nights' hotel accommodation with breakfast and two evening meals with wine.

John and Jen guide every tour and are followed by their friends and beloved backmarkers John and Rita.

Having started Bike Normandy in 2003, John and Jen have accompanied more trips in Europe than any other UK Motorcycle Tour company, so if you are in for a couple-friendly, continental getaway, you could not be in safer hands.

"We always operate a 'second man drop off marker system' so that you ride at your pace and are never under any pressure to keep up," say John and Jen.

"But there will always be someone at the next junction, showing you the way."

While all trips pass through France, depending on the package you choose, you could well find yourself polishing up on your German, Spanish or even Flemish, as some routes will take you to Luxembourg, Monte Carlo, Belgium and even northern Spain.

Motorcycles and Mountains, Nepal

"These little machines can handle anything," says Michael Burns as he points to the flock of Royal Enfields behind him.

Going by his Scotch accent, Michael is no stranger to mountainous terrain, though he offers an experience through places quite removed from the Britain's Highlands.

Motorcycles and Mountains takes you through the Himalayas on the world's most beloved sets of cafe racing beauties. Tibet, India and Nepal await.

"The trip was as more about exploring a wonderful region and engaging with the culture as it was about hauling a retro bike above the snow line, and I definitely felt that we were off the tourist trail," says rider Sam Wilkin.

Royal Enfield Classic 500cc Bullets are ridden on all trips due to their famous torque and fuel efficiency.

Bike deposits are £500 and tours range from £4,000 - 6,000, though you do get to pick from some of the world's most remarkable sights as your destination.

Each tour has at least a few nights in luxury hotels along the way and all meals and non-alcoholic drinks are covered.

You will also, of course, have the support of either Michael or colleague Dawa, as, tough as you might be, even Sir Edmonton Hillary did not brave the Himalayas alone.

"Every day was different, with a perfect balance between riding through truly spectacular & breathtakingly beautiful landscape, both on & off road and dipping into local culture," says rider David.

This one is not for the feint hearted but then again, how many motorcycle adventures are?

Grab a compass!

After all that, the wanderlust is stronger in us, certainly after hearing some more of Jonty's tales.

"The trip in Northern Finland was great, we rode to the Russian border and it was amazing how much space, and how few people were around.

"It was six motorcyclists, thousands of trees, gravel roads, and reindeer.... lots of them!" smiles Jonty.

We begin flipping through our calendars. There is an adventure for everybody on a bike out there. It is merely a question of picking a destination.

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