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Since 1999, the #1 Motorcycling Magazine for Women and the Men Who Ride with Them

Why You Should Ride a Motorcycle in Italy Once in Your Life with VIDEO

Recap of my motorcycle ride of central Italy and what you should know before going on an organized motorcycle tour

By Genevieve Schmitt, Editor

Future Tours with Women Riders Now
At the time of writing this article, ideas for a second WRN "Ladies First" motorcycle tour are still being bounced around, but there are no plans in place yet. This tour of Italy that WRN hosted with Hear the Road Motorcycle Tours Italy was a one-time opportunity. I am taking what I learned to organize a future tour at a different, but no less amazing destination. 

If you wish to tour Italy on a motorcycle, you can rent a bike and map your own route, or hire a tour company like we did. You should expect a tour company to go beyond finding the best roads and booking the best hotels. We all could do that on our own.

Important Questions to Ask a Tour Operator
1. What is the pace of the tour? Fast, slow, a more wanderers pace? While experienced tour operators will tell you the ride captain goes only as fast as the slowest person, you never want to feel like you’re the slow poke holding up the group. So, it’s important the ride pace is communicated to you ahead of time. 

2. What are the roads like that you’ll be riding? Most likely they will be twisties of all kind since that is so much of what makes motorcycle touring exciting. We had our fair share of curvy roads that made the experienced riders excited, but the less experienced ones a little skittish. I recommend at least 10,000 miles under your belt riding on all kinds of roadways and in all weather conditions before thinking of riding in a group of other riders you don’t know. 

3. How long has the tour operator been in business and how many tours has he or she and their ride captain / tour guides done? Obviously longevity indicates experience. The more experienced they are, the better your experience will be and the better they'll be at anticipating your needs. I find women appreciate this more than men. 

4. What is the tour company’s policy on drinking alcohol during riding hours? I say this because in Italy, wine is considered an acceptable beverage at lunch because of its minimal alcohol content. If riding with folks who’ve indulged during lunch bothers you, you should know ahead of time. 

I put together a list of more questions to ask after I went on another tour in 2010. You can read that story here.

More Suggestions if You Travel to Italy
• Bring more Euros than you think you’ll need. In some of the smaller towns, credit cards are not accepted everywhere. 

• Bring several credit cards in case you lose one, or one gets stolen while you’re on vacation. The couple on our tour was notified by their credit card company that their card number was being used fraudulently so subsequently that card was no good the rest of the tour. Fortunately, they had another one with them.

• When choosing the motorcycle you will rent from the tour company, choose one smaller than you’re used to riding. Italy, with its narrow roads, off-camber turns, and tiny parking spaces is not a place to test ride a bigger model you’re thinking of buying, as one of our participants did. We should have advised her otherwise. There are enough “foreign” variables to deal with when riding in Italy or any foreign country for that matter. Handling and maneuvering your motorcycle should be easy and stress-free. 

why you should ride a motorcycle in italy once in your life women on harleys
Joy on the Road King (foreground), Monica next to her on the Street Glide, and Michele behind them on the Fat Boy all commented they wish they had chosen smaller motorcycles.

• What kind of insurance coverage is there on the motorcycle you’ll be renting? Make sure you read the contract inside and out and know exactly what you’re signing should something happen to the motorcycle, even if it gets a scratch while you have it.

• Pack light. While we had a chase vehicle that carried our luggage, I wish I didn’t bring as much as much gear as I did. Motorcycle outerwear is bulky and takes up a lot of space in your suitcase leaving little room left for your regular clothes. Do your best to pair down to the minimal essentials. I probably didn’t need two pairs of gloves. I had an extra pair in case I lost a glove.

why you should ride a motorcycle in italy once in your life what to bring
I packed many of the moisture-wicking easy-wear-and-wash clothes that I hike in, including socks, underwear, and shirts so I could launder them in the hotel sink every few days and hang to dry.

There is so much more I could share about my tour and touring in Italy in general, but this is a good guide to get you started. If you’re seriously considering riding a motorcycle Italy or using the tour company we went with, please feel free to contact me in person at and I can answer any questions you may have. 

why you should ride a motorcycle in italy once in your life lunch
This sums up my experience of this WRN Ladies First tour: the camaraderie of riders enjoying a local’s lunch in Italy, all of whom were strangers just a few days before this photo was taken.

To see more photos, visit my Postcards from Italy: Preview of Inaugural Trip story I posted as a teaser when I first returned.

Further research:

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