Aug 20, 2021
Being out on the open road is a freedom unlike any other. From riding solo and enjoying the thrill of escaping the city to riding with friends, it’s a totally unique experience — and the undeniable inspiration of the new Barbour International Tourer collection. To celebrate its launch, we took a tour of some of the most iconic biking routes in the UK with original motorcyclists Sam Barham and Ethan Roach, to give us their guide to hitting the UK’s best riding trails.
Route #1: North Coast 500, Scottish Highlands
“No.1 on my list is a little closer to home. NC500 in the Scottish Highlands is spectacular. I have been fortunate enough to ride some beautiful places but there aren’t many spots in the world that beat this incredible route when the sun is shining.” — Sam Barham
Starting and ending at Inverness Castle, the NC500 takes you on a tour of the incredible Scottish Highlands. A scenic trip covering 500 miles of the open road, passing through the rugged countryside, rural villages and stunning coastal scenery. A route weaved with rich Scottish history and heritage.
Packing for the Perfect Ride:
Ethan: Pack light and go with the essentials — no fuss. If you’re doing day rides this is fairly easy (roll bags or backpacks are more than enough), but if you're planning a camping trip or tour over a longer period you need to be ruthless.
I try to separate clothing and essentials into a backpack or saddlebag/pannier. Then that usually leaves a little space for a snack and drink etc in another side bag. I think the perfect set-up would take years to get right, all I know for sure is I usually throw some stuff away mid-trip or wish I’d packed something I hadn’t...a blow-up pillow for one!
Route #2: The Evo Triangle, North Wales
“The appeal of the open road is just stepping out of your current circumstance, getting on a bike and just setting off” — Sam Barham
Around every sweeping bend of the Evo Triangle lies the adventure. A place where every turn transports you into a different scene and every switch-bend takes you into what feels like a different world. From mountain passes to rolling green hills its roads are yours for the making.
Out on the Open Road
Sam: The open road is my sanctuary. It is a place where I feel free. Somewhere to leave your thoughts behind, take a deep breath and just ride. There doesn’t have to be a destination nor some long adventure traversing epic landscapes. It just needs you, the bike and the thrill of opening the throttle. That is what I love about the open road.
Route #3: The Dartmoor Loop, South West England
“I think biking makes you in the moment, from the moment you get on there, it really makes you present” — Ethan Roach
Famed for its myths, legends and wilderness, Dartmoor offers some of the best riding routes in the UK. As a former training spot for the military, you can expect to be tested to your riding limits but surrounded by the 370-square miles of beautiful scenery in its national park.
The Tourer Collection
Ethan: This Barbour International Tourer collection feels like a great mix between the older classic styles we’re used to seeing of Barbour International and an edgier street look. I really liked the Transmission overshirt, it has a great workwear style feel and being a zip-up is a nice touch. The Stove Wax Jacket is also a really nice product, it definitely has a Steve McQueen feel with a nod towards the classic Harrington jackets and Bomber jacket style combined with the classic wax finish. It’s the perfect essential for going between seasons.
Sam: For me, it's all about layers. This allows you to adjust to the conditions and make sure you’re always feeling the best. Warmth is gained by those great mid-layers and this collection has them in abundance. Knowing they are covered with a waxed cotton jacket gives you confidence on the road that matches your style.
The Makings of an Original
Sam: An original is someone who is comfortable making bold decisions. It's not always about going against the grain, it's about being confident in your decisions — knowing that there are never mistakes, only learning curves. No one ever became an original without making a mistake or two along the way.