Long-distance riding is the activity of riding motorcycles over long distances, both competitively and as a pastime. A goal of long-distance riding is to explore one's endurance while riding a motorcycle, sometimes across several countries.
Non-competitive forms of long-distance riding are typically a form of motorcycle touring, sometimes as part of an organised rally. Competitive long-distance motorcycle riding consist in riding in endurance events such as the French Bol d'Or and the 24 Heures du Mans, with a popular target being to cover 1,000 miles in a day.
Long-distance riders may participate in a number of structured and unstructured events.
Endurance riders sometimes engage in endurance events known as rallies. Rallies take on a multitude of formats, differing in duration (anywhere from 8 hours to 11 days), style, types of roads ridden and so forth. Some rallies have been referred to as "advanced scavenger hunts" and require participants to locate specific locations (a series of "Little House on the Prairie" locations, for instance), perform specific tasks (take a Polaroid photograph of a giant baseball bat, write down time, date and mileage and so forth), and sundry other items during the duration of the rally.
Iron Butt Rally
The 'Olympics' of all endurance rallies is the Iron Butt Rally (also known as the IBR, the Big Show, or the Butt). This event takes place over eleven days, usually in late August, on odd numbered years, and is run by the Iron Butt Association. In the early years this was an obscure event with only a dozen or so riders. Over the past decade or so, as distance riding has gained in popularity, the event has become so crowded that the IBA has imposed a limit of 125 riders. Entry is via lottery and discretion of the rallymasters. The basic concept is a lap around the lower 48 United States, with possible diversions into Canada and Alaska. There are interim checkpoints, at which the rider must appear within a brief time window or forfeit any bonus points acquired on that leg. The Iron Butt Rally, like all endurance rallies, is not a race. There is no advantage to arriving early at a checkpoint. The goal is to earn the most points, which are not directly related to number of miles traveled. The winning rider may not be the one with the most miles ridden.
Other endurance rides recognized by the Iron Butt Association are not competitions, but are documented rides (such as the Saddlesore 1000, the BunBurner 1500, the BunBurner Gold 1500, the 100 Coast-to-Coast-to-Coast insanity) that require the rider to meticulously record mileage, fuel taken on and other factors in order to complete a documented ride.
There are plenty of other rallies, shorter and easier to get into, available to the competitive and fun-seeking long-distance rider. Some popular 24-hr rallies are the Utah 1088, Minuteman 1000, Land of Enchantment 1000, Mason Dixon 20-20, Not Superman Rally, Texas Two Step, Cal 24, Minnesota 1000, and many others. For those looking for an IBR-like event, there are multi-day rallies such as the Butt Lite, Northwest Passage, and newcomers Spank and Ten 'N Ten. These rallies are all put on by rallymasters and volunteers who devote countless unpaid hours to their events. The riders themselves are competing for nothing more than bragging rights and the personal challenge. These rallies are also viewed as training grounds for the 11-day Iron Butt Rally.
Notable long-distance riders
- Carl Stearns Clancy, the first motorcyclist to circle the globe, in 1912/13.
- Dave Barr — Vietnam veteran who became the first double-amputee to circumnavigate the world on a motorcycle
- Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman — riding for the books and TV series Long Way Round, Long Way Down, and Long Way Up
- Simon and Monika Newbound — world record for motorcycle endurance
- Neil Peart — drummer of rock band Rush, who undertook a long-distance ride from his home in Quebec, Canada, across Canada to Alaska and then down to Mexico and Belize after the deaths of his daughter and wife—a ride that was later documented in the book Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road
- Paul Pelland — riding to raise money for multiple sclerosis charities
- Benka Pulko — Slovenian motorcyclist who holds two Guinness World Records for her 5.5 year, 7 continent trip
- Nick Sanders — Guinness World Record for fastest circumnavigation of the world by motorcycle in 1997
- Kevin and Julia Sanders — broke Nick Sanders' record in 2002 and broke the record for the Pan American Highway in 2003
- Ted Simon — 64,000-mile (103,000 km) ride through 45 countries was documented in his books Jupiter's Travels and Riding High
- Kane Avellano — Guinness World Record for youngest person to circumnavigate the world by motorcycle (solo and unsupported) at the age of 23 in 2017. 
- Mark Holmes (motorcyclist) - the first person to circumnavigate the world on a 2,300cc. Triumph Rocket X. (2017-2018).
- Hill, Geoff (2014). In Clancy's Boots: The Greatest Ever Round-the-World Motorbike Adventure. Blackstaff Press. ISBN 978-0-85640-913-4
- "Dave Barr". The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "Actors complete 'Long Way' ride". BBC News. 2007-08-04. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "World biking couple's record hope". BBC News. 25 May 2005. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
- Peart, Neil (2002). Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road. ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-546-4.
- "One Man with MS One Million Miles Long Haul Paul". Ability Magazine (interview). Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Inman, Gary (6 July 2002). "Man with a global view". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- Guinness World Records 2001. Guinness World Records Ltd. 2000. pp. 34. ISBN 978-1-892051-01-1.
- Tim Walker (29 September 2005), How to have a real adventure: Take a train or get on a bike to experience the thrill of travel as it used to be, The Independent (UK), retrieved 2010-03-23
- Simon, Ted (1980). Jupiter's Travels. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-005410-3.
- Simon, Ted (1998). Riding High. Jupitalia Productions. ISBN 0-9654785-1-3.
- Whitmore 1, John (6 November 2004). "We're all the same". The Daily Telegraph.
- "Youngest person to circumnavigate the globe by motorcycle (male)". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
|Wikibooks has a book on the topic of: Intercontinental Motorcycle Touring|
- AREM/IBA Mexico Asphalt Rats Endurance Motorcycling (location: Mexico)
- Bracebridge Native takes Motorcycle Ride to the ‘End of the World’ by Karen Longwell, July 8, 2009
- List of long-distance motorcycle riders