Peter-Jan Willems is the founder of Motorcycle Diaries. Think of it as the ultimate trip planner for motorcycle fans. The website has a great route-planning tool that helps you find the perfect route for your rides. But Motorcycle Diaries is much more besides. The brand produces a lot of inspirational content, from films to features, as well as a series of books that bring the world’s best rides to life in a beautifully evocative way. Peter-Jan tells us more about the latest volume.
Peter-Jan, can you tell us more about the new Motorcycle Diaries book?
Every year we make an offline edition of Motorcycle Diaries. It’s an 184-page book where we give people an opportunity to see some of the great stories from our website but allowing you to see big, beautiful pictures, to give even better inspiration for motorcycle journeys. There’s also lot of exclusive content like routes and trips that aren’t on the website, and a QR code on the pages that takes you to either a film or the route from the article. That makes it quite interactive. Despite digital, everyone still likes to have a book in their hands and see nice things. This is the reason we do the book.
Is the book international?
Yes, the book is in English and covers the world. For this issue we haven’t been able to travel so much this year, but we still managed to get some great stories and visit amazing roads: this volume of the book covers, for instance, the south of Spain, France, Belgium, Columbia, Croatia, Iceland, Morocco, German, Denmark, Sweden and Ethiopia. We have lots of contributors around the world.
What’s the ethos behind Motorcycle Diaries?
If you go to the Dolomites in summer, you’re riding in a traffic jam. Yet there’s dozens and dozens of roads across Europe in really beautiful places where there’s nobody. And that’s the idea behind Motorcycle Diaries, to try and broaden people’s horizons, and show and inspire people to go and see different places. For example, on the website you can search for mountain roads, and it will show some in Portugal. People don’t associate Portugal with mountains, but there’s some incredible roads there. We want to show people that there are other routes in addition to the standard Alpine passes.
Is this your full-time job?
No, it’s a side project. I have a photo and video production company and we’ve worked in the motorcycling and car industry for 20 years. And that’s the reason why I ended up seeing so many fantastic places, as we were looking for great locations for shoots. As a biker, I wanted to share these because even I, who is well travelled, only did the standard trips. It was only through my work that I learned that there are so many great places out there to discover.
Out of all the places you’ve visited, which one stands out for having the best roads or being a great bike journey?
Ah, that’s tricky. I can’t choose. If we’re talking about just from this book, then this year we have an article about Morocco. What’s surprising is you can visit the whole of Morocco on a normal road bike. Morocco is so diverse. You think it might be too adventurous, and it is, because it broadens your horizons, yet the roads are so accessible. But all the other roads in the book are also fantastic. If you go to Norway in June, in midsummer, when it doesn’t get dark, the country is so special, but if you really like to ride lots of corners with few people around, Spain is your country. If you enjoy good food then you should cross the whole of Italy, while if you want to be surprised in a good way ride your bike from Croatia through Kosovo and Macedonia to Athens.
Find your inspiration on: https://motorcycle-diaries.com/en
© Pictures: Motorcycle Diaries, Peter-Jan Willems