Two Up Motorcycle Touring

Tail of the Dragon - A Motorcycle Riding Pilgrimage

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Staying Safe!

Any summer weekend there are thousands of motorcycles and cars on the Dragon. Most re ridden or driven well, however there are always those who just don't get it. To help you make sure you aren't part of the problem follow a few simple rules and listen to those who know the road and the area.

Wear Protective Gear

If you checkout listed above sooner or later you'll see photos of someone who's gotten into trouble riding over their head. One thing you'll learn is even though their pride and motorcycle might be hurt, riders wearing full protective gear (pants, jacket, boots, gloves and full-face helmets) often walk away without any serious injury.

Tips for Riding the Dragon

Darryl Cannon at is a photographer and motorcyclist at the Dragon. His weekly highlights during the riding season and postings throughout the year are a great source of information. His pictures and commentary will let you see the excitement at Deals Gap and help you avoid some of the mistakes that can get you into trouble anywhere you ride.

Killboy has also posted Tips on Riding Deals Gap which should be required reading for "anyone riding the area.

Three Easy Things to Help You Stay Safe

* Stay in Your Line
* Use a late apex to get the best line of sight enterinng corners.
* Don’t let your speed exceed your abilty to stop within your site distance.

Ride Resources

Killboy's (Darryl Cannon) website includes access to the thousands of pictures he and his crew take every week during the riding season, his blog of highlights and the previously mentioned tips on riding the gap. This is a great place to visit when you're planning a trip to the Dragon. Checking the updates will keep you informed about the riding and law enforcement conditions.

Because he does so much to promote the area and safe riding this is always my first stop when looking for photos of my ride at the Gap.

Another source for information on the Gap. There are a ton of advertisements on this site which makes it a little difficult to take in, however when you're looking for accommodations or Deals Gap T-Shirts, etc you can usually find it here.

Another Deals Gap photographer where you can purchase photographs of your ride. I've purchased some photos here.

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Tennessee and North Carolina's Mountain Most Famous Motorcycle Road

US-129 between Robbinsville, North Carolina and just south of the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee is one of the most famous motorcycle roads in the world.

With 318 curves in 11 miles there are few roads on earth that can match the technical challenge of this road. Its location along the western border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides both a beautiful backdrop and a unique situation where there a few intersections and virtually no cross traffic. 
While the Dragon is often crowded and patrolled like a maximum security prison more often than not you'll find the traffic relatively well behaved and orderly. If you're making your first trip to the dragon or if you just want to make the most of your ridecheck out some of the links on the right. 

Should You Ride the Dragon?

The beauty of the Dragon is that it can be enjoyed by virtually anyone with the skills to make it there on their bike. Ride at the low speed limits posted on the road you'll have to work hard to get in trouble. Most crashes occur when someone gets in over their head, so ride within you limits.

If you are comfortable with basic cornering, braking and accident avoidance skills and approach this road with respect and caution it will reward you with the most fun you can have wearing full motorcycle gear.

Tail of the Dragon - Motorcycle Road Locater Map

The Tail of the Dragon located in the middle of some of North America's best motorcycle roads.

The Cherohala Skyway, North Carolina Highway 28 (sometimes referred to as "Moonshiner 28" or "Hellbender 28") and our favorite the Cherohala Motorcycle Resort Loop Ride all surround this motorcycling paradise.
If this set of curves doesn't get your heart racing you might need to get yourself a motorcycle! Only 315 more curves are left to go.Photo by <a target="_blank" href=""></a>

Photo by

The businesses in the Robbinsville, NC really work to roll out the welcome mat to motorcyclists. "The Store" at Deals Gap is a definite must see and of course you really need to get a least one "motorcycle tourist" picture.

Here's Anna and I at the Dragon sign.

Certificates of Attendance

When riding the Dragon use common sense to avoid taking home expensive certificates of attendance issued by the local constabulary. There's enough police protection on a weekend hat you could park a Brinks truck with doors wide open and not lose a thing!

Commemorative Pictures

Photographer entrepreneurs have made the Dragon a great place to get high quality photos of you in action on your bike. Pictures are available online from and ZeeFoto among others. Check the links on the sidebar for more information.

Here's Anna and I on the Concours from one of our Smoky Mountains tours.
Photo by <a target="_blank" href=""></a>

Photo by

Anna and I on our first ride on the Dragon together.Photo by <a target="_blank" href=""></a>

Photo by

My First Dragon Slayer

In 1982 I purchased a brand new Yamaha 650 Seca. I added a Vetter Quicksilver fairing and Eclipse soft luggage for my first ever sport touring rig.

On my first tour from Florida to Michigan on the Seca, I traveled north on US-129. In those days the speed limit was 55MPH! (the "Dragon" moniker was not is use yet) and I remember dragging pegs and thinking I was really hauling butt.

That's when a old Chevy Nova with hay bales in the trunk flashed his lights to pass! Who knows, maybe those hay bales were camouflage for a moonshine runner.