Think back to your first motorcycle riding experience. You slowly let out the the clutch, the bike rolls forward, and you’re on your way; then you realize you have to turn around. That awkward moment of balance, throttle, clutch where a mistake means the clunk of a stalled engine. But succeed, and you are rewarded with a rush of adrenaline that will have you hooked on the turn forever. That magic formula of lean angle, throttle, traction, fear, and thrill which, when executed correctly, might just be motorcycling nirvana.
The excitement of the turn is a common thread shared with many activities on snow, on water and even air, but none of them can claim the variation on the turning theme that the motorcycle can. From blasting berms on dirt, dragging knees on racetracks, the sideway drifts of speedway, gravel, pavement even ice, all possible on our favourite two-wheel wonder.
Every time I swing my leg over my bike, no matter the plan, be it a quick afternoon spin or a multi-day adventure, the underlying objective always will be the search for that beautiful yellow diamond sign with a squiggly line and a number below. To me they might as well be smiley faces, the bigger the number the wider the grin because you know as good as one turn can be, imagine a hundred.
Exploring far away new roads is not always an option, so when time is limited I do have a few go-to favourites where I can get my lean on.
#5 - Southwood Rd., Muskoka
Length: 26 km
This might be the most well-known motorcycling road in cottage country. Its 26-km length is wall to wall turns. The section through the Torrence Barrens is particularly spectacular.
#4 - Calabogie Rd. and Centennial Lake Rd., Ontario Highlands
Length: 91.5 km
Zig-zagging through the wild side of Ontario's Highlands, this day trip favourite makes riders in the east end of the province a lucky bunch.
#3 - Highway 560, Northeastern Ontario
Length: 138 km
Turns and solitude, this is as remote as it gets. You will find both gas and traffic in short supply. The only fuel guarantee is at the Hwy 144 turn off and in New Liskeard so this one requires a bit of planning. Click here to learn more about riding in the north.
#2 - Highway 129, Algoma
Length: 189 km
Following the shores of the Mississagi River, Highway 129 is as visually spectacular as it is fun to ride. It’s part of the Grand Algoma Tour, one of the most renowned motorcycle touring loops in Ontario, so be sure to pencil in a weekend and enjoy the ride.
#1 - Highway 518, Muskoka
Length: 60 km
Sandwiched between Huntsville to the east and Parry Sound to the west, there are no worries about gas, places to stay or where to stop for lunch here. It’s not uncommon for me to ride this road in both directions in a day, but ask me about the scenery and I couldn’t tell you; this road is so good, I've never really found the time to look around!
These roads might be at the top of my favourite pile for now, but there are thousands of kilometres of roads in Ontario, so there must be plenty more where these came from. If you happen to come across a particularly special set of twisties or perhaps you are already harbouring that secret, please unburden yourself, leave a comment, share the information. My bike and I will be happy to verify your claims.