When people ask me where they should ride next, Algoma is always near the top of my list. The serpentine roads hug the southwestern shores of Lake Superior, and run through dense boreal forest where you'll find more moose than people, while the cities and towns are as friendly and interesting as they come. Algoma is truly a motorcycle rider's Shangri-La.
Along the North Channel
In the southeastern end of the region, the phenomenal Highway 17 travels along the North Channel. Frequent views of sail boats and freighters out on the water accompany this grand route, and the waterfront communities along the way should be thoroughly explored. The Timber Village Museum in Blind River and the Bruce Mines Museum in Bruce Mines tell the story of the industries that have helped shape the region. While you're here, catch the suset and some shuteye at the McKay Island Lighthouse. If you've never slept in a lighthouse before, here's your chance!
Don't forget your bathing suit. Hilton Beach is a great spot to play in the waves and its fantastic restaurants like the Tilt'n Hilton will have you wanting to stick around for awhile. While you're there, check out the Arts At The Dock festival and see what the area's most creative people are up to.
Lake Superior and The Soo
The don't call it Lake Superior for nothing. The turquoise water and white sand beaches could make you think you were in Jamaica if it weren't for a the backdrop of towering pines and granite peaks. There are gorgeous beaches and campsites at Pancake Bay Provincial Park, and further afield in Lake Superior Provincial Park, you'll be greeted by stunning cliffs at Old Woman Bay. At Agawa Bay, you will want to park your bike. The ancient pictographs at the base of Agawa Rock are believed to have be drawn by Ojibwa shamans. Some of the fainter pictographs may date back 3000 years. With the highway squeezed between huge rock formations and the waters of Superior, this has to be one of the most scenic rides anywhere.
Lake Superior's western shore is also home to Algoma's biggest city, Sault Ste. Maire. "The Soo" is buzzing with cool things to do. Establishments like the ultra hip Loplops, Muios Restaurant and Tavern and classy Arturo's get the seal of approval from locals and visitors alike. For a more woodsy experience, the Canadian Bush Plane Heritage Centre opens a window onto life in the remote locations of the far north. Accommodations range from old reliables like the Holiday Inn Express to the historic Algonquin Hotel for the budget traveller. Before you get back on the road, grab some breakfast at Ernie's Coffee Shop.
Riding further west along Superior's grand shores brings you to Wawa's giant Canada goose and then to White River, home of the bear upon which Winnie the Pooh was based.
Highways 129 and 11
Highway 17 is a transcendent ride; but to really feel the power of the back country, head north up 129 to highway 11. Following the Mississagi River through a deep granite valley, 129 is an ultra twisty road that many are calling Ontario's Tail of the Dragon. The dramatic drops and climbs, and the huge blind turns will require your attention, but when you have a moment to look around you will be rewarded with some of the province's most incredible scenery. This could be my very favourite road in Ontario.
Aubrey Falls Provincial Park is a good first spot to catch your breath. Its spectacular lookout is perfect for a picnic. At the northern end of 129, Chapleau has been voted Canada's ultimate fishing town. There are a number of fishing lodges here that rent day-use boats and offer longer-term packages.
Highway 11 is the region's most northerly major highway. The lightly-travelled road and its big trees and hidden lakes will be all yours. Friendly little communities like Hearst pop up now and again if you need to stop for food or a snooze.
For more on motorcycling in Algoma, check out The 2013 Ontario Motorcycle Tour of the Year: The Grand Algoma or OntarioTravel.net's Northern Ontario section and http://ridelakesuperior.com/.