There are a number of different ways you can weave your way to this fine island. The Interactive Online Touring Tool features the The Georgian Bay Coastal Route you can do it as part of your trip or use it as a guideline for feeder routes. It has some handy new features that include construction and cell phone coverage as well as places to refuel both you and the bike.
The Top 30 Roads Top 30 Motorcycle Roads in Ontario may give you some ideas to plan your trip as well.
There are a couple of ways to get here, up the Bruce or around the Bay. If you come up the Bruce Peninsula the Chi-Cheemaun is a great option to break up your trip. There are spots for bikes, but during the Rally, it maybe a bit tight. It’s recommended you make reservations and get there an hour before. As for tie downs, you can bring your own, or use the ones available, they are ropes with a loop, so, practice your half hitch and it will work out fine.
What To Do
Regardless of which was you decide to go to Manitoulin Island, there are a couple of nice diversions that will lend to your experiencing this area. Here are a couple that I like to take.
Old Highway 17/Fairbanks Road - Old Highway 17 through Naughton slows down the pace from divided highway with some rural riding. Fairbanks road takes off north of 17 and brings you in behind Nairn Centre. The first section is newly paved sweepers that turn into chip and tar—very pleasant and worth adding a few more minutes onto your ride.
Jacklin Road - This is pretty much just a dog leg on chip and tar but it gets you out of traffic and onto Highway 6 heading into Espanola.
Willisville - This is in and out, but its is simply awesome, you hug the side of a quartzite mountain and there are a couple of lookouts that are great for a photo op, looking out onto the lacloche mountains.
Lee Valley Road - Coming from the west? At the lights in Massey, bear south, cross the bridge and hug the Spanish River to arrive through a side door into a commercial zone in Espanola. Trailside Sports has come through for more than one rider enroute.
Bike Night - Bike Night is on Thursday evenings on the main drag, Water Street, in downtown Little Current. Or “LC” as its know to the locals. If your coming through on a Thursday, stop by, we are a friendly lot.
The bridge swings on the hour. It's high season so there is usually a boat or two waiting. If you get there at the top of the hour, be ready for about a 15 minute wait.
Once you get on the Island, things may seem a bit different, like you are in a parallel universe. You are. You may get confused when you ask for directions from locals. Here are a few place names that will help you understand directions:
AOK – Aundeck Omnikaning
Espo – Espanola
LC – Little Current
Mindy - Mindemoya
Prov – Providence Bay
Sheg – Sheguiandah
Shesh – Sheshegwanning
Sudz – Sudbury
Twang – Manitowaning
Kag – Kagawong
Wiky – Wikwemikong
Note: M’Chigeeng is pronounced “chi geeng”. Easy, the M is silent.
During your ride and stay here, use the hashmarks #RideManitoulin and #OntarioMotoRoads to let us know where you are.