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KAT - Looking Back and Planning Ahead

• Credit: Stuart McGuire
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KAT - Looking Back and Planning Ahead

A New Rider Starts Their "Bike-It" List

“You can always change a plan… but only if you have one…”  - Randy Pausch

Planned spontaneity: It’s what bikers do.

Sometimes you need a plan, and sometimes you don’t.

Even when you don’t ‘need’ a plan, you tend to have one tucked away in your back pocket. Nothing specific really, but more of an ‘unplanned plan’, as my best friend and motorcycling mentor likes to say.

I’ve talked about the fact that I am developing a ‘Bike-It List’ rather than a ‘Bucket List’ as I spend more time in the saddle and less time dreaming about it. 

As I gain confidence in my riding abilities and accept my current limitations, begin to better understand the mechanics of how a motorcycle works, and gain a practical working knowledge of Ruby’s maintenance requirements, my Bike-It List grows by leaps and bounds.

By road maps and reservations made.

By unplanned plans and the open road. 

It’s what we do when the weather turns cold(er) and the dreaded PMS threatens to settle in.

We’ve been lucky—for the most part—in 2015; the riding season started early and still, for many of us throughout the province, hasn’t really ended yet.


The season started out great for me, but was cut short by my heart attack in June. Being told that you’re not allowed to drive for four to six weeks tends to be an inconvenience more than anything. Being told that not being able to drive also applies to riding? Well, that’s a rather unsettling cocktail of disappointment, angst, sadness and anger, and it hits you right where it hurts. 

Rather than sit in my She Shed and gaze longingly at Ruby while inhaling the heady mixture of gasoline, rubber, oil and leather, I decided to take my disappointment at having to cancel my end-of-July road trip to Eastern Ontario and turn it into planning for my 2016 riding season.

From date-specific events to places of interest to biker-recommended eateries and businesses, I started to make a list, and it has been building from there ever since. Truth be told, the process also helped me plan for my 2016 monthly installments of KIMbits and KATtales for What A Ride and northernontario.travel.


In the works for 2016? 



Twelve Pack of Canadian Series

‘A Twelve Pack of Canadian’: A series of monthly mini-bios with interesting tidbits about Canadians of note, their bikes, their favourite places & routes to ride in Ontario, and more. First up for January? Bill Toffan, one half of the award-winning morning team on KX 94.7’s ‘Mornings with Toff and Melissa’. KX 94.7, New Country FM won the 2015 CCMA (Canadian Country Music Awards) Radio Station of the Year (Large Market) award in September, and Bill is both a huge country music fan and an avid rider.  


Ontario Lavender Tour 


It’s known as The Purple Road, and Ontario has over 30 locations in four distinct regions of the province that grow, harvest and produce lavender and lavender products. Lavender is one of my favourite perennials to grow and I have been making my own scent sachets and using it in both baking and cooking for years. I’ve been contacting lavender farms throughout Ontario and have plans to make stops at as many of the farms and special events (like Lavender Festivals) during the spring / early summer of 2016.

April’s ‘What A Ride’ piece will offer you a detailed map, farm listings with names, addresses, websites, and hyperlinks to every farm that is listed with the Ontario Lavender Association, along with Associate members who sell lavender products. August’s piece will offer you highlights from my own self-guided tour and photo shoots. 


CHAPELHeavenly Places Ontario Mototour

They say that for many riders, being out on the open road is almost a ‘holy’ or ‘spiritual’ experience. With that in mind, I will be spending time during the 2016 riding season exploring both city and countryside looking for unique chapels, mosques, churches, temples, cathedrals and other ‘heavenly’ places to explore and get some really interesting photos of bike & building. From little wooden chapels to majestic cathedrals to places of worship unique in architecture and design, this ‘spirtitual guide’ will be an interesting series of daytrips designed with photo opportunities in mind.


Going Home

Although I was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, I grew up in eastern Ontario on the banks of the St. Lawrence River in a little hamlet (not quite large enough to be a village) called Long Sault. Every once in a while, I get a hankering to return to my roots and see how much some things have changed and how much others have stayed exactly the same.


I’m in the process of planning a two-week road trip with Ruby next summer, with plenty of stops along the way (because we all know that it’s just as much about the ‘getting there’ as it is about the destination). Half of my challenge is going to be plotting a route and way to get to eastern Ontario from Central Southwestern Ontario without having to travel directly through Toronto.

Several of my pieces throughout 2016 will have me coming to you, the readers, for advice on everything from places to stay and eat, events to attend, roads to ride, and maybe, just maybe, some opportunities along the way to meet in person, chat, and grab a tea before setting out on my way again. It will be KAT n’ Ruby’s first major road trip, and I am truly looking forward to sharing that adventure with you.

Now that I have spent some time planning ahead, I want to take a moment and do a little bit of looking back and tidy up 2015 with a few items of interest…


Photo Contest Winner!


CONGRATULATIONS to Stuart McGuire of Sudbury for submitting a series of great photos to the What A Ride contest earlier this year. “I do a lot of riding around North Ontario,” says Stuart. “My favourite ride is The Deer Trail that goes past Elliot Lake and Iron Bridge. It's a little rough in spots, but the scenery and lack of enforcement make it worthwhile.” Stuart’s current ride is a 2007 KTM 950 Supermoto R. “I've owned almost 20 bikes, and it (the KTM) is the most fun.” Stuart wins the $100.00 gift certificate from Tons of Bike Gear in St. Ann’s (near Niagara Falls, Ontario). Way to go, Stuart!

Kudos to Craig Snow, winner of the honourable mention prize from Ramblin’ Road Brewery Farm in La Salette, Ontario. Craig’s winning photo and a picture of his prize are below…



Another photo (and story) of note was from Sherry Faustman-Carter of Brantford, Ontario, whose picture was taken on the beach in Kincardine at sunset. “This was my favourite ride,” she explains. “We literally packed the bike for a secret get-a-way. Snuck out of the house early in the morning, while our teenagers were still asleep (Note: Never tell them they have the house to themselves overnight). We rode all day, got upgraded to a suite at the Holiday Inn, then took a ride to the beach for a lovely evening. Snuck back home the next day before the kids woke up late in the afternoon. Can't wait to do it again.” Sherry and her husband, Glen, win a special gift pack from KAT and the What A Ride team. 


Photo by Sherry Faustman-Carter

Here is an assortment of other great photos that were submitted for the contest. Thanks to all who entered!








Port Dover Friday the 13th November 2015

And last, but certainly not least, it was great to see so many friends and fellow riders out and wandering the streets of Port Dover on Friday the Thirteenth in November, 2015. The weather wasn’t very cooperative in the early part of the day, but when the sun came out later in the afternoon, it was actually rather pleasant. 


Before walking around town, my daughter and I stopped at The Crepe House for a delicious lunch.

The balance of our time that day was spent visiting the beach, a walk down the pier, a quick jaunt over to the Tim Horton’s, checking out The Arbor (closed for the season), and visiting shops all along the main drag. In addition to some great bikes, there were plenty of happy bikers and spectators alike.








Make sure to mark your calendars for the sole Friday the Thirteenth celebration next year – it falls in May and is sure to be well attended.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all the best as (for the time being) the riding season of 2015 continues for many…


KAT (aka KimberleeAnna Taplay) is a member of the ‘What A Ride!’ correspondent team, and is looking forward to sharing the next edition of The Adventures of KAT n’ Ruby with you. To reach Kimberlee by email, send your questions and/or comments to kattales@rogers.com. KAT’s next adventure is scheduled to go live during the second week of January, 2016.

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