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A Rip Down Memory Lane

• Credit: All photos: Martin Lortz
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A Rip Down Memory Lane

Six years of moto adventures across Ontario. A look back at some of the best destinations the province has to offer ADV fan.

My name is Martin Lortz and I ride a 2011 Triumph Tiger 800 XC. As another year rolls around, it’s hard to believe that six seasons have passed since I first swung my leg over my travelling companion. Purchased on a bit of a whim after a couple of decades away from motorcycles, I embraced the promise of the go-anywhere possibility the adventure bike offers. Now, six years and 80,000 km later, I must say the bike and Ontario have yet to disappoint. As it often happens during between seasons down time, reflection on our past adventures is unavoidable. It sure doesn't hurt to have a few thousand photos to assist the recollections. But choosing the top 10 "been there, done that" photos — not so easy.

Manitoulin Island

Buying a bike was easy: slap down a downpayment, wait four months, endure a couple of delivery setbacks and voilà!—a shiny new ride sitting in the driveway. Now finding a place to ride it, well, that was simple too. Spotted an open invitation on the internet to come and ride Manitoulin Island and just like that, a long weekend trip resulted in 1,500 kilometres on the odometer, a bunch of new friends who I still hang with, and a new favourite destination.

The Roaming Rally

In the eastern end of Ontario, Kingston to Ottawa, you will find some of the best twisty roads in the province. The Roaming Rally, an annual adventure bike event, makes sure you enjoy none of the region's tar spoils, instead they send you out on an impossible-to-finish-in-a-day route of mud, sand and dirt, the toughest days on a bike I have experienced to date. Just the kind of good times that keep people coming back, lol.

Wolf Den

Adventure rides are always about the ride, challenges, terrain, and remoteness, but an adventure tour is equally about the destination. An awesome day spent along gravel and backcountry roads bound for Algonquin Park. The perfect day of riding was capped off with a log cabin at the Wolfs Den, a few burgers on the BBQ, some local craft beers, and the company of friends: perfect.


Making our way south from Wawa along the Trans Canada Adventure Trail. An early morning start from Wawa, only to be turned back by beaver dams that flooded the trail. Three hours into the ride and we ended up back at the starting point. Our next attempt got us stuck in a swamp. We did make it in the end, it's just that our eight-hour plan took about 14. Still, it puts a smile on my face when I think about it.

First Of Its Kind

The Algoma Adventure Route is the first and still Ontario's only official route dedicated to the adventure bike, a mix of the area's best twisty pavement, gravel and dirt offerings. This gravel-loving group, which I was proud to be a part of, was the first to ride it. The Algoma region offers spectacular motorcycle touring any time of the riding season, but fall is absolutely spectacular.

Lake Temiskaming Circle Tour

It’s not always about getting dirty. The beauty of the modern adventure bike is its ability to handle all road conditions. In this case, we are making our way north along the Lake Temiskaming Circle Tour to the annual Bikers Reunion event in New Liskeard. An adventure bike in a sea of a few thousand hogs: a bit out of place maybe, but in a cool kind of way.

The Bruce Peninsula

One of my favourite destinations. I love poking around this chunk of the Niagara escarpment where pavement is limited but gravel not so much. This is Cabot Head Road, leading to the lighthouse of the same name. It’s adventure bike bliss as it hugs the edge of the Georgian Bay for its full 11-km length. Best ridden in late season to avoid tourist traffic. 


The forests surrounding the towns of Bonfield and Mattawa are a dirt lover’s paradise. From gravel roads to double track dirt to single track, hundreds of kilometres to explore. I actually have very few photos of me riding; this one is courtesy of Jeff McGirr.

Home Turf

There's no need for long distance adventures to get your adventure fix. Wherever you live in Ontario, the end of the paved road is never far away. For me, the promised land lies north of Orangeville. Day tripping to Creemore takes me from a four-lane expressway to dirt path and back.

Almaguin Highlands

This is the area adjacent to the west side of Algonquin Park. It's riddled with ATV trails, gravel roads, and jeep paths. On this particular late October day, we started out in a snow storm and ended in pouring rain as the temperatures toyed with 0°C. But as my favourite saying goes, “tough times make for good memories,” and this day I will not soon forget.

Time sure flies when you're having fun. So much has changed since I plopped down the down payment on my beloved Tiger. Browsing through the photos, remembering the people I have met, the places visited, the thousands of kilometres of Ontario soil that passed beneath my wheels. 

Ontario, yours to discover” — hey, I’m trying: six seasons, 80,000 kilometres and counting.

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