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Rubber Side Down

Rubber Side Down

Adventures of a Touring Girl in Ontario

A woman begins a lifetime of motorcycling one kilometre at a time.



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In 2007, I decided that I wanted to ride a motorcycle. I did not have a brother, boyfriend or father who rode—I didn’t even have many friends who rode. I just knew that it was something I wanted to experience for myself. So, in April 2007, with very little education on the matter, I purchased a second-hand Kawasaki Ninja 500EX. As an added incentive, it had recently been in an accident and I could have it painted any colour I wanted. I chose yellow. It was picture perfect; new decals, fresh paint, matching jacket and gloves.

Curves of Fizbee

Later that year I started group riding with the York Region Riders, with most rides being led by Ron Kierstead. It was the perfect opportunity for me to venture out in the security of a group of experienced riders. We did weekly rides on Sunday mornings to Lake Rosseau, Niagara, Bala, Tobermory, Parry Sound, Killarney and Algonquin, returning to the city around 9pm at night. These rides gave me the confidence necessary to venture out on longer touring and weekend trips.

ninja ride 3

Where to Ride 

The 507 around Elephant Lake on my way to Haliburton is one of my favourite weekend rides. I remember how my heart fluttered the first time my wheels took the smooth curves of the road, with the beautiful scenery whizzing.

Motorcycle camping was a natural next step on my touring journey. I’ve motorcycle camped in Killarney and Sandbanks Provincial Park, as well as Parry Sound. While the Parry Sound Bike Rally is no longer running, some of my favourite memories were camping with my biker friends and riding down the main streets of Parry Sound in the annual Thunder Run. A personal favourite is the Herbert’s Fish and Chips “bus” right on the lake in Killarney

While the ride to Sandbanks is long and rather boring, the final destination is definitely worth the pilgrimage: sailing along the picturesque Loyalist Parkway and stopping for some delicious ice cream in Prince Edward County

honey harbour cafeEnjoying a stop in Honey Harbour

Motorcycling is great for socializing: sharing meals, enjoying the company of riders and being given an opportunity to learn more about riding and  motorcycles. And while the group rides have afforded me the chance to form some great relationships, I’ve come to enjoy the solitude of my ride and the peace that it gives me.

group picPunk 2010 

Now the journey seems to be more fulfilling than the destination. I love to ride in Ontario during the fall months, when the northern leaves are starting to change and the road seems to divide a forest of fiery colours and fresh smells. 

I am a person who feels the cold, and this drastically affects my comfort level on the bike. So a must-have item for touring in Ontario is a heated jacket. I own a Gerbing, and it’s awesome! It has extended my riding season by about 4 months, allowing me to start riding in early April and continue through mid-November.

M Licence May 2010

 

When I think back about how I came to decide on a bike, I quietly smile and whisper to myself “what a noob”. In 2010, I purchased a second hand Yamaha FZ6 Sport Touring motorcycle fully loaded with hard Givi top and side bags. It’s much better suited to my riding style and a better fit for my body type. It’s navy blue, but colour doesn’t mean as much to me now, nor does my mismatched coloured gear. Oh yeah, it has scratches on it, and I rarely wash it… because on nice days, I’d rather be out riding… Rubber Side Down.

WROAR 2008

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