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Musings of an Ontario Adventure Rider

Musings of an Ontario Adventure Rider



Editor's Note: Martin Lortz is an accomplished Toronto-based photographer. Over recent years, he's also become quite the adventure touring rider, particularly around the Algoma Country and Manitoulin areas. Below, he shares his thoughts about ADV touring in Ontario, with the help of a short photo essay.

In some ways, I wish that I could impress you with tales of far away adventures and around the world wanderings—but, though these trips might be found deep in the folds of my bucket list, my odometer reads 35,000 km and I have yet to leave Ontario!

My first foray into adventure riding came about quite by chance. After spending my youth on dirt bikes and racetracks, it had been a couple of decades since the last time I'd swung my leg over a motorcycle. But as my mid-life crisis approached, the bike itch slowly intensified. With family obligations, work etc., I figured the best that I could hope for was maybe something retro that I could take out for a Sunday spin and clean during the week. I'd be good with that. Or, so I thought!

Then came the 2011 Toronto Motorcycle Show. Our eyes locked… okay, my eyes and its headlights. It might be shallow to judge by looks alone, but this was truly love at first sight. A bit of internet research opened up my mind to the potential of adventure riding and a week later, I had the down payment on a bike I'd never sat on, never mind taken for a test ride. All I had to do now was wait four months and, oh yeah, tell my wife.

So here we are, three seasons and 35,000km later and why haven’t I felt the need to venture beyond Ontario? As the catchphrase goes, “Ontario – Yours To Discover”. When it comes to adventure riding, this slogan truly applies. Here are a few of my Ontario highlights, tips and observations:

The Quick Fix

From Toronto, I can be on gravel and unmaintained roads within an hour's ride—perfect for a quick outing when time is limited!

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Helping Hands

When riding a motorcycle you are in charge of your destiny, but sometimes, you need a helping hand… or eight! Events such as The Roaming Rally, the Eastern Ontario Adventure Rally and the NOFAR Icebreaker Rally (in the northern regions around Wawa) give you a chance to hone your skills and meet new friends.

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Exploring New Areas

When venturing off the beaten path, you need to know where you are and how to get back. A GPS unit and the knowledge of how to use it are indispensable.

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Spectacular Destinations

When getting there is half the fun, there's more motivation to explore. My first visit to Manitoulin Island left a lasting impression.

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Never Boring

On an adventure bike, even the same ride is always different. The last two times we passed this spot on Old Nipissing Road, it was dry. This time, the beavers figured the place needed a face lift!

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Good Times With Friends

If you need some help planning a trip, try the Algoma ADV Adventure Loop, a mix of pavement and gravel through the spectacular Algoma Country region in northern Ontario. This is the first official route in Ontario laid out with adventure riders in mind.

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The Challenge of The Trail

If you're looking for a challenge, try the Trans-Canada Adventure Trail—a route that lets you travel the backcountry of Canada coast-to-coast… 3000 km of it spans Ontario. Jump on for a day, a week, or a month.

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With thousands of kilometers of adventure routes already mapped out and ready for your enjoyment, and thousands more waiting to be explored, you can see why when it comes to adventure riding, Ontario truly is yours to discover.

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