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Plan Your Motorcycle Getaway Now

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Plan Your Motorcycle Getaway Now

Going the distance in Ontario's Algoma Country. Photo: Colin Field

It's time to go big in 2021. Big dreams, big plans, and big rides. We've rounded up the best motorcycle routes in Ontario to help you get inspired.

I have a good feeling about this summer. The weather will be great–no more blistering heart, and only light dumps of rain. Our bikes will all run perfectly, just like the day we bought them. And they’ll raise the speed limit 10...no, 20 km/h. 

And of course, the coronavirus will be wiped off the face of the earth, and we can all get together again–we can ride, and meet up, and gather at our favourite bike events all over the province. We can be free again.

It's not just wishful thinking, it's positive thinking. Because no matter what happens, I know one thing for sure—everyone who went for a ride in the summer of 2020 knows how good we have it here in Ontario—and they’ll be looking for more, and better places to ride.

So this is my list of the top routes to tackle in 2021. You’ll notice we’ve chosen some big ones because if this pandemic has taught us anything, it's that time is precious and you’ve got to enjoy life to the fullest. But there’s a couple weekend rides in there, to make sure that everyone can get in on the fun.

A shorter loop for the weekend warriors, there’s nothing better than a quick burn up Highway 11, through the dense forests and into the rolling hills and valleys over and around the lakes that dominate the world north of North Bay. When you roll into Temiskaming Shores, you’ll be shocked at how incredibly different this area is from your expectations. The “Little Clay Belt” is an incredibly fertile region that boasts a wild array of local food—from gourmet cheese to “golden beef”—a wonderfully flavourful meat that has been featured in international documentaries. There are plenty of quaint restaurants and, as the former home of the Bikers Reunion, you can bet your butt that they love bikers here.

Required Reading:

Ride the Highlands: The Highlands Loop

Clocking in a comfortable 1,000km, The Highlands Loops takes the crown for the most technical ride in the province. Sport touring is the name of the game, but big American cruisers will be just as comfortable here. But what I love most about The Highlands Loop is the vibe out here—it's definitely looser–more laid back, and definitely more about enjoying life to the fullest. You’ll find amazing twisties through hill and dale, but you’ll always find comfy places to slow down and grab a bite. There’s more than a week worth of riding when combined with the other loops in the region. 

Required reading:

One of my personal favourites, not only because of the proximity to my hometown but the variety of places you’ll stop along the way. Starting out in the Gravenhurst/Bracebridge area, we’re quickly immersed in the culture of Muskoka—huge cottages, deluxe eats, craft beer and expensive cars—this is a playground for the rich, and you might spot a celebrity or two. But we’re soon into the truly beautiful backwoods as we head north, floating gently between Highway 11 and 400 through Parry Sound, Loring-Restoule and into the iconic wilderness of Algonquin Park. Watch the curves in the early season—otherwise, you’re in for an amazing ride.

Required reading:

Ah, Northeastern Ontario—this is where I go for my time off, with or without motorcycles. There is so much to discover in this region, I think they must’ve coined Ontario’s slogan “Yours to Discover” after a trip up here. Starting in North Bay and Sudbury is always fun because both of these cities are a good time—karaoke, history and culture, live bands and restaurants you can’t find anywhere else—there’s too much to list. And as you head north to explore the entire region by road, you’ll realize that there’s something that sets Northeastern Ontario apart. It's the roads. Thanks to some government spending a few years ago, many of the roads are freshly paved and maintain their twistiness. They're also quiet, so you and your friends will have plenty of room to yourself. You’ll need to stop in Temiskaming Shores, Timmins, Kapuskasing, and Cochrane too, to name just a few. 

Required Reading:

This is it—the one that started it all. Sometimes referred to as the Lake Superior Circle Tour—and you’ll see some signs for this along the way—this trip is unique in that it crosses international borders, and follows the coast of the world's largest freshwater lake. I never knew just how awesome this ride was until a few years ago, after many years of doing the North Shore, I finally ventured into the states and started my trip around the lake in Michigan, and it blew my mind. While I’ll always love the shoreline from Wawa to Sault Ste. Marie, the sandy shores of the lake from Copper Harbour to Duluth left me wondering what continent I’d found myself on, and the rocky crags from Duluth to Thunder Bay put me in a gothic state of mind. The cities all along the way were impossibly fun and cool to explore, but the views of the lake all along the way changed my mind on what I thought possible for Ontario. 

Required Reading:

Georgian Bay is known by boaters far and wide for its beautiful, and tempestuous, waters, and thousands of windswept islands and shoals. It is one of those places that makes you feel that the earth makes sense and that there is a grand plan for everything and everyone. And riders know that the ferry ride from South Baymouth to Tobermory on a warm sunny day is the cure for the travel bug. Combining the majestic cliffs of the Bruce Peninsula, the slow pace of life on Manitoulin and the waterways around Parry Sound, and most riders agree–this is a weekend ride to reset your mind.

Required Reading:

Cruise The Coast

Home to the world-renowned motorcycle meetup—Port Dover’s Friday the 13th, Cruise the Coast is a series of routes throughout Ontario’s Southwest region—stretching from Niagara Falls to Windsor in the west. This is an agricultural area, with warm sandy beaches all along the coast of Lake Erie. You’ll find exploring the backroads here a mix of young forests and open agricultural landscape with plenty of charming little towns all along the way. 

Required Reading:

There’s no doubt that the riding season in 2021 will be busy—even if travel opens back up, we know that riders have discovered what an incredible riding playground Ontario is—and they may not want to bother with the hassle of heading to Europe or Asia. So plan ahead, as we expect that many places will be packed by the time summer hits and the world opens up again. 

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