There’s no doubt that this week has been Hot. I’m giving the word a capital H because this weather deserves a bit of recognition and respect; it certainly has put us in our place while asking for zero forgiveness. I say this as I sit in my non-air conditioned office, with sweat dripping off my face and a fan on full tilt. The last thing on my mind is hammering out a blog article, but I have some thoughts and wisdom to share that I think might help those of you who may find yourselves in my situation this summer… hot, bothered, and willing to do almost anything to cool off. Water guns at work might be out of the question (or maybe not if you have the coolest job ever), but playing hooky to head to the beach on your motorcycle is perfectly acceptable!
I’ve heard it all before, “It’s too hot to wear my gear” or “Riding to the beach is too much hassle”. So I’m here to give you some tips and tools about gearing up for the beach. Over the past week, I skipped out of work a bit to check out some beaches via motorcycle along the South Coast of Ontario. We are incredibly fortunate to live in beautiful Ontario, where a body of water is never too far away. In Southern Ontario, we are comfortably sandwiched between Lake Ontario, the Niagara River and Lake Erie, so beaches are certainly not hard to come by!
When heading to the beach by motorcycle, I usually pack the bare necessities (unless I have extra storage space). This past week, I was riding the Yamaha FJ-09 complete with two side compartments so I had plenty of room to bring what I needed. I wore my bathing suit underneath my riding gear (yes I wore full gear on those 30+ Celsius degree days), and brought some extra clothing to change into if needed.
A few tips for packing for the beach:
Pack a light weight towel so it can fit into a backpack or bag
Bring sunscreen, sandals and a hat if you plan on staying at the beach for a while
Don’t forget that kickstand plate if parking in sandy areas
Bring water! Keep hydrated so you have a safe ride home
Wear your gear – just because it’s hot out doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect yourself on the road!
The reason I wear my bathing suit under my gear is so I don’t have to worry about finding a place to change, as some beaches don’t always have public change rooms. I try my best to dry off in the sun or with my towel before putting my clothing back on. Sometimes, there isn’t always time to dry off so just remember, wet hair won’t kill you! I rode the other day with damp hair and I didn’t melt.
Leave as much gear at your bike as you can. If possible, lock your helmet to your bike and place additional gear in your side bags or compartments. This eliminates getting your gear all sandy once on the beach. If I am riding a bike with less storage, I usually bring my gear with me onto the beach and keep it on my towel.
So now that you’re and ready to go, let’s head to some of my favourite beaches in Southern Ontario!
Distance from Toronto: 160 km
This iconic beach was a real hotspot back in the day when the Crystal Beach Amusement Park was still in operation and drawing hundreds of thousands of locals and tourists each year. It's still is a popular place; however instead of wooden roller coasters and fun houses, the area is now treasured as an easy-to-access refuge on those days when getting some time to cool off in the water is a must. It's one of the nicest beaches around. With sparkling sand and bright blue water, this place is a must-stop on your motorcycle tour along the south coast!
The beach can become quite busy during peak-season. Pay-parking is available across the street in paved lots, however, many are able to find free parking within walking distance. Security guards are stationed at the entrance to check for alcohol or glass bottles. The beach offers public restrooms, change rooms and a snack bar as well.
Distance from Toronto: 161 km
Next stop is a bit west along the shoreline. Pleasant Beach is located next to Sherkston Shores Resort Community. It is a smaller family-friendly beach with few rules. Visitors can bring dogs, drinks, etc. without being bothered by security. I parked my bike along the road as there isn’t a lot of parking in the beach parking area. A small beach-side grill is located near the beach which offers some food, and there is a portable restroom available. The beach offers a sand bar for shallow wading, but you can head out further if you are looking for a good swim.
From Sherkston, riders can cruise through Port Colborne and then connect up to Lakeshore Drive West. This road will pretty much take you along the entire coast of Lake Erie for hours (it changes names a few times so be sure to look at a map before you go). It is a slow, but beautiful ride along the coast and offers views of the lake that make you feel like you are on the coastline in California! There are a few twisties here and there so it adds a bit of excitement to the ride as well.
Distance from Toronto: 142 km
The last stop on my beach loop was Port Dover, home of the largest single-day motorcycle event in the world. I’ve been to this town many times for the massive biker event that falls on every Friday the 13th; however I have never been there during a non-biker event.
Mom and Daughter trip to Port Dover included a walk down the pier to check out the light houseDespite it not being Friday 13th, there were still plenty of motorcycles in town to visit the beach, walk down the pier or grab some delicious grub. Free motorcycle parking is available on the street or in nearby parking lots. The beach is well equipped for visitors, offering several public rest rooms and change rooms. I stopped for a delicious fresh perch lunch at Callahan’s Beach House, which offers a beautiful view of the beach and lake. Once my stomach was full, I chilled out on the beach for a bit enjoying the sand between my toes, and the warm sun on my skin. Finally, my riding buddy and I grabbed an ice cream cone and did a little window shopping before it was time to head home along the coastline again.
Each of these beaches make great destinations for day trip or even weekend trips! I hope my experiences this past week have encouraged you to skip out on work, cool off by jumping on your bike and taking a dip in the lake. Safe riding to you all!