Editors Note: Due to the popularity of this article, we've been asked by a number of organizations why their ride didn't make the cut. While we'll reiterate that this is a subjective list created by an author whose opinions are entirely their own, we like to think that we give everyone a fair shake. If you want your event to be written up, send us an e-mail - we're here to make sure riders from all corners know about all the great things there are to do in Ontario. Hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think we're missing out.
Ontario is home to hundreds of motorcycle events; charity rides, road races, dirt and adventure rides - but deciphering which ones are worth going to can be tricky. Our complete list of motorcycle events is one of the most popular pages on this site, with route suggestions and regional info. But if you're looking for a totally subjective yet well-informed opinion, we here at What A Ride - who spend every waking moment cruising back and forth across the province searching for the best time ever - have got the list for you. Read on.
10. Friday the 13th
While this is easily Ontario's most well-known and largest one-day event, it can be a tad...busy. But since everyone has to go at least once, this is probably the best year to go. Aside from the fact that this is the only Friday the 13th this year, it lands in the spring. If you want to kick off the season right, this is where to do it. Although riding isn't a big part of the event, we love the routes from Cruise the Coast - might make the entrance and/or exit from this tiny town a little less painful.
Last summer, thousands of bikers headed to Simcoe County to converge on the longest freshwater beach in the world. This year is looking to be even better with rides for all levels of ability, vendors, and all sort of things to keep a biker happy. There will be free live music and BBQ will fill the air throughout the weekend. This year there will be camping available at the nearby Great Northern Exhibition. This is a great excuse to travel some of the classic Georgian Bay Coastal Route.
Probably the only event that could make riding in the traffic wasteland known as Toronto worth it, this weekend affair celebrates old bikes, scooters and all the crazy culture that surrounds it. Check out Mondo Lulu's article from the 2013 event to get a taste of what to expect. The event is based on two opposing gangs of what we'd probably now call Hipsters from Britain (check Wikipedia if you want the whole story - it's cool) one who rode scooters, the other who rode motorbikes. Plan for an early day expo of bikes and then park the two wheelers somewhere safe for some evening fun.
This is the Northern Ontario version of the popular central Ontario Ride for Sight event, but one you won't want to miss. Again, the scenery and ride up take the front of the stage here - the road in to Searchmont is amazing and one of our favourites (you can see tons of shots of Dustin Woods riding a BMW K tourer on that road in this video). There are two other roads you won't want to miss in Algoma Country; highway 129 from Thessalon to Chapleau, and highway 17, going south from Wawa to Sault Ste. Marie (trust us - the views are better going south). By the time you're done riding, you'll love that your evenings entertainment and food is all taken care of. Check out The Grand Algoma for a top notch route.
Now, we didn't actually get to attend this event last year, but we heard nothing but good things, and with Dakar star Lawrence Hacking at the helm, we're pretty confident that this is good times. This is also one of the few organized and public ADV rides out there. While we don't have a recommended route to get to Campbellville, they'll have lots of dirt time built into the event.
When you talk about the staying power of Ontario's charity rides, the Sudbury Freedom Rally comes to mind. This is a quintessential ride, replete with wiener roasts, dancing, drinking (soda pop of course) and camping. Sudbury has tons to offer as well, and isn't just the nickel mining city some might think of it as. Check out some fun stuff to do in the city here or check out the best route to the city here.
For the sheer beauty of both the ride there (try the Georgian Bay Coastal Route) and the island itself, we've ranked Ride Manitoulin in our top five. Read all about Vicki Gray's trip to the island and decide if you want to enjoy the adventure ride they now organize, or cruise in on paved roads. Either way, you won't forget this trip, especially the jaunt through Highway 6 from Espanola to the swing bridge on Manitoulin Island.
The Vintage Road Racing Association has been running a road-racing series featuring bikes from the 1940's to the 1980's - the sole purpose is to get the bikes of yesteryear back to what they're supposed to be doing - going fast. There are four events throughout Ontario this summer and they're all worth riding to and watching. Bring binoculars, the family, or just cruise out alone.
2. Ride for DadOf all the motorcycle events I've attended in the last seven years, the Ride for Dad in North Bay was easily the most friendly and welcoming of them all. North Bay is just far enough from the city to really feel like you're on a proper road trip, but close enough that you can still find a good coffee in town. The city is also poised at the start of six killer routes in Northeastern Ontario.
2016 was the final Bikers Reunion.
I have attended this event four times now - this year will be my fifth visit. And while it took a helluva long time to convince me this event was the best motorcycle event in Ontario, I see the light now. Nowhere else will you find a more genuine charity event that has grown simply by the power of the community that believes that the patients in its small cancer ward deserve to be treated with dignity. Plus the Temiskaming Loop is probably one of the easiest and best ways for riders to get acquainted with riding in Northern Ontario.
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