Born to Be Mild - How to Have a Better, More Relaxed, Motorcycle Trip in Ontario
Motorcycle touring is an activity that exposes you to the elements all day. If you're on a week-long tour, it's good to take a pause for a couple days, especially somewhere where you can break up your ride with a hike, paddle or lounge by the pool, where you don't have to travel for meals and your room is close to the bar.
Motorcycle trips are incredible things - there’s no better way to cover massive amounts of ground in direct contact with the outside world. You get to experience things most car drivers never will: the elements. The fresh air, the scents of nature, the feeling of a cold front moving in as the temperature drops, or the bright, full heat at the end of a rainstorm.
This makes motorcycle travel so much more… elemental than driving. But it all takes a toll on the body, and it’s easy to overestimate how much riding you want to do. Sometimes motorcycle riders arrive home more tired than when they left.
But there’s a cure for this, and it opens up another dimension to motorcycle touring. The cure is the Ontario Resort.
You’re probably aware that Ontario is a motorcycle playground, with plenty of established touring routes (click here for a good list by region), but what you might not know is that the resort experience in Ontario is a defining feature of what makes this province such an amazing place to travel in.
The resort experience totally alters motorcycle travel. So what exactly changes by staying at a resort rather than the first place that has a bed available?
Resorts are built to cater more deeply to people’s needs - meals, activities, events; the accommodations themselves are designed to give you a more restful night. But we’re not advocating for a single-night stay - the resorts in Ontario deserve at least two nights of your time to allow you to fully rejuvenate before heading back out on the highway.
Imagine planning your week-long motorcycle trip - let’s use Ride the Highlands for example. You’re going to cover a lot of roads, maybe 300 km a day. By the midway point on the trip, your bike will be covered in dirt and bugs, your clothes will be damp with sweat, and your luggage will be completely disorganized. You’ve probably still got a smile on your face, but you could use a change of underwear.
Instead of pulling over to the nearest place on the side of the road - where there won’t be much room to spread out, and the amenities will begin and end with a beer on a patio chair in the parking lot - you opt for one of our resorts. You ride comfortably in, and are greeted by someone with a towel to wipe down your machine and maybe a hose for the stickier stuff. The front desk puts you in a cottage by the lake, and can either make a reservation or have dinner sent to your room. Someone takes your luggage to your room while you get a drink on the patio overlooking the water. You take a good long shower, and then you and your riding partners meet for dinner and drinks.
The next morning, you’ve got an easy choice to make. Pack everything back up and get back on the road, or stay another day. Enjoy breakfast that’s a cut above the local roadside fare with healthier options, maybe book a massage, go for a swim in the pool or the lake, go for a light hike around the grounds, and watch a movie together after dinner. Play a game of pool at the bar, and you’ve still got time to repack your bags and take care a bit of maintenance on the bike - the front desk can usually provide some basic tools.
You’d never believe how rested you feel the next morning - you’ll feel like you’re starting a second trip by the time you actually hit the road.
This is why a resort stay can totally change your trip. If you’re starting to feel burnt out midway through your ride, there’s no reason why you can’t take a break - recharge, so you can enjoy the second half as much as the first.
There seems to be some kind of unwritten rule in motorcycling that when you’re on a trip, all you can do is ride. But the truth is that any great ride is more than just sitting in the saddle - it’s the moments you make in between the great twisties and sweepers. Resorts help make those moments less about the job of getting back on the road, and more about restoring your own energy and passion for riding.