Touring Ontario – Preamble

When was the last time you just jumped on a motorcycle and took off for a few days? Well it’s been a long time for me but it will be more than just a few days and did require some planning as far as work schedules. Not so much for me, but my friend Fiona will be joining me so she needed to take a couple weeks off work. Mon July 9th, we head out on what will be a pretty epic road trip around Ontario, covering roughly 3000km. We will be leaving from the Toronto area and mixing up our accommodations between camping and hotels.

2009 Ural Patrol 2WD

Our mode of transportation will be a Russian made Ural Patrol 2WD as seen here. Now ordinarily, two experienced riders would ride two bikes but a Ural has a way of laying on a serious assault to the body so we will take turns as ‘rider’ and ‘monkey’ (the term for someone riding in the sidecar). Since I’m still recovering from knee surgery, I’m still not comfortable riding a regular bike because I still lack strength in my left leg and my knee hasn’t fully healed yet. I really don’t like the idea of doing a massive trip like this when I’ve still got issues holding the bike upright every time I come to a stop when I have to put my foot down. Obviously this isn’t a problem with a sidecar rig because I never have to support the weight of the bike when coming to a stop.

But the Ural has a way of beating up it’s rider making it very painful to ride for long distances. Without much rear suspension, the only other thing to absorb the bumps in the road is the rubber bushing under the riders seat as well as the front suspension, which really doesn’t help take the energy away from your bum at all. The result is that all the bumps in the road get sent right up your spine. I recently spent a full day on the Ural alone and after about 630km, my back was screaming in pain and my leg was hurting like hell also. It took two days for me to feel ‘normal’ again so it’s for this reason that we will take turns riding the bike. The person who is isn’t riding (the monkey) will get a chance to rest and recover in the rather spacious and comfortable sidecar, while the rider progressively has their spine compressed from all the bumps in the road.

I’m sure by now, some of you are thinking that this doesn’t sound like fun at all. You may even be thinking this sounds crazy or like one of the deep levels of Hell. For those of you who ride, I don’t need to explain why riding a motorcycle brings so much pleasure. For those who don’t ride, there is really no explanation possible so I’m not going to get into why I’m doing this on a bike instead of in a car. Well…because going in a car just wouldn’t be as adventurous and I doubt anyone can argue with that.

We haven’t spent much time planning this trip other than picking up some some extra camping equipment and adding some power accessories to the bike so we can keep our various electronic goodies charged up. The route we have in mind is only going to be used as a guideline but will likely include the Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin, the Soux, Terrace Bay, Nipigon, Thunder Bay, Nagagamsis Park, Kapuskasing, Timmins, Temagami, North Bay, Algonquin Park and finally back to Toronto. If you want to see the big picture, click this link: Like I said though, it’s only a guideline. We haven’t made any camping reservations or booked any hotel rooms. We’re just going to ‘wing it’ and that adds to the whole adventure. There is something very appealing to not knowing what’s going to happen from one day to the next, not knowing where we will stop for the night, and not knowing what road we will take next.

Some of the areas we will be riding through will be void of mobile phone coverage so to keep people informed as to where we are and how we’re making out, we picked up a Spot Satellite GPS Messenger. Not only will people be able to follow us on our ‘location map’ but should something go horribly wrong and we aren’t able to use our phones, this device can be used to send out a distress signal and alert emergency responders as to our location. If you want to follow us, you can do so via this link: As we ‘Check In’, the map will become populated with Waypoints, which you can review.

You can also follow along on Facebook.

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