Confessions of a Moto Snob

A motorcycle fanatic gets the opportunity to try out ATVing. Can he be converted?

My two-wheel infatuation is now a few decades old, and in all this time I must confess the idea of trading up to four wheels was never a consideration. In my opinion, what’s the point? They’re too easy to ride, slow, big, and lack the challenge. But then I believe that everything is worth trying once, so when an opportunity presented itself to give ATVing a go, I couldn't resist.

I met up with Kim and Joe of Back Country Tours at a secret location in Muskoka for an introduction to their equipment and a tour of their forest playground. A quick how-to lesson from Kim; brake, throttle, shift your weight to the side, front, back; and most importantly, don’t try to put your feet down on the ground – a common occurrence when on two wheels, not a good idea on four. Fire it up, a few test turns, and we’re good to go.


Yes, the operation of an ATV is pretty simple. Automatic transmission means no need to concern yourself with gear changing; just press the thumb control throttle and you’re off. With brake controls at both hands and the right foot, stopping is a breeze. Super stable four-wheel platform, tipping over not much of a concern. So does easy to ride mean boring? No, but it does mean that anybody can ride one and experience the thrill of motor sports, and that’s a good thing.


Mud, water, rocks, logs dirt roads, all fun; the challenge is in the terrain, and there is something here for every skill level. My favourite is the tech sections. At first glance they seem to be impassible stretches of mud and rocks, but steady your throttle hand, shift your weight, pick your line, and it’s amazing what these machines can get through.


The ATV, safety gear and guides are part of the tour package, but there are a couple of items you need to bring. Two things you are guaranteed to find in the forests of northern Ontario are trees and bugs; during certain times of the year, the bugs outnumber the trees. Bug spray is a must; how liberally you need to apply it depends on the season. Mud and ATVs go hand in hand: whether you splash through a shallow puddle or test the limits of your machine in a seat-deep river crossing, you will get wet, you will get dirty; a change of clothes and a towel for the trip home, a good idea.


So here we are taking a break on the trail, wet, dirty and tired. Sharing a laugh in the company of friends or family, or maybe just enjoying the solitude of being alone. The setting sun warms your face, the dust sparkles in the air as it drifts back down to the ground. Two wheels or four, this is what it’s all about—friends, nature, good trails and a motor—good times.

So has this experience changed my opinion of ATV riding? Hmm... Yes, I was wrong. There, I said it. I sure hope my wife doesn’t read this; just knowing these words exist in my vocabulary could alter the balance of our marriage forever.

Today was a blast!

Click here to book a tour at the highly recommended Back Country Tours. 

For more photos visit

If you're in the area and looking for a place to stay, check out these ATV-friendly resorts:

Bayview Wildwood

Northridge Inn & Resort

Beachwood Resort

About Martin Lortz

Martin Lortz is a freelance photographer/writer specializing in the outdoor lifestyle. Whether he is covering adventure motorcycling, kayak fishing or family oriented outdoor pursuits, his passion for capturing the beauty of nature and the people that partake in it, is evident in his work. His photos and articles have appeared in magazines such as Ski Canada, Explore, Bike, Mountain Life, Couloir, Kayak Angler and Family Camping, as well as in calendars, catalogs and brochures.

Related Articles

Vintage ATVs: A Guide to Your Favourite Rides

From Honda's FourTrax to today's bush-bashing UTVs, here's a brief history of the ATV (and why you should care).

Everyone is welcome!

Law Change Allows All Off-Road Vehicles Access to Public Roads

Ontario ATV Events

Poker Runs, Mud Bogs, Charity Rides, Rallies and more!

Ride On

How to legally ride ATVs and Side by Sides

Where to Stay in Ontario

10 Amazingly ATV-Friendly Lodges and Resorts

Will you ride the new electric wave?

Quieter, cooler, made in Canada, and better for the environment—these lean green ATVs have it all.

Guided ATV Tours

Are You Ready to Hit the Trails?

Which Permit Do I Need for this Trail?

How to Navigate Ontario's ATV Trails

Getting Started on ATVing in Ontario

Everything you need to know.

Ride the North

5 ATV Adventures Worth Trailering To

Powersports, Trailers and the Law

How To Avoid Big Fines

ATVing for Couples

Can mud and romance possibly mix?

One of Ontario's best-kept secrets

World-class riding in Bancroft

Park to Park ATV Trails

Now easier than ever to expand your ATV adventure with OnePass

R & R & R

A Weekend on one of Mukwa Adventure guided ATV tours offers a chance to rest, relax, and ride!

ATVing Algonquin West

Best Trails in Ontario

Central Ontario ATV Club

From Wasaga Beach to Barrie and beyond

Off-road Adventures Close to Home

The 9 best ATV tours in "Southern" Ontario

4 places to camp and ride in Ontario

Hop aboard for some ATV adventure camping!

That Time YouTube Came to Mattawa

An ATV YouTubers' couples retreat!