Bees, High Cholesterol and Hockey Moms

You've got your bike all tuned up, a week off work and a couple of great destinations in your sights. What could go wrong?

Ontario, Canada is one of the best and most varied motorcycling locations in the world. With it also comes with a few local hazards that riders passing through should be aware of in advance. Here is a short list of what can go wrong to make sure you are more prepared than MacGyver and that your adventures up north are as smooth as a baby’s bum. Without further ado:

10 - Little to Nil Cell Phone Coverage 

Photo courtesy of
Martin Lortz/OuterImages

The joy of cruising through the middle of nowhere in the wilderness of Ontario on your chopper also comes at the price of your cell phone coverage. While some riders may rely largely on the GPS on their phones be warned, this is not a full proof navigation solution. The further north you go the higher the chance that your phone GPS and service will cut out. Sometimes the old ways are the best. If you’re planning a trip into the wilds of the north remember that nothing beats a good old fashion map.

9 - Poutine

Sweet and delicious heart valve-blocking poutine

For the uneducated Poutine is a Canadian culinary dream concoction originating out of Quebec. It is a combination of French fries and luscious cheese curds topped with sweet unruly light brown gravy. Obviously there is nothing negative in that description I just gave you, but poutine is also like the devil’s diabetic handshake with your circulatory system. Poutine is the reason when you ride home your other souvenir is high cholesterol. If you decide to eat this Canuck crack make sure to use some self control and not eat it four times a day like some authors of this article.

8 - Rain

Meet my best friend, Rain Gear

It’s well known that the southern border of Ontario rests on a foundation of Great Lakes. With Great Lakes comes a great responsibility…to bring rain gear. It is a fact that weathermen in Ontario (and any other province, state, or country in the world) are a bunch of professional guessers that really have no idea of what the weather will be. Add that to the lake effect and it can and will rain at least once when you least expect it during your ride through Ontario. While the weather will mostly be fantastic, just have the right rain gear ready at a moments notice for the inevitable rainstorm.

7 - Sun

Don’t be fooled by that nice cool riding weather, because that sun at the centre of the solar system is beating down on you. Even if you are not hot you are absorbing U.V. rays. I suggest always having a tube of sun tan lotion and some U.V. protective chap stick even if you are wearing a helmet. You may smell like the beach, but at least you won’t have to worry about those red raccoon sun burnt helmet eyes or future skin cancer.

6 - Bees

An edited reaction to my being stung twice on the ribs and ripping my jacket, helmet, and shirt off on the side of the road.

For whatever reason, fate, destiny, or some sort of voodoo curse, I’ve hit bees and been stung at least three times while riding in Ontario. There is no language colorful enough or P.C. enough for me to describe my disdain for these tiny flying black and yellow hypodermic needles. You honestly can’t do much to stop them from stinging you, but you can have the means to ease the pain afterwards. I’m absolutely not a professional doctor or medical practitioner of any sort, but a life of running into bees at 60 miles an hour has taught me it is wise to bring some cortisone cream, anti-sting cream, and an antihistamine allergy pill along to help counteract the swelling and irritability that a sting could cause. Stupid bees. 

5 - Sparse Gas Stations

Another trade off for riding through all that sweet empty beautiful Canadian wilderness is a lack of gas stations. At one point or another in the more rural parts of Ontario you will hit 100km- 200km stretches without gas stations. Considering the low volume size of most motorcycle gas tanks you’re going to have to do your homework and figure out distances between stops for gassing up. Also, I like to carry a jerry can of petrol to bail me out in case of an emergency. 

4 - Logging Trucks

The further north you go the more you will find yourself at some point behind one of these big cumbersome giants tree haulers. Additionally, if you’re a fan of the Final Destination movie franchise you’ve always got the “logs getting loose and flattening everyone in traffic” scene stuck in your head. You’ve got two options with logging trucks; you can give yourself an abundance of safe distance or wait for the right opportunity to make a safe nimble pass and start enjoying the view again.

3 - Bears

Nothing like a bear chase to get the blood flowing

Don’t mistake Yogi for these giant fur bags with four-inch claws. While bears are mostly curious and non-threatening, on my last trip through Northeastern Ontario one did chase me away from my camera tripod. This was honestly my fault since I wasn’t utilizing proper situational awareness and I was hanging out in the bear’s neighborhood nonchalantly. Just try to keep an eye out and don’t be totally oblivious while admiring the majesty of all that wilderness. 

2 - Moose

Beware, invincible moose ahead

Bears can be dangerous, but Moose are giant horned monsters of death that eat Honda Civics for breakfast. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but moose are a very real danger. While you won’t see many moose (I’ve yet to encounter one on all my trips) they are arguably the most dangerous animals in Canada. Besides their extremely territorial nature they are mountainous creatures that will flatten you if you run into them. Scary old men in bars have many a story of hockey teams in vans hitting a moose in the night and the van is destroyed and the moose walks away without a scratch. Everyone seems to have the same advice, if you see one go the other direction.

1 - Hockey Moms in Mini-Vans in Tim Horton’s Parking Lots

A typical hockey mom exiting a Tim Horton’s drive thru

Bees, bears, moose, these creatures are nothing compared to the mythical and abundant hockey mom drifting Fast and the Furious style in their mini-vans through any Tim Horton’s parking lot you happen to be in. In EVERY Timmy’s I stopped in to get a cup of joe there was a hockey mom laying down rubber as if a girl just dropped her handkerchief at the beginning of a drag race. When a hockey mom pulls into a Tim Hortons she actually accelerates into the parking lot. I have a theory that several of the car stunts in the new Mad Max were based off security camera footage of mom’s with 3-5 kids in their mini-vans sliding sideways through a Tim Hortons' drive thru. This is a thing, you will see it, be prepared, and watch your butt…or just go to McDonald's. 

Hopefully this brief list of possible hazards and solutions has prepared you for an easy going, pain free, and most of all totally enjoyable experience riding your hog down one of Ontario’s many epic and beautiful highways

About Stephen Bischoff

Stephen Bischoff is a travel writer and the creator of the travel blog  Three years ago fed up with cubicle life Stephen set out on a journey to find something more. After signing a contract to teach in South Korea he proceeded to travel over 26 countries and 3 continents. After riding motorcycles around Vietnam, living and training with Shaolin Monks in China, and witnessing an exorcism in Mongolia his adventure continues. If you’d like to learn more about Stephen and his writings you can follow him at the social media links below.

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