The Road To Wellness
My family and I have always had a passion for motorcycles. Despite the craziness that life seems to throw our way, we’re always able to find a way to relax or manage that stress. Usually that involves some good ol’ throttle therapy.
Work/life balance is hard; when you combine a job, school, kids, and all the responsibilities that can come along with those things, it may seem like you can never keep your head above water. Your patience starts to waiver; your sleep isn’t the greatest, you might become a bit irritable with those you love—and there’s usually something in the back of your mind (or maybe it’s your mom over a glass of wine) telling you that you need a break or some serious “me time.”
The definition of “me time” varies from person to person. Maybe for you it’s just shutting the door to your room and listening to music; maybe it’s watching a mindless TV show, or perhaps it involves getting together with friends.
YOU CAN’T SPELL HELMET TIME WITHOUT ME TIME
In my case, I’ve enjoyed a nice balance of activities to de-stress and unwind, depending on my mood. One such activity stems from my childhood and involves riding a motorcycle. The adrenaline rush combined with increased senses of sight, sound, and smell, and the eerie yet welcome silence inside my helmet is exactly what I need sometimes. My “helmet time” is my “me time”—it’s the time when I don’t need to think about work, or my to-do list, or anything at all. It’s when I can have a clear head, dream, or think about the future. It’s calming, yet exhilarating at the same time.
Since I grew up riding in a motorcycle family, some of my best memories are of going for rides with mom and dad on their Harley Davidson motorcycles. Despite not talking during rides, we experienced an unbelievable closeness and shared experiences that we may not have experienced using other means of transportation. Motorcycle rides were our way to reconnect as a family; it was a way to just leave work and stress behind, put life on hold, and just enjoy.
MOTHER-DAUGHTER TIME, HARLEY STYLE
As I’ve gotten older, the family time has dwindled slightly as the responsibilities have grown. It seems like now we need to schedule time to see each other much at all, and rely on various outings to help us reconnect. When an opportunity to visit Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain came along, my mom, Janice, and I both jumped at the chance to try something new while also getting in some rest and relaxation.
With a grin on her face, and the nod of my head, we both revved the throttles of our Harleys as we left the concrete jungle in Toronto and headed Northwest to Grey County. My steed was a Harley Iron 883, while Mom was on a Heritage Classic—both great bikes—each one with certain features that we each loved. It was one of the last good weather weekends of the riding season.
The leaves were turning, the air was brisk, and we were on cloud nine as we cruised down Highways 9, 10, and 124. Each rolling hill brought us closer to Georgian Bay, which we could see in the distance.
We barely stopped, eager to get to our destination and relax for the night. No talking was needed on this ride. We also didn’t need radios, just our hand signals giving the thumbs up and our sparkling eyes were enough for me to know that my mom was in her glory. This was mother-daughter time, Harley style.
We rolled into Craigleith Manor B&B in the early evening and parked the bikes before enjoying some libations out on the patio. Talking was welcome that night as we knew full well in the morning that our talk time would be limited. You see, Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain is based on principles of hydrotherapy and Finnish traditions, which emphasize quiet relaxation. In other words: no talking allowed.
SILENCE IS GOLDEN
Scandinave Spa in Collingwood features 25 acres surrounded by beautiful forest and views of the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Niagara Escarpment. The property consists of various pools, saunas, and relaxation areas to use—and also offers massages (make sure you call ahead to book!) and a quaint bistro.
Following the Scandinavian philosophy involves adhering to a 3-stage process: 1. Body Warming, 2. Cool Rinse, and 3. Relaxation. This process involves heating yourself up in a sauna or hot bath, then dipping in a cold pool, then relaxing by the fireplace or in a Muskoka chair or solarium to warm back up.
The idea is that the circuit will help dilate blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, and increase blood flow. And then, by dipping in cold water you will release endorphins and increase blood pressure. The third step helps to stabilize blood flow and heart rate. It is recommended that this process be repeated at least three times during each visit to enjoy the full therapeutic rewards.
Ultimately the goal of using hydrotherapy (various methods for using water for therapeutic purposes) is to assist the body to heal, and attain complete physical and mental relaxation to combat the effects of stress. After our two hour ride to Collingwood, we certainly welcomed the opportunity to swap our leathers for bathing suits, and the low rumble of engines for the sound of waterfalls.
Feeling relaxed, revitalized, and rejuvenated, we decided to get lost on purpose on the ride home. I had a general idea of how to get back, but took a few wrong turns which brought us down along Riverside Drive to the small town of Creemore. As the traffic increased and trees turned to concrete, we returned to Toronto feeling reconnected as mother and daughter. A new tradition had formed, and we promised to return soon for another motorcycle trip to the spa.