We are finally on the cusp of the new riding season; the weather is cooperating and the roads are dry (though still dirty). Drivers won’t be accustomed to seeing motorcycles on the road quite yet, however, so it would be wise to exercise caution if you get out this month and dress warmly, as the weather is uncertain at best these days. If you get out for a ride, always look twice at every intersection, once for you and once for the other motorists.
Since the new season is about to launch, I thought everyone might appreciate a rundown of some key events that are on the horizon.
The ever-popular Moto Socials are back in full force. These evening get-togethers have already fired up around the globe; however, Canada’s first Moto social is Wednesday, May 4 in Toronto with the actual location to be determined prior to the event. Watch for news on all social media platforms and check out the details and other locations at www.motosocial.com. Say hey to founders Vik and Samantha Radics, who have been “building community” since 2013.
If you are an adventure bike rider, there are a couple of early-season events that should satisfy your appetite for riding in some incredible locations on beautiful roads.
The first on the list is the Classique on May 20, 21, and 22 and is probably the largest adventure rider event in Canada, attracting up to 800 participants. The Classique is based out of the Lachute, Quebec, fairgrounds in the Ottawa River valley and is not far from Hawkesbury, Ontario. Organizer Marc Chartrand and his team have assembled a full weekend of riding routes and activities for the ADV rider including five different routes over two days, each one suited to varying degrees of skilled riders and sizes of bikes. Also on the menu are demo rides, workshops, camping onsite, and displays. The Classique roads in the area of the western Laurentians are perfectly suited to all types of dirt bikes including adventure bikes. See www.classiquemoto.ca for all the details. I will be there offering Harley-Davidson Pan America owners riding tips and other bits of advice.
June 3, 4, and 5 are the dates for the Eastern Ontario Adventure Rally or EOAR and is headquartered at the Calabogie Peaks Resort. Organizer Lee Martin promises to deliver three different routes that should satisfy all types of riders and bikes. See www.rallyconnex.com for all the information on this and other events Lee and his team organize.
An interesting sidebar to the EOAR is I will be doing a live podcast at the EOAR Saturday evening with John Boisvenue and Jason Milne, two dirt bike enthusiasts and event organizers who have started doing some excellent podcasts for all things dirt bike related. Check out “In The Cave” on Spotify and Amazon Music.
This brings us to a natural segue to another event that John and Jason put together – the Ottawa Valley Rally or OVR, which is based at the Sunny Hill Resort on Bark Lake just outside of Barry’s Bay on June 16 to 19. The fifth annual OVR welcomes riders of trail bikes and adventure bikes and can very difficult if you take the extreme enduro level challenges; fortunately, there are beginner-level trails as well. Check out www.valleyrallyenduro.
On the same weekend (June 17 and 18) KTM Canada is putting on its fourth KTM Adventure Rally in Saint-Michel-des Saints at Auberge du Lac Taureau. The rally format is a brilliant idea based on two- to four-person teams for bikes larger than 600 cc. The concept is to reward the team with the most accurate navigation skills. The competition is not a speed contest and is open to riders of all brands of motorcycles. Check out www.ktmcanada.com for all the details.
Street bike riders have the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride to call their own. It happens around the world Sunday, May 22 to support and benefit men’s health focusing on prostate cancer and mental health. Check out the website www.gentlemansride.com. Locations in Canada are from coast to coast all on the same day.
For an organized casual dirt bike trail ride near the GTA, the Ontario Federation of Trail Riders or OFTR holds informal dirt bike trail rides throughout the season, the second one is just north of Barrie and is called the Midhurst Trail ride on May 29. The website is www.oftr.ca. The trails in this area are some of the best hardwood forest single track anywhere. You can ride these trails all season if you join the OFTR and if events are your thing, there is an event nearly every weekend all summer long.
More serious off-road competitors have a full complement of racing events available across the country. You have to check regionally to find the clubs and organizations that put the various races on to find out what is going on near where you live. Here in Ontario, www.offroadontario.ca is the site to visit for all the information to test your mettle against Ontario’s best off-road racers.
If you like swap meets, the Niagara Timberline Riders have brought back their annual vintage bike swap meet Saturday, April 23. Check their website www.niagaratimberlineriders.com for details.
A few weeks afterwards on Saturday, May 7, at the Paris Fairgrounds in Paris, Ontario, the Harry Seeds Memorial Swap meet takes place. There are usually some funky finds that come out of garages at these fun social events.
Our friends at Town Moto stage a few events based at the location at 132 Ossington Ave. in Toronto. April 21 is the first one this season and is called New Rider Night. Geared towards answering all the questions someone new to motorcycling may have, it’s very well received usually. Check their site www.townmoto.com.
For those of you who don’t know, hard or extreme enduro has taken on a life of its own in recent years. Riders perform magic-like acrobatics while taking on terrain most mortals cannot fathom riding up or down. One important announcement for the upcoming season is round seven of the FIM Red Bull Hard Enduro World Championship that will be held in the rural Alberta Badlands. It is called “Outliers” and it is an important step forward for the Canadian off-road scene mainly because events of this magnitude rarely come to Canada and we have some of the best extreme enduro riders in the world. In fact, B.C. native Trystan Hart is the current U.S. extreme or hard enduro national champion. Spenser Wilton of Calgary, Alberta, is another up-and-comer making in-roads in the extreme game. Both put on an impressive showing at the Grinding Stone Hard Enduro on March 26, which was the season opener of the nine-round AMA Hard Enduro Series near Paige, Arizona, last weekend. Hart took home the win and Wilton wound up 10th overall. To further the credibility of the Canadian Outliers event, the race organizer Shane Cuthbertson also raced and won the plus 45 class.
The Outliers will take place August 27 and 28 and will draw the world’s best extreme enduro riders. The first race in the eight-race series was held in Israel last weekend and was won by Spaniard Mario Roman. To find out more about the FIM Hard Enduro World Championships visit iridehardenduro.com. You can follow all things enduro-related at www.enduro21.com.