Rewind 5 years. Its 2006, I’m 16 years old in grade 10 at Belle River District High School. While the most crucial and defying event in most people’s lives that year was passing their G2 test, I had something other than cars on my mind: motorcycles. The idea of getting my M2 was not something I had ever wanted though, or even thought of. It was my Dad who suggested it and while at first I thought he was either joking or had lost his mind, the more I thought about it the more appealing it seemed. So in the early fall of 2006, together off we went to a two day motorcycle course at St Clair College that taught all the basics needed to know about riding. Two long days later after some terrifying moments, a few tears and lots of newly gained skills that are needed to ride on two wheels, I still did not have my license. Due to a few mistakes (probably from nerves… I was a 16 year old 100lb girl riding a 'death machine' as my mother likes to think of them after all), I failed my M2 on the last day of class for ‘being too cautious’. While at first it was upsetting, embarrassing and not something I generally like to admit, I wasn’t discouraged. A few weeks later with some new found confidence, I headed back to the college and successfully retook the test.
Now that I had my license, the only logical next step was to get a bike. During the course at the college everyone was provided with a small Honda Rebel 250cc which I fell in love with: it was small enough that I could reach the ground, light enough that I could hold it up, and easy to maneuver. It was the perfect bike for beginners. My first bike however ended up being a black Yamaha Virago 250cc, so naturally I ended up falling in love with that too, just because I could call it my own. From then on I always went out riding with my dad, never alone (this kept my mom happy with the whole situation), so it was more of a leisure activity than for practical use. For the next few years I rode the Virago, but also ended up getting a small scooter in grade 12.
In the fall of 2008 I moved away from home and up to St Catharines for school and sadly my motorcycle and the scooter did not come with me. In spring 2010 though, my Dad did come across a yellow Kawasaki Ninja 250cc which had always been my dream (a sports bike that came with a lowering kit, so I could actually reach the ground). For a few weeks I thought I almost had him convinced that it would be a good idea to buy it for me, but instead, the ‘responsible’ choice was made and I ended up with a yellow beetle instead.
Even though my riding has been on hiatus for the last few years because of school, I don’t think it is something I’ll ever give up. So that’s where this blog comes into play. While riding around Essex county on the Virago as a teenager was quite thrilling at the time, it doesn’t quite compare to the narrow winding roads of Europe, the long stretch of coastal highway in California, or through the Southern Alps in New Zealand, on bikes like the Ninja, Ducati's, or BMW's. So here are some of my thoughts and findings on the best motorcycle tours around the world, the best bikes to take on them, and why anyone can do it.