We awoke at 4:30 am to drive to Toronto for our motorcycle course with Motorsoul Riding School. A fresh blanket of snow had fallen on the ground and they were calling for high wind warnings today.
Motorcycle Training Toronto – MotorSoul Riding School
We were dreading the cold day ahead but excited to learn how to ride a motorcycle. Plus, we knew that this was our only chance to take our test before our weekend training rides begin.
Dave and I are taking on another epic challenge this summer.
In the span of one short Ontario riding season, we are going to learn how to ride a motorcycle, enjoy a few weekend rides around our beautiful province and then in July, we are going to circumnavigate Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world!
Many people learn to ride motorcycles, but not many learn to ride and then take on an epic journey in one season. We are here to show you that it can be done!
It all started with a brainstorming session in the Ontario Tourism office last September. As we sat around the table discussing adventures for ThePlanetD to enjoy in our home province, the motorcycle idea came up.
We immediately gravitated to that. Everyone loved the idea and at the end of the conversation they said “And you do know how to ride right?”
To which we replied…”No”.
One of our favourite parts of traveling is learning a new skill. We take on these adventures with no previous knowledge or experience and prove to ourselves (and others) that ordinary people can do it! Riding a motorcycle would be no different than the other challenges we’ve done.
We will be working with professionals and experts in their field to learn about the task at hand, we’ll be training for the adventure and have the proper skills and knowledge to survive and thrive, and finally we’ll enjoy a life changing, incredible journey!
And so, this brings us to today, an unusually cold day in April where we have one shot to learn our skills and pass our test so that we can start riding immediately after we return to the country at the end of the month.
We only had this one weekend in Ontario to take our course. We’re back out traveling next week so this was our one and only window to pass and move on. Needless to say, we felt the pressure.
We arrived at a parking lot in Ontario Place on the Toronto waterfront and the wind was fierce. We sat in our car waiting for the last minute to get out and face the elements sipping our McDonalds lattes (don't judge us :)) that we picked up for the drive in.
Luckily Dave and I were set up when it came to gear by Parts Canada in London, Ontario and at least we’d be warm and dry on the bikes during this cold day of riding. We slid into our AlpineStars motorcycle gear and instantly felt comfortable and confident.
We were suited up from head to toe with our pants and jackets lined with body armour to protect our elbows, knees, backs and hips. The Gortex shells protect from wind and rain and the detachable liner allows for riding in cold or warmer weather.
With our state of the art HJC helmets, we were fully loaded. I can’t say enough about these helmets.
I’m talking blue tooth ready, a visor and an extra drop down sun visor, plus our chin guard can be pushed up when not driving so we can have a sip of water or a snack without taking off our helmets. They rock!
We’ll be talking about gear and Parts Canada in a future installment of the Ontario Motorcycle diaries, but for now, just know that they are awesome!
MotorSoul Riding School
We started off our day getting to know the bikes. Before we even turned on the engine we played around with the throttle, the gears, the clutch and the brake.
We even pushed each other around in a circle to get used to sitting on the motorcycle in motion.
Ginny of Motorsoul has 15 bikes that were all parked in the lot and we had our pick of litter to practice on. She told us to change it up all day and try out new ones when we can. Each bike is different and it’s important to be comfortable on all of them.
We have partnered with Honda Canada for our motorcycle adventure through Ontario and decided to stay true to brand so we hopped on a couple of nice 125 cc bikes for our course.
Honda sent two sweet bikes for us, but the 250 cc and 500cc machines were way too big to learn on. Luckily, Ginny of Motorsoul Riding School has a few Hondas of her own so we were able to use our beloved partner for this experiment.
We were happy to learn on smaller less intimidating machines but can’t wait to take these babies out for a test drive in the near future.
Before we even started riding the bikes, we simply learned how to let the clutch out gradually and allow the bike to roll ahead to the end of our parking spot. Once we had that mastered, it was time to do some slow riding around the parking lot.
We kept the bikes in first gear while feathering the clutch and back brake. This gave us stability to drive around and around until we felt comfortable balancing on two wheels. The hardest part was keeping an even throttle.
Throughout the 8 hour day, we slowly and progressively added on tasks until by the time 4:30 rolled around, we had already got our bikes into 2nd and 3rd gear, we had done some cornering, stopping and turning. I was most nervous about shifting gears, but it turns out to be quite easy on a motorcycle.
We were having so much fun, we didn’t even feel the cold, save for our fingers. Motorcycle gloves aren’t exactly made for cold weather (your supposed to dig out the bikes when the sun in shining) and when you have to keep your hand on the clutch and throttle at all times, they are exposed to the cold forever.
By the end of the day our bodies ached, our minds were swirling with information and our hands screamed in pain. Ginny told us all that it’s the tension that we are all feeling.
We’re gripping the handlebars so tight and holding all our tension in our backs and necks as new riders. Being that tense for a solid 8 hours while trying to learn a new skill is exhausting. She told us that after we get the hang of it, we’ll relax into the ride and be able to go for hours on end.
But for now, as the day 1 of our motorcycle training ended, we felt exhausted and were grateful for our foresight to book a hotel in Toronto. To think we were considering commuting for the weekend! When they warned us that we’d be tired tonight, that was an understatement.
We checked into our hotel, grabbed a bite to eat and after dinner, we immediately went back to our room where we drifted off into dreamland for the night.
Tomorrow is a big day, so no celebrating just yet! We had more to learn and an motorcycle driver’s exam to take. Did we pass? How did it go?
Well, you are going to have to wait for the next installment of The Ontario Motorcycle Diaries. Stay tuned each Monday all summer long!
Our wonderful Partners for Ride Lake Superior
MotorSoul Driving School runs motorcycle training courses for all skill levels all summer long beginning in March! They also have a riders forum where you can ask questions and find people to ride with.
Honda Canada will be providing our motorcycles for our summer rides and Lake Superior Tour.
Parts Canada is the national distributor of aftermarket parts and accessories for the Canadian power sports industry. They are exclusive to many brands including our amazing HJC helmets and Alpinestars boots, pants, jackets and gloves.