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Book Overview: The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel Planning, Outfitting, and Accessorizing

A revised version of The Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel has been published and it's well worth a look if you're planning a trip. There's tons of pictures and while some of them appear to be kept from the 2007 version you'll still get the idea. A camera mount for example might have a 2007 edition of a camera - tough to keep up with the technology there but the mounts will still work fine with more modern gear.

Overall we'd say it's a highly useful book if you're interested in motorcycle travel or if you're already motorcycle traveling and want to learn some new tricks. The updates are mostly related to the latest information on using and integrating mobile and Bluetooth communications, GPS navigation, high-efficiency lighting, action cameras, and high-tech materials and fabrics.

Full details here:

Touring on two wheels is one of life’s simple pleasures. And learning how to do it right can help keep it that way. This new 2nd edition of  Dale Coyner’s popular Essential Guide to Motorcycle Travel is full of the collected tips,  tricks, and advice of seasoned travelers and experts from the motorcycling community that help to maximize the ride, while minimizing lessons learned the hard way. In sharing their  broad experiences, along with his own, bestselling author and straight-shooter Dale Coyner  offers up the wisdom riders need to plan their own dream trips, accessorize their bikes, outfit themselves and their passengers, and deal with contingencies as they inevitably arise, whether out for a day-trip on home turf, a riding vacation in another part of the country, or preparing to conquer the far asphalt reaches of the globe.

Coyner leads both newcomers and veterans step by step in the right direction, outlining a template for estimating mileage and expenses, and offering advice for evaluating the many excellent gear and apparel choices veteran riders use to stay warm, cool, and dry in the face of the elements. Small adjustments to ergonomics can also make big differences in comfort. Numerous and versatile luggage options can be mixed and matched to keep gear secure, and trailers can open up new possibilities for camping or hauling necessities.

Since the fun factor decreases when things aren’t fundamentally safe, Coyner also teaches how to manage the variables under every rider’s control, which can include choosing tires and accessory lighting, packing well, performing preventive maintenance, and adding electrical gadgets responsibly. Today’s two-wheeled travelers can easily integrate into their cockpit all the benefits and convenience of smartphones, Bluetooth communication, digital entertainment, GPS navigation, and action cameras, and Coyner shows you how. Knowing what is available and how to install it allows one to make savvy choices that will increase enjoyment on the road.

And, after all, isn’t that the whole point? 

About the Author:

Dale Coyner is an avid, experienced motorcyclist and the owner of Open Road Outfitters, a motorcycle accessory shop in Sterling, Virginia, that specializes in the sale and installation of motorcycle trailers, lighting, and electronics. His first book,Motorcycle Journeys Through the Appalachians, remains a popular guide for motorcyclists planning trips through the mid-Atlantic and his newest touring guide,Motorcycle Journeys Through North America, catalogs and describes the iconic destination highways that have inspired riders over the decades to take to the road.

In 2006, Coyner was appointed to the Governor’s Motorcycle Advisory Council for the  Commonwealth of Virginia to promote motorcycle tourism, safety, and economic development. He speaks frequently at rallies and motorcycle club meetings on motorcycle travel and related technical topics.

Format: 8.25 x 10.5 inches
Pages: 189
Art: approx. 275 color photos and illustrations
Retail price: $27.95 USD
Amazon price: $17.55

Motorcycle Journeys Through New England

Here's a new edition of the always well done Motorcycle Journeys Through series from WhiteHorse Press covering New England. New England is a close ride for a huge population of riders. I've personally been to many of the States covered in this book and must say that there are some fantastic roads and scenery.

Full details:

Center Conway, NH, June 2013—Whitehorse Press has just released an all-new edition of one of its most popular touring guides, Motorcycle Journeys Through New England, just in time for riders to make the most of the riding season.

New England has everything a motorcyclist could want: twisty, historic roads; wild and scenic vistas; and interesting, quirky, accessible destinations worthy of stretching your legs. Vermont native and moto-insider Ken Aiken thoroughly covers Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island in 28 routes that catalog the very best they have to offer, from shoreline to summit.

The pace of touring on two wheels is especially well suited to appreciating and pondering the forces—both natural and man-made—that continue to shape New England. Many of the most popular riding roads evolved from native and pre-colonial trade routes, which may have begun as game trails. Routes rise, fall, and sweep with contours that follow a rugged terrain initially traversed during a slower time. Few books before this one have offered up as many regional gems to touring riders. In addition, Aiken has tapped into his lifelong interests in history, architecture, geology, and industry to offer up fascinating tidbits of local detail, adding colour and context to the extrasensory movie that will be playing on your visor.

This all-new edition of Motorcycle Journeys Through New England features full-colour maps with turn-by-turn directions for each suggested route, along with updated information for motorcycle-friendly services, memorable lodging and dining, and points of interest that take you off the beaten path.

Ken Aiken is the author of Motorcycle Journeys Through Atlantic Canada and Touring Vermont’s Scenic Roads, and has written feature articles and reviews for most of the major motorcycle touring magazines in North America. For more than a decade he has been a seminar speaker at Americade in June, and more recently has been the U.S. representative for motorcycle tourism in Canada for the Charlevoix, Mauricie, Saguenay, and the Maritime regions of Québec.

Details on Motorcycle Journeys Through New England:

Softbound, 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches, 352 pages, colour illustrations and relief maps, detailed route instructions, $27.95. Copies will be available at your local bookstore, motorcycle dealer, or can be ordered in advance directly from the publisher, Whitehorse Press, 107 East Conway Road, Center Conway, NH 03813-4012. Telephone toll free 800-531-1133 or visit their web site at

Roads Less Travelled - Touring Ontario: Algoma Country

Roads Less Travelled - Touring Ontario: Algoma Country
By Dustin Woods, photos by Robert Stimpson

Dustin Woods is an automotive and motorcycle journalist and a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Based in Toronto where residents experience two distinct and equally frustrating seasons; winter and construction, Woods is happiest when the city fades away from view in the mirrors of a two-wheeled machine.


While there are many fair-weather motorcyclists who are content to tear up the same local tarmac week after week, there are others who constantly gaze towards the horizon, ever searching out new roads that will prove more picturesque and challenging than those outside their front door. There are thousands of astoundingly beautiful, scenic routes across this great continent that await those who are willing to take the time to search them out. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained. One such riding destination exists between Lakes Huron and Superior known as Algoma Country.

Millions of years ago, during the Precambrian era, a multitude of lakes and rivers were carved out of the earth, creating unique rock formations and stunning views amidst the landscape. Much of this incredibly diverse and distinctive geographical entity remains virtually untouched, allowing a co-existence with nature unseen in most of the world.

A total of 11 National parks as well as nature and wildlife preserves span this landscape where it is not uncommon to come across foxes, deer, hawks, moose or beavers during a ride. This isn’t just tourism department PR either, as I was fortunate enough to come across much of the aforementioned wildlife firsthand during my brief experience in the area. Lacking in gridlock, road rage and even streetlights for the most part, this area has become a playground for nature and motorcycle enthusiasts alike.

There are many reasons why riders may avoid venturing too far from home; kids, pets, work obligations, or even the belief that they will have to ‘rough it’ while on the road. While enduring the lack of cleanliness in truck stop restrooms is something that is difficult to avoid during long road trips away from metropolitan centers, there are a variety of options available for lodging in Algoma Country. Whether you want to experience the pristine wilderness firsthand by camping under the stars or enjoy the indulgence of a pool, hot shower, wireless Internet and satellite television, you are likely to find accommodations that suit your needs. You won’t find a Ritz Carlton for hundreds of miles, but you won’t find the exorbitant cost or pretension that often comes with such luxury hotels either. Friendly, down to earth locals offer unsurpassed northern hospitality to the point where it is not uncommon for proprietors to open up their own homes to complete strangers when their motels are filled to the brim during high season.

An active gateway to the north, Algoma Country also offers access to eco-adventures, canoeing, kayaking and some of the finest fishing lodges in the world – that is if you ever want to get off your bike. For riders who wish to combine their two-wheeled touring with sight-seeing or outdoor adventures, there are many great places to be found. Whether you want to wait out a thunderstorm for a day or just indulge your inner tourist, Algoma Country also has many activities no matter what your interest.

The Algoma Central Railway offers year-round tours through 22,000 square miles of wilderness, including the world`s largest natural wildlife game preserve and the Agawa Canyon. Passengers witness some of the most scenic, pristine wildreness in the world, all from the comfortable cabin of a luxury train. After arriving in the Saulte following an eight hour bike ride, I decided to give my butt a break by stopping in to the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre. Home to antique and historic aircraft, interactive displays and simulators, the Heritage Centre spans 25,000 square feet and can easily occupy hours of your time while waiting for rain to pass or fog to lift.

Having only a couple of days to spare in the area, we decided to tackle the Grand Circle Tour, although there are many options for routes depending on how much time you have. We ventured out from Algoma`s Water Tower Inn where we stayed in downtown Saulte Ste. Marie. While travelling by motorcycle can create a multitude of hassles when it comes to washing, storage and safety, the Water Tower Inn is no stranger to motorsport enthusiasts all year round. Located behind the grand hotel is a locking, secure storage and maintenance facility to keep machines away from the elements as well as prying eyes. Ditto for the Lakeview Hotel in Wawa.

Boasted as one of the top ten drives in all of Canada, the trip from Saulte. Ste. Marie to Wawa Ontario follows the coastline of Lake Superior along Highway 17. No two turns are the same with each one offering a new view of the great lake. Our scenic afternoon ride to Wawa (yes, we saw the giant goose) was broken up by lunch at The Voyageurs` Lodge and Cookhouse, as well as a few stops for photo opportunities and restroom facilities. After parking the bikes directly outside our private cabins at the Wawa Motor Inn, we changed out of our riding gear and headed off to the Best Northern Resort for a truly memorable meal.

Bright and early the next morning, we topped ourselves up with Tim Horton`s coffee and our bikes with gas to set out on a totally different day of riding from the day before. Where Highway 17 boasts wide open views of Lake Superior, Highway 101 towards Chapleau darts inland providing tighter turns and an equally impressive backdrop with sparkling rivers and mountain ranges. After topping up the bikes and ourselves in Chapleau, we set off down Highway 129 back towards the Saulte, stopping first in Bruce Mines and then St. Joseph Island. The most western of the Manitoulin Islands, St. Joseph Island resides within the channel between Lakes Huron and Superior and offers a combination of majestic views and small town hospitality. Home to one of the Friday the 13th destinations, the Hilton Beach Inn is often a favored destination for bikers of all kinds.

Regardless of whether you are just starting out on two wheels or are a seasoned veteran, the stunning landscape and smooth roads of Algoma Country will keep you entertained for as much time as you have to invest. The motorcycle-friendly accommodations offer high value with surprisingly little expense, which makes the trip all the more worthwhile during these difficult economic times.

So this summer, instead of doing the same old loop week in and week out, head up to Algoma Country for a change of scenery - you won`t be disappointed.

Mainland Nova Scotia - Motorcycle Road Guide

This article comes by way of reader submission by Dave Cox - avid motorcyclist, and resident of Nova Scotia. He rides a Suzuki 800 Volusia; and ride he does, based on this map he has submitted. 

Dave clearly took some time on and off the motorcycle preparing this map.  On the map he ranks many routes across the mainland portion of Nova Scotia (excludes Cape Breton). If you look closely you can see that many of the exit numbers on the 100 series highways are included.

Dave has graciously provided us with a copy of his hand drawn map so we thought we'd share it with you as a resource you can use to help plan your next Nova Scotia adventure. If you're visiting the province this may greatly assist you in planning some interesting rides and avoiding some potentially disappointing ones. 

The home base of Canadian Motorcycle Rider is Nova Scotia so I know I'll be referring to this map and checking out some of these routes this summer.

In addition to the map itself, Dave mentions that a seemingly often overlooked gem of the mainland is the 245 and 337 that take you around Cape George between New Glasgow and Antigonish. He likens it to a mini-Cabot Trail and that it's probably THE best ride on the mainland. High praise - Might just have to make that one a priority!

Thanks Dave!

Another special thanks for this submission from Dave goes to Motorcycle Mojo to whom Dave first submitted the map to.  Thanks Motorcycle Mojo for also allowing us to publish the map and share it with riders.

Note: The map is large, so rather than post a small single image of it we've broken it down into three pieces that you can enlarge, print, and piece together to have as a reference. Piece them together starting with piece 1, then 2, and finally with 3.

Click the images below to enlarge them to their full size:

Image 1
Image 2Image 3

Some additional resources for motorcyclists in Nova Scotia that you may want to take a look at:

Cabot Trail Motorcycle Retreat - A motorcycle retreat nestled on 100 acres of wooded land in Middle River, Nova Scotia. They've got three guest rooms and are a great spot to stop when exploring the Cabot Trail. CanadianMotorcycleRider readers receive a 15% discount off already reasonable rates. Be sure to mention us when booking!

Motorcycle Tour Guide Nova Scotia - A free tour guide book of Nova Scotia geared specifically towards motorcyclists. A great companion to any motorcycle trip to Nova Scotia.

NS Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal WebCams - the highway camera site of the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. This site allows motorists to check out road and weather conditions on the Department's highway cameras during daylight hours. These cameras are located next to the highway at specific locations across the province.

NS Tourism Guide - Nova Scotia's official tourism website.  

A few Newfoundland "Motorcycle Must Ride" Coastal Routes

Content: Geoff Smith & Dan McAfee
Photos by: Geoff Smith unless otherwise noted.
* Click images for larger versions.

For those visiting the fair island of Newfoundland by motorcycle, be sure to include as much 'coastal road' riding as you can. You won't have to look far because the Island of Newfoundland boasts approximately 10,000 km's of coastline, with another 6,000 km's along the shores of Labrador. Even in a country as big as Canada, those are some impressive numbers!

On the coast is where you'll find many of the truly spectacular riding routes. And spectacular they are! It's not uncommon to see moose, icebergs, rocky cliffs, crashing ocean waves, light houses, and plenty of friendly Islanders.

The main highway (Trans Canada Highway [TCH] or Route 1) runs almost entirely inland, and can be somewhat dull, when compared to the wonderful vistas and serpentine roads you'll find along the coastal routes. The TCH is a great way to link the coastal routes though.

Here's small sampling of suggested Island of Newfoundland routes which will not fail to dazzle:

Western Newfoundland
- This region of Newfoundland runs from Port aux Basques to the top of the Great Northern Peninsula. With a 1.25-billion-year-old geological history as old as the planet and a human history going back 4,500 years there's plenty to see and do; both on and off the motorcycle.

1. Deer Lake to Trout River (Route 430 and 431)

Deer Lake has a rich heritage and a history dating back to 1864 when the first settlers arrived. According to the town's website; Deer Lake derived its name from the many Caribou that could be seen crossing the large lake in the area. The Caribou were mistaken for Deer.

Trout River is within one of the Island's treasure's - Gros Morne National Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and haven to geologists and nature lovers.

Gros Morne is world renouned, and provides rare insight into the geological evolution of ancient mountain belts. Don't worry though - you certainly don't have to be a geologist to appreciate the stunning sights in this area.

2. Port Au Port Peninsula Loop (Route 460 and 463)

Roughly triangular in shape, the peninsula extends into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and is joined to Newfoundland by an isthmus (a narrow strip of land that connects two larger pieces) connecting at the town of Port au Port.

Offering up a rocky shoreline measuring approximately 130 km in length you'll not be too far from the ocean at any point along this route.

This road offers up some fantastic ocean views. Be sure to stop occasionally to take in a few sights because the road will require your attention.

Stop and smell the roses, or should I say, stop and smell the ocean breezes!

Central Newfoundland

3. Bishop Falls to Harbour Breton (Route 360)

The railway played a big part in the history of Bishop Falls. A trestle in this small Canadian town is the longest of its kind, east of Quebec, at a length of 927 feet.

The town runs along the banks of the Exploits River and is said to offer some of the best salmon fishing on the Island. Maybe you can spare a bit of space in the panniers for a fly fishing rod?

The route takes you from Bishop Falls and on to Harbour Breton. Harbour Breton was founded by early European settlers who relied on the bountiful fish resources in the many bays and inlets that dot the rugged coastline. The traditional fishery is still the mainstay of the town's economy though some are moving into emerging fisheries, aquaculture, and eco-tourism as well.

Eastern Newfoundland

4. Goobies to Fortune (Route 210 and 213 and 220)

Goobies is a small community that provides a great spot to gas up and have a scoff as the locals might say - you'll likely just call it plenty of delicious food!

Another claim to fame is that they've also got a giant moose named Morris, built as a tourist attraction and reminder to motorists to be mindful of these large animals on the roads.

Morris weighs in at about 10 tonnes which is quite a bit larger than the local variety. Moose are the second largest land animal in North America and full grown males can weigh 850–1580 lbs.

Be particularly vigilant for these mighty plant eating beasts if you must ride ride at dusk or dawn. With their dark fur they're near invisible at night so best to avoid riding after dark if you can. They also have tall slender legs and carry their weight high. Collisions with moose are often deadly for motorcyclists and cars alike.

Fortune is a town whose name is thought to come from the Portuguese word "fortuna" meaning "harbour of good fortune." It's also the Newfoundland terminus for the St. Pierre et Miquelon Ferry Service. For this reason Fortune is sometimes referred to as "the gateway to the French Islands."

St Pierre et Miquelon is an archipelago of eight islands and the only remnant of the former colonial empire of New France that remains under French control. A very interesting side trip if you've got the time.

5. Port Blandford, to Bonavista, to Clarenville (Route 233 and 235 and 230)

Port Blandford is a town in eastern Newfoundland which was probably first settled in the late 1870's when lumbering and boat building were the main way folks earned a living here. The first substantial settlement in the area came when the railroad built a line through the town in the 1890's.

Way back in the 1500's a freelance Venetian exlporer by the name of Giovanni Caboto (John Cabot), was contracted by England’s Henry VII to find new lands, and a sea route to the Orient. Cabot set sail from Bristol, England in his ship the Matthew in 1497. When Cabot first saw land he’s reputed to have said "O Buon Vista" (“Oh, Happy Sight!”). And that's how Bonavista came by it's name apparently.

Last but not least, we come to Clarenville. The town of Clarenville is located near the center of three peninsulas: Avalon, Burin, and Bonavista. The date of the first settlement of this town isn't fully known but can be traced back to approximately 1848 when it was home to a sawmill.

Route 1 (the Trans-Canada Highway) and Route 230 pass through the town and link Clarenville to the Bonavista Bay area and to the rest of the provincial road network. Because of this geographic location and the variety of services provided by the area, Clarenville has long been known as "The Hub of The East Coast".

6. Southwest Arm (Route 204)

The Southwest Arm is likely one of the most photographed areas of the Island. This is the stuff of postcards! Better have your camera at the ready.

Two of the main communities in the area are Southport and Little Hearts Ease. That's right! Little Hearts Ease. I challenge you to try and not enjoy yourself riding a motorcycle in a place called Little Hearts Ease!

Early settlers were attracted to Southport because of its proximity to the once plentiful fishing grounds around West Random Head and the entrance to the Southwest Arm. It has a long history, having been used as an alternative anchorage by seventeeth century English ships and eventually being settled in the late 1700's.

Nowadays though the popoulation is very small, ie: less than 50 inhabitants as of 2007, because of the lack of industry. Most have had to move elsewhere to make a living.

One thing Southport still does have in abundance is beautiful scenery. Close your eyes, breathe in the fresh salty air, and it's not hard to imagine what it may have been like living here hundreds of years ago, trying to make a living from the sea.

Surely not a spot to miss if you're planning to be near this part of the Island.

7. The Cape Spear highway, (Route 11)

Cape Spear is located on the Avalon Peninsula near St. John's, Newfoundland. The Cape Spear highway takes you to the Cape Spear National Historic Site, which is the most easterly point in North America* and has Newfoundland's oldest still existing lighthouse. Dating from 1836 it was in operation until 1955 and is now a museum.

*There's actually a bit of debate about this, with Nordost Rundingen, Greenland or Semisopochnoi Island, Alaska also laying claim to the title. Most people won't question you on it if you quote it as being such I imagine.

History and WWII buffs may be interested to check out the massive guns that remain on site, each weighing 30 tons and had a range of 13 km. The guns are remnants from the Second World War when the site was a coastal defence battery.

In 1955 a new concrete building was constructed to house the lighthouse. The original lighthouse building and lightkeeper's house have been restored though.

Some useful resources if you're planning a trip to Newfoundland: