A lot of Ontario motorcycle riders who have free time in the winter, perhaps semi-retired or retired, make winter trips to southern States where the riding is ideal at that time of year. There are endless resources to explore these options, from internet articles and websites to tour providers and, probably most reliable of all, the advice and direction of friends and fellow motorcycle enthusiasts who have been there and done that.
There are endless resources for planning any sort of motorcycle trip online, of course. One interesting website that presents routes specifically of interest to motorcycle riders in, for example, Florida, is motorcycleroads.com.
One of the cool features of this website is the detail provided for each of the outlined routes, detail that includes road surface material, predominant scenery, and speed limits. As motorcycle riders know, there are a lot of considerations for motorcyclists when it comes to planning riding routes that don’t apply to travellers in other vehicles. Range can be a very important consideration if you are travelling in an area with widely spaced gas stations. Some routes are very popular with motorcyclists so the hotels, restaurants, and shops along the route go out of their way to provide products and services that are specific to the needs of riders. A quick Google search of Forums using the key words of the area or the store/hotel will give you instant feedback of other riders’ experiences and opinions.
Some motorcycle riders like to work events of some kind into their journey. An interesting website for dates, events, and locations for riders who are heading south to ride this winter is the website called Motorcycle Events in the United States. These events are specifically related to motorcycle riding, so this search is a great way to travel knowing that you will be in motorcycle-friendly territory at your destination. As all riders know, a great part of the fun is meeting and spending time with other motorcycle riders from all over, because when you share the same interest in riding you know that you’re all going to have a great time.
Some riders concentrate on visiting landmarks or destinations that aren’t necessarily motorcycle-centric, but that are at least amenable to riders and aware of the needs of motorcyclists. For example, there is no end of motorcycle-friendly elements to the great city of Las Vegas, but you have endless other non-motorcycle-related pursuits available if you go there. Nevada, like the rest of the Southwest United States, has endless excellent riding roads with breathtaking vistas and well-maintained roads for the most part.
You need to know some broad issues about motorcycle insurance before you travel out of province. Automobile/motorcycle insurance is regulated and legislated provincially (and by individual states in the U.S. as well). Ontario motorcycle insurance policies stipulate that coverage extends to the rider/owner of the Ontario plated/insured motorcycle in all of Canada and the continental United States. If you decide to ride across the border into Mexico, for example, you would have to purchase insurance at the border before you cross into Mexico.
It is always critically important to do your homework on insurance requirements and coverages before you venture into foreign territories with a motorcycle. We can’t attempt to cover the requirements of jurisdictions outside of Ontario since Riders Plus Insurance insures only Ontario motorcycle owners and riders, but we can say that we have seen people ship their motorcycles to Europe, for example, not realizing the bureaucratic roadblocks and rules required to get their bike out of Customs, thereby effectively ruining a costly and highly anticipated vacation from the start.
The differences between coverages, laws, and rules governing motorcycle insurance can be significant even between provinces. For that reason, among others, it is always important to read your insurance policy documents carefully, and to review all of your coverages in detail with your insurance representative on a regular basis. Accident Benefits coverage, for example, has changed significantly in Ontario since September 2010, and although there are a lot of similarities to previous coverages, there are enough differences that you really need to be aware of all the repercussions of the coverages you have chosen. Also, although you may not think it’s that important or significant, many changes to your life circumstances, over and above travelling out of province, may require that you address specific issues in your motorcycle coverage.
Above all, in all aspects of your travels, be sure to do enough due diligence in advance that you will have reduced the chances of getting into a bad situation. Even the traveller who cherishes spontaneity in their motorcycle travels wants that spontaneity to result in positive experiences.