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2 Wheels, 2 Coasts: One Woman’s Cross-Canada Motorcycle Ride

photo credit: matt macleod / @m_macleod

When it comes to Canada’s milestone 150th anniversary, the best way to celebrate the country might be by exploring it.

Brittany King, a radio announcer from Victoria. B.C., is embarking on her own Canada 150 adventure by riding from coast to coast on her Harley. Over the span of four weeks, she’ll ride from Victoria to St. John’s, staying with strangers she met from the motorcycle community online.

We caught up with King before she sets out on her journey to talk about what went into planning the trip, the support she’s received from fellow bikers and the joy of riding out on the open road.

 

What will you miss most about your own hometown when you’re on the road?

Besides the usual suspects, my dog, family and bed, the thing I’ll miss most is also the thing I’m most looking forward to getting away from: routine. I’m such a creature of habit—I eat the same things every day, do yoga, walk the dog, go to work, watch something cheesy on Netflix…and repeat. I appreciate the stability of knowing what’s next, but not knowing is also a lot of fun. Uncertainty is where some of the best adventures live. In my experience, it’s also where you gain confidence, independence, character and smile lines.

 

Which location are you most excited to travel to?

What an impossible question! That’s the equivalent to asking a parent which kid they prefer. I’ll say this: 12 years ago I worked in Fort McMurray, Alberta, which had a huge population of Maritimers. That’s where I met my first Newfoundland friend. He exuded…life. He laughed, joked, sang, drank and was always the first to offer a helping hand. I remember thinking, “If he’s a true representation of the east coast, I have to go there one day.” I even told him that at the time and right away, guess what? He gave me his parent’s home number.

 

How do you think travelling by motorcycle will offer you a unique perspective of Canada?

When you’re riding, you’re IN it. There’s nothing between you and everything. The sights, smells, weather, bugs—you experience it all super up close and personal. You know when you see a dog with his head out the car window, tongue flapping in the wind, and you can tell he’s just loving life? That’s how I feel when I’m on my bike. Riding awakens all your senses and if there’s any way I want to experience Canada, it’s with everything I have.

Staying with strangers along the way will also add a whole other element of adventure and camaraderie to the experience. The idea is to share a ride with each of the people I stay with so as to get to know one another better and also to see their part of the country from a local’s perspective…get the backroads tour and ride off the beaten path (highway) for a bit.

 

You said you’d already rode through 18 states in the past—why do you think it took you so long to explore your own country?

That’s such a good question, and one I’ve been asking myself for years. I think at first, it started with legitimate reasons; I couldn’t get the time off work, it was going to be too expensive, I didn’t have anyone to go with etc… But then those reasons became a guise for what was really stopping me: fear. Once I admitted to myself I was actually intimidated to ride that far alone, I became determined to do it. I feel like the longer you wait to try something, the more you build it up in your head and the scarier it becomes. I decided I wasn’t going to let the unknown or my nerves prevent me from doing what I’ve always wanted. I’m still nervous, but I know it’s going to be great because following your dreams is never a bad idea. Is that too cheesy?

 

You’ve already received an amazing response from total strangers—why do you think bikers (and female bikers especially!) have such a strong sense of community?

My cheeks hurt from smiling just thinking about this question. Thanks to over 20 hospitable Canadians, my accommodations in every city and town along the way are all taken care of.

I always think back to the first woman who reached out to me offering me a place to stay (Salut, Diane!) When I asked her why she decided to let a total stranger stay in her spare bedroom, she said for two reasons. One, as a motorcycle enthusiast herself, she wanted to play a part in my journey. The other reason was that she grew up in a family that always had an open door policy and would help someone whenever they could.

I think any time you find someone who shares the same passion, whatever that is, you’re likely to make a connection and bond over it. As for the riding community specifically, we’re on bikes in the first place because we’re adventurous people who love sharing a beautiful view. That’s what this ride is all about; it’s a celebration of our country, the awesome Canadian motorcycle community and the magic that happens when you put yourself out there, take a risk and ask a stranger to go for a ride (and also to sleep on their couch). And of course, if any bikers are ever on the West Coast, I’d absolutely return the hospitality!

Follow King’s journey on her Instagram, @imbrittanyking.

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