A Look Into the Litas: Toronto Canada
#TheLitasTO @thelitas_to www.thelitas.co/toronto
Recently our friends at the LitasTO have seen an influx in riders introducing themselves to the Toronto based crew despite having the cold winter months rolling in. They’re having a mild winter up north, and a lot of women can still be found powering through the cooler temps to make the most of every chance they have to ride... even if it means bundling up layer after layer after layer.
It’s great that you guys are having an extended riding season! What is the weather like year round?
Kaitlin: Yeah, everyone is pretty happy to be having an extended riding season here. It’s difficult to get out for long trips without specialized cold weather gear, but with no snow yet on the ground, we’re taking advantage of every ridable day we get.
In Toronto, we have four distinct seasons throughout the year. Our riding season is shortened by cold winter weather, but our spring to fall riding seasons run from about March/April to October/November. The best time to ride here is between June to the end of September when temperatures are at low between 15-20C, and build into summer at 24-30C.
During our low season, it’s normal for bikes to be brought into storage over the winter in order to keep them from being worn down by the elements and the salt on the roads. Anyone who is still riding is probably wearing a mixture of heated gear and a lot of layers, but the satisfaction from being able to ride all the way into December makes the bundling totally worth it.
What are your rides like?
Kaitlin: Riding in this city means learning to avoid heavy rush hour traffic and teaches patience on the road since laws against lane splitting offer limitations to the advantages of inner city riding. Riders do their best to find alternative ways move around this city however, which makes night riding one of the most popular times to enjoy riding in the city.
Trisha: A midnight ride in the heat of the summer, zipping through the Gardiner which is about 5 stories high right through the city’s core is inexplicably awesome.
Kaitlin: A lot of riders head out of the city for weekends to enjoy open roads and quality cruising. Be it cottage country or camping that draws people out of the city, it’s not unusual to see bikes fully loaded with camping gear throughout summer season.
Trisha: Ontario is full of fresh water lakes, heavily forested areas, farmlands and unique geological formations. It's also an off-road mecca as we have more dirt bike paths than we do roads. If you’re on two wheels in Toronto, it’s easy to find common ground with other riders and start a new adventure the next day.
Kaitlin: Riders are definitely fans of adventures here. Group moto camping trips like @gbrmotorun, @twointhebushbikefun and @babesridenrage are examples of great moto adventure weekends. They offer the chance to get out and meet new people, experience great riding and get to new places for some classic moto camping fun over the course of the season.
How would you describe the motorcycle community there?
What made you want to start a branch of the Litas?
Trisha: Toronto easily makes up for it’s traffic downfalls with it’s fantastic motorcycle community
Kaitlin: Toronto has a very welcoming riding community. Riders, moto enthusiasts and bikes of all kinds come together at regular community social events like #TheTorontoMotoSocial #modsandrockerstoronto as well as the events that our local shop @TownMoto puts on.
Michelle: Town Moto was a great support for us for our Halloween ride, they provided hot chocolate, and took photos of the event. They also host a variety of ride Ins, tech nights and support a lot of moto events in and around the city which further adds to our budding riding community.
Trisha: The events in this city are not only fantastic for meeting people, but it’s there that we share our secrets on where to access curvy and grade A+ quality roads in any direction within only an hour from the downtown core.
Kaitlin: Toronto’s great community is actually what inspired us to start the LitasTO Branch.
Michelle: A lot of us are new riders or have only been riding for a few seasons. While some of us were lucky enough to have met each other through community events, we could all relate to a general feeling that the experience was intimidating to get into as new riders on our own.
We took a chance that starting a Litas branch in Toronto might introduce more women riders to the community and to each other to help eliminate any hesitation towards getting involved in what is actually such a friendly and welcoming community.
Is it pretty normal to see women riding motorcycles, or do people freak out a little? What is the most common bike to see women riding in your city?
Danielle: There is a growing number of women who ride in Toronto, and the amount of women I've met in this city that want to learn to ride is incredible.
From my own experience as a female rider, I find that people who don't ride are more shocked when they see a female rider, whereas riders in this city see female riders so often these days it’s become “normal”. Overall, I find that when people encounter a female rider they are more impressed than anything else.
Michelle: One of my favourite experiences was at our first Litas ride when there were about 15 of us prepping for our ride and just before heading out, and an elderly woman stopped to asked if all the bikes belonged to us women. When we told her yes, she got really excited and told us “the rest of the world better watch out, because women on bikes is powerful, you can take over the world.’ ... It was awesome!
Danielle: We’re definitely seeing a surge of young female riders in the city, but one of my favourite parts of the female riding community is the diversity and age range of the women riders here. About a month ago, I saw a woman who was in her 50’s whipping through downtown traffic on her cruiser, a week later I met a woman in her 40’s who was riding a custom Ural with a sidecar, the bike was her main form of transportation around the city and she was very proud of it.
Michelle: At our first LitasTO ride we had a really great turn out and saw a little of everything show up when it came to bikes. We had sport bikes, Harleys, vintage bikes, a dual sport and modern classics in the mix, which is a pretty good measure of the wide variety of bikes you see women riding in the city on a regular basis.
Any big plans for events in the future?
Kaitlin: We had a lot of fun at our first couple of meetups, and we have a bunch of great ideas in the works for the next season. We’re currently dreaming up ways to go on a winter bus trip to a moto show mid winter, and are looking to plan for some big trips this summer including the Fox Run down in Pennsylvania this coming May.
We’ll also be hosting a variety of fun social events and meetups over the next few months, where we’re hoping to continue seeing new faces join in so we can continue building a strong and connected women’s riding presence within our great riding community.
Who knows, perhaps we’ll even start to see some Litas from surrounding communities make their way north for a visit to ride with us next season! :)