Just Who The Hell Is Mike Jacobs, Anyhow?

Hello, and welcome to the Ultimate Biographical Entry.

My name is Mike Jacobs, and for the past three years documenting motorcycling in Northern Ontario has been my job. I “develop content” for www.OntarioRides.ca, which basically means, photos, videos, words, maps, itineraries, reviews and a bunch of other stuff. If it has anything to do with motorcycling in Northern Ontario, I try to cover it. Clubs, events, etc. I could go on, but this is the Internet and you’re probably already bored.

I am the architect of the Ultimate Northern Ontario Road Trip (UNORT) and now I’ll tell you why I devised this insane scheme. Because I write about riding in the North, I’ve always wanted to make my job an “on the road” job. There’s no better way to find out if a particular road, or motel, or chip stand is really the best for motorcyclists than first hand. And I’ve discovered literally dozens of places, roads, businesses…all kinds of stuff I’d have never known about unless I went and checked them out myself.

And on the way I’ve been forming some ideas about what the true nature of Northern Ontario is, how it’s different from Southern Ontario, from the rest of Canada, and from the rest of the world.

But there’s a second part of this project that has allowed for all of this to be possible, actually. For the past six months I’ve been working on a project for the City of Thunder Bay collecting information on motorcycling and RVing in Ontario for a new trip planning website, which will be launched in the next few months. You can see a couple of the concept screens at www.GoTourOntario.ca or www.AlleyZOntario.com.

This website will contain all of the best motorcycle routes in Ontario, filled with all of the great places to stop and eat, sleep and take in the scenery we’ve seen along our trip. The two pilot routes will be the North Shore of Lake Superior (from Sault Ste. Marie to Thunder Bay on the Trans-Canada Highway) and the Temiskaming Loop (North Bay to New Liskeard on Highway 11, then back through Quebec)

We’re just over half-way through our adventure, but we’re still amazed by something new each day. Between places we’d previously identified on our itinerary, we’ll often look at a map and see a blank stretch of road and wonder what we’ll encounter – more often than not we’re pleasantly surprised by what we find. If nothing else, this is a province of incredible variety.

Join us.

Alexe Sawicki: Stunt Photographer

Alexe a.k.a Casque Roux


I am Alexe, the photographer and videographer on the Ultimate Ontario Road Trip from Day 1 to 40. I take this great adventure as an opportunity to show off the best of riding motorcycles and RVing in Northern Ontario.

Mike and I met in film school back in Montreal 6 years ago. From then on, our great friendship has continued to expand into a number of new arena, including collaborating on projects like this.

I am happy and excited to embark on this once in a lifetime adventure!

Alexe, a.k.a Casque Roux (Red Helmet)


Pete Jacobs – The Old Guy With The Biggest Bike.

I’m Pete (a.k.a. Bandit according to James), the older half of the Jacobs twosome on this Ultimate trip.  I’m here mainly because my motorcycle is newer and bigger! And I own a GPS (though it un-coordinates me <GPS joke> from time-to-time). I also do a lot of the back-of-the-house stuff like research, bookkeeping… blah, blah, blah.

Who knew?  Who knew I would be riding a motorcycle around Ontario for 40-days?  Certainly not me when I first threw a leg over an 80cc Suzuki 2-stroke at age 16 (1966).  Wasn’t even the germ of a dream.  Don’t even think I knew of a world beyond my native Montreal.  So, 45 years and seven eight nine motorcycles later I am off on a great adventure, testing the limits of my machine, my stamina and my sanity.

And the really cool part?  Doin’ it all with my (brilliant) firstborn…with all the “learnings” involved in that.  And my wife let me go.

– Peter

Maia Filar, Food Reporter

Hi everybody!

I am a Toronto-based food writer and freelancer for publications like En Route online, The Globe and Mail and City Bites Magazine. After j school and chef school, I’ve comfortably settled into writing cutesy round-up articles detailing the best food Toronto has to offer while still working at my parents restaurant, The Rosedale Diner. I have never been on a motorcycle, but I have been thrown by both a horse and a camel in my lifetime, so here’s hoping I won’t get thrown from the hog.

Jessie Stones, Stunt Driver.

Jessie's Stones

I was recently convinced to leave my job as a genuine farmhand on an organic farm to join this team of rag-tag funhounds on their epic motorcycle and RV adventure as the official driver of the RV for two weeks. Having never driven anything larger than a 15-passenger van with one very expensive kayak on the roof rack, and a Ford F150 pick-up with a 12-foot trailer filled with farmer’s market produce, I’m facing the next 15 days of winding roads and killer views with boundless excitement tempered with a slight hint of trepidation. I hear Pete is a stellar teacher, though, so the wee hours of the morning tooling around the Canadian Tire parking lot in North Bay should be ample time to acclimatize me to this luxury home on wheels. Right?

A graphic designer by trade, I worked with Mike on the promotional materials for the Road Trip. I’ve also known him since 9th grade math class, and have worked with him and Pete on various projects over the years. I’m very excited to be out from behind the computer and on the frontlines of this adventure.

Apparently my code name is Torquemada, but I’m not really sure what this means.

The 1981 Honda CM250 (And The Story Of My First Bike)

OK. So. The first bike I ever bought was from the a now defunct used bike warehouse on River Street in Toronto. It was a Honda 250cc, much like the one pictured below. At the time, you could get a bike license before a car license, so I bought the bike a few weeks after my 16th birthday. My pop, Peter, was a rider so I figured it was in the blood (not so much – read on.)

Honda CM250

I got my license at the end of the season, and finally scraped together the 1200 bucks for the bike just as the snow was falling. I still wasn’t confident on the bike, so I got my pops to ride it home and it stayed in the garage for the winter. I was itching to ride, even though I still couldn’t cycle through the gears or understanding how the hell to work a clutch (i.e. it’s not an on/off switch) so I took the little tyke out, probably too soon.

I hit a couple hills in my old neighbourhood and tried to remember the training for getting up to speed when facing a hill, but not much had stuck since the last ride. Then I sped down the infamous Baby Point Road just past Jane and Bloor. This road races down a hill, then hits a 90 degree turn before abruptly going back uphill. 

I hit the corner doing probably about 60kmh, and as I came out of it, I hit a patch of ice. This was early April, if memory serves, and the bike just came completely out from underneath me. I skidded to an easy stop on the road, nothing broken, nothing hurt even, other than my ego.

However, the bike hit the top of a ditch, bounced hard and went sailing through the air, crashing through the front window of a house and landing in the middle of a living room.

I’ll finish this story in a day or two. Don’t want to tire out the non-readers on the internet (i.e. everyone) No hard feelings?