The White Horse of St. Francis Xavier
The third most popular question I get asked is “Do you have any routes to get these places?“. My answer has always been the same. Not really, no. I want people to get out and explore, and take their time. Spend the whole season experiencing Manitoba by motorcycle.
I rarely have a route planned when I ride. I really enjoy being random, stopping anywhere, turning any time, going wherever I fancy. However, thinking beyond local Manitoba motorcycle tourism, there are riders who come from out of province (and country). They typically want to see as much as possible as fast as possible. So having routes available does make sense.
Every so often I will post a route that I have ridden or that I am planning to ride along with the point of interest stops you can make along the way. These route posts won’t go into too much detail on the locations or why you should stop as destinations will be covered in other posts. The routes will always start and stop in Winnipeg, because so do I, but they are always a loop so start wherever works best for you. I am 100% confident there are much better routes but these are mine.
A South Western Manitoba Motorcycle Ride
Heading west from Winnipeg along the Trans-Canada Highway you will travel through Headingly to your first stop to visit the White Horse in St. Francis Xavier, just to the right of the #1 highway. You really can’t miss this great white horse.
Roll out and continue along the #1 highway until you cruise into Portage la Prairie for a refreshing can of Coke. Giant size, near the western edge of town. Head south through town and ride toward the waterfront. If you cross over into the park you can see some very cool planes in a statuesque display. Otherwise, keep riding along the waterfront on your way south and out of town.
Head south to highway 240 and follow it towards St. Claude Manitoba. There are signs about surface breaks and they are serious. Do not ignore them. More than once you will seriously consider riding in the opposite lane to avoid these breaks. Unless you ride an adventure bike, then have fun. Also, don’t ride this road with a full bladder. If you don’t mind the road the route is pretty nice.
St. Claude has a good restaurant (Tall Boys) worth a stop to whet your appetite if your ready and fuel to feed your iron horse. Spitting distance away is the world’s second-largest smoking pipe to smoke (everyone tries).
Head back east along the #2 highway towards the town of Elm Creek. Grab a photo at the massive fire hydrant then stop at Ma’s for food (Hawaiian burger sand onion rings for the win) if you did not stop in St. Claude. When you are ready head south on highway #13 towards Carman Manitoba.
In Carman, you can stop and visit the Paul Hiebert Memorial Monument for a short history lesson before you continue on South toward Morden and Winkler.
There are a few great locations to see in Morden, definitely worth the stop. Head east out of Morden toward Plum Coulee then dip down to head to Altona Manitoba where you can experience the art of Van Gogh. In epic style. Then head back to highway #14 and turn right to go towards highway 75. Enjoy the wind farms along the way. I know I do.
Take a left to head north on Highway 75 to get your cowboy on in Morris Manitoba. But instead of pushing through like so many do you should exit stage right. Take highway #23 east out of Morris until you get to Highway 75. Turn right and you will head straight into St. Malo Manitoba.
The Deer of St. Malo disappeared awhile ago but I recently heard from the St. Malo Chamber of Commerce that they have returned, so stop for a visit. From here you can head back north past St. Pierre Jolys until you reach Highway 52. Turn left on 54 until you get to Steinbach Manitoba and visit the classic Rolls Royce on display.
Leaving Steinbach, take Highway 52 back west until you get to Highway 206 North. Take 206 until you get to Landmark Manitoba. The centre of Canada. Literally. Leave your mark in Landmark then head west along Highway 210 until you get back to Hiway 75. Ride Highway 75 north toward Winnipeg, stopping in St. Norbert for a park photo and possibly a nice picnic dinner (you brought dinner, right?) to cap off your day of riding.
The total round trip is roughly 450km (280 miles) depending on where you start and stop. This route will get you 9 statues, 1 monument, and 1 park in 1 ride. More importantly, it will get 1 great day of Manitoba motorcycle tourism.
Something you may notice in a lot of the photos I take along the way is my children. I may not ride in large groups but I very rarely ride alone. I take them with me as often as possible to share in these local travel experiences, charity rides, and just general riding around. Plus they are still young enough to want to be in a photo, so I cannot waste that opportunity.