Sue and Steve Joordens, a married couple who have cumulatively worked at U of T Scarborough for decades, spent much of their summer riding motorcycles from Toronto to Newfoundland and back again.
“Personal growth and a deeper understanding of our country,” says Steve, professor in the department of psychology. "Those are the two goals."
The couple rode to Cape Spear, NFLD in a three-week journey that had them traveling about 300 kilometres per day. They then rode back to Ontario, documenting their travels with GoPro cameras for their YouTube channel, titled A Freakin’ Canadian Motorcycle Odyssey.
Exploring Canada has been a lifelong dream for Sue, who worked as a business officer at U of T Scarborough for almost 25 years and is now 70 years old. The trip was a showcasing of iconic Canadiana, not only in the picturesque landscapes, but in the friendliness of its residents.
“Everywhere we have gone people have shown interest in what we’re doing,” Steve says. “In some cases we’ve received invitations to stay at people’s houses.”
The trip has also brought them face-to-face with the impact of the climate crisis — including intense rain, record high temperatures, smoke from wildfires and remnants of hurricane Fiona.
“The contrast of beauty and peril is palpable,” Steve says.
Weather and bad luck made for a few bumps in the road, and one of their videos — dubbed The North Sydney Wash Out — documents a day when everything seemed to go wrong. Despite meticulous planning, their ride became twice the length they’d anticipated, all in brutal weather conditions.
“There we were, cold, wet, confused,” Steve says. “But we made it through. We managed all the negatives, did what we had to do and we came away from it better riders.”
The couple plans to ride across Canada's west coast next May.