Two strangers, six days, one trip through the Rocky Mountains.
This is how Edmonton motorcycle rider Johanna Poultney and Eduardo Gutierrez from Mexico quickly bonded.
As part of Harley-Davidson Canada’s 100 year anniversary, three Canadian riders from Western Canada, Central Canada and the Maritimes hosted international riders from Mexico, New Zealand and India in June, touring them across the best scenic routes the country has to offer.
The three groups were followed as part of a ‘Common Ground’ series of short documentaries about their experiences.
Poultney, a five-year riding veteran and founder of Edmonton’s chapter of the Litas — a world-wide female motorcycle collective — said the adventure of riding with others creates a “glue that sticks everybody together” to form lasting friendships.
Poultney and Gutierrez started their adventure in Calgary, making their first stop in Banff to do a traditional blessing ceremony with a priest — part of Gutierrez’s riding routine.
They ventured to Lake Louise and took in the incredible scenery in the middle of the Rockies.
“I just wanted to pull over, stop for a while and enjoy the sounds of nature,” Gutierrez said via email of his first experience in the mountains.
Poultney said Gutierrez was amazed by the wildlife they spotted, including four bears.
“One of our stops, we just stopped for a quick leg stretch and there was actually a bear in the parking lot,” she said, adding early on, she was slightly nervous about an adventure with a stranger, but the pair soon clicked.
Gutierrez echoed the sentiment, eager to return.
“I took home a lot of great memories and the desire to go back, ride again in Canada and keep discovering all the amazing things this country has to offer,” he said.
Harley-Davidson Canada marketing director Jay Owen said Canadians typically don’t talk about how great the country is and this was the perfect opportunity — with the country’s 150th birthday as a backdrop — to share the beauty with the world.
“It was really an opportunity for us to have people see our country and share their enjoyment of what they see,” he said.