Motorcycle ride to Calgary and back


I actually accomplished the rather macho act of riding my motorcycle to Calgary and back. I was quite pleased with how comfortable a ride my motorcycle, a Honda Shadow Aero 750T, was. There were no issues with my back, although my ‘sit bones’ really started to cause me concern. ‘Numb bum’ syndrome became quite painful. I gotta get me a better pad for the seat if I’m going to do long rides like that again. My knees were a bit stiff when I got off the bike, but I did try to stop every 100 kilometers or so to keep things limber. I also need to discover the best way to manage the throttle. At one point my hand started to tingle; it was ‘going to sleep’.
It all started off with a plan to ride out to Jasper and back during this long weekend, but once I went through the weather forecasts carefully (sailing does teach you some things!) and realized that I am not yet ready to ride through spring snow in the mountains, or protracted bouts of rain on the Yellowhead highway with the accompanying winds, I decided instead to just do a round trip to Calgary and back. At one point, it was to be a ride to Calgary, then loop out to Banff, Louise, Jasper and home. But once the weather forecasts were studied, I decided on a safer and more comfortable course of action.
The reason for the Calgary stopover was to visit with my sister, and to help her get her motorcycle on the road. We’re doing that in two steps. Step one was Saturday when we pulled the battery out her bike to charge it up. And that was a bit of a chore. I should have taken a better selection of wrenches with me. In the end we had to go to Blackfoot Motosports to buy a set of socket wrenches and a battery charger. With the proper tools, it was a breeze to pop off the seats, disconnect and then remove the battery. Step Two will be next weekend when I go back to Calgary (in the convertible this time), nominally to pick up Gail at the airport when she returns from the UK. We’ll reconnect the charged battery and see what’s what.
By the way, the kid behind the counter at Blackfoot Motosports (they’re all kids to me, anymore) was really very cool in how he dealt with Kathleen and I. Respectful, helpful, and didn’t once point out that we didn’t know what the heck we were talking about… a really nice retail experience.
Once the battery was out, my sister headed off to Banff with a friend. I was going to shadow them, but, referencing the weather again, I headed the other way… out to Chestermere and then snaking north. And that was a bit of a challenge, with all the construction, and the gravel roads in the area. I wobbled my way onto Highway 2, then off, then back on… trying to find a comfortable ride, all the way to Red Deer. A temperature drop made up my mind about diverting all the way over to Drumheller, which I probably should have just done, anyway. I had the gear to keep warm; I just didn’t put it on. Unfortunately I was on the highway when I passed Lacombe. Its a lovely little town, and I would have liked to have visited it again, but didn’t realize that I’d scooted past until it was impractical to make the detour. After missing Lacombe, I did get onto to Highway 2A, and very much enjoyed the scenic route back into Edmonton.
I know that I made the right decision about not going into the mountains. Temperatures were a bit too cool… and yesterday there were high winds and rain coming out of the west. This morning, we’ve got snow.
One of the things about Alberta is the distances involved, and the straight lines. I think that a ride of that distance would be so much more enjoyable in areas with more frequent population centres, or with a bit more windiness to the roads, and trees and landscape to moderate the wind, and more than just prairie scenery. I know that I can ride the distance now; its about finding a route that appeals to me. I do want to try going into the mountains. So the trick is how to arrange the trip to include Gail. I don’t think that she’d enjoy riding on the ‘bike with me. But, if she and some friends drove in a car and met me at some predetermined points along the way… hmmmm… something to consider…

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