Yesterday after doing a bit of work on the VFR I rode it about 400Kms. I took a different route than I normally take.
For a solo day-ride, I usually like to ride out to Bragg Creek, have lunch, then ride up to Elbow falls, turn around, then take highway 762 (Millarville road) and re-connect with highway 22. Depending on how much time I have, I'll either scoot back to Calgary on Highway 22X or continue down the Cowboy Trail to Turner Valley, Black Diamond, Longview, then down to Chain Lakes and across the 533 over to Nanton and up the Queen Elizabeth II highway back to Calgary. This is the exact route I took when I posted my "first impression" entry.
For yesterday's ride I decided to switch things up and ride some relatively unfamiliar local roads. I can't figure out how the hell I've let these roads become unfamiliar to me in my 10 years in Calgary.... they make for a perfect motorcycle ride.
From Cochrane I went west on Highway 1A, aka Bow Valley Trail, aka hwy 40. After passing the Ghost reservoir and entering the Stoney First Nation, the road narrows and the pavement quality degrades drastically. The next 30Kms are a bucking rodeo ride of tight, blind curves and hills with a rough surface, zero shoulder and an unforgiving deep ditch. Around any given blind corner you might happen upon deer, horses, cows or bighorn sheep. There are motorcycle wrecks here every weekend in the riding season. The trick is to ride defensive and alert but still have some fun... easy trick on the VFR1200. This is where the finely tuned (though a bit harsh) suspension, accurate steering and powerful brakes of the Honda come in handy. As you exit Indian land and approach Kananaskis the width and pavement quality of the road improve and you can increase your speed on the long sweeping curves that bring you to the foot of the Rockies at Exshaw, with its out-of-place-looking limestone and cement plants. The Bow Valley Trail then continues to sweep smoothly and gracefully into the beautiful town of Canmore. I made my way to the town centre and stopped at CommuniTea Cafe for a delicious home-made apple pastry and macchiato. This chic little coffee shop stands in stark contrast to my usual lunch stop at the Powderhorn Saloon in Bragg. Frequented by students and beatniks and French ski bum hippies instead of bikers and cowboys and drunks. Still good, but in a different way. Charming little joint... I'll definitely return.