Editor's Note: Believe it or not, Spring motorcycle season is here! Time to shake off the cobwebs and get back in gear. If it's you're first ride in a while staying relaxed yet aware is always important, no matter what the ride ahead has in store for you. Below, experienced rider and photographer Wobblycat shares his recent experiences.
When a not-at-fault collision on my motorcycle left me injured with a separated shoulder, I found myself off the bike during prime riding season: June and July. For some, a crash would be reason enough to hang up their helmet for good; I couldn’t get back in the saddle fast enough.
To ensure the best chance at being fully recovered, I closely followed all the physiotherapy and other treatments prescribed by my practitioners. I wanted to ride to my maximum ability and ensure that I could ride safely for years to come. The weekend after getting a clean bill of health from my doctor, I took off on a five-day road trip.
Getting on the bike after a two-month hiatus was actually pretty easy—after all, it’s less time away than the winter season. After my first ride, the muscle memory returned and I felt back at home on two wheels. The riding muscles in my wrists and hips were out of shape, a problem compounded by the different ergonomics of my wife's bike. Within a week however, I was doing okay.
I found it strange that I became hyper-aware when approaching commercial driveways or intersections, haunted by my memories of the car darting across my path at full speed. Normally I’m a confident rider who analyzes situations quickly. This irrational fear was a surprise to me. Fear is good: it helps us stay alive, but being overly fearful can be paralyzing. After a couple days, I began to consciously suppress these feelings. My insurance covered my damaged gear (woo-hoo, gear shopping!) and I followed the rules, buying equivalent equipment, not just top shelf stuff.
Though my bike was totaled, the insurance company only reimbursed the value of a direct replacement. Though I loved my trusty ZX9R, it didn’t make sense to buy another 10-year-old motorcycle. I did a lot of soul searching about what I wanted in a replacement bike and came up with a few criteria: it had to be 1000cc or less, comfortable enough to ride long distances, fairings for wind and rain protection, and fit within my budget. I found a good deal on a 2007 Honda CBR1000RR and pulled the trigger!
Part of my road trip brought me through Prince Edward County. Located just over an hour east of the Greater Toronto Area, this perfect destination for motorcyclists offers scenic country roads, friendly locals, and lots of unique shops and restaurants. CR 13 is fun and scenic, following the coast along the southeast edge of the County. Grab some authentic squeaky cheese curds and fresh ice cream at the Black River Cheese Company located on CR 13 at (you guessed it) the Black River, just south of CR 16.
Other notable destinations in the area include:
• National Air Force Museum of Canada: Free admission, but donations are appreciated
• Barley Days Brewery: If you have storage, bring home a 6 pack of Loyalist Lager
• Casa-Dea Estates Winery: My friend recommends their Gamay red wine.
• Bay Bridge Road aka CR 62 from Belleville south to Prince Edward County provides a spectacular view of the Bay of Quinte
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder… and getting back in the saddle after being out during the best part of riding season was sweet bliss.