Not sure how you prepare for the first ride of the season...for me, it’s a mental game. I have to remind myself that most Canadian drivers haven’t seen a bike in months. There’s also the gravel on the roads & my muscle-memory of where the throttle, brakes & clutch are: so, patience & awareness. That aside, once I saw my ride & got on...yep, it was sweet.
Eaglerider Motorcycle Rentals - Calgary has set me up for the season...this, the first of 10 rides with them. Co-owner, Marion Redpath, suggested Water Valley as a starter ride: Off the beaten highway, scenic & long enough to get my riding-feel up to par. Bill suggested I take out the Harley Davidson Road Glide: Hungry Black, Shark-Nose Faring, Milwaukee 8 V-Twin engine, Radio for tunes. Lucky for me, I’ve been on this size bike before, but if you’re a novice, I’d suggest a bike with less beef, Marion can help with that. What’s great about Eaglerider is that they’ll walk you thru how the bike works, rent you gear if you want & give you suggestions on where to motor, if you need. Conveniently, the on-line registration had me in and out in :30 minutes...perfect.
Today’s forecast: Sunny & +13 Celcius. The plan from Calgary to Water Valley, Alberta:
- North on QE2
- West at 566 (IE Balzac Turnoff)
- Connect with 722 Heading North
- West at 567
- North on Hwy 22
- West at 579
Travel time to Water Valley is @an hour. But as I’ve learned, a well-laid plan is meant to be altered, especially when riding. This route will bypass the stop & go along Beddington Trail & the congestion of Airdrie. I couldn’t help but pull over a couple times...the snow-capped Rocky Mountains are reason enough for anyone.
My destination, Water Valley, is a ‘don’t blink or you’ll miss it’ community...and there-in lies its appeal. Depending on which route you take, keep an eye open for the Little Red Deer River & Winchell Lake...great places to catch you breath. In my case, I made a straight b-line for the hamlet which gave me time to enjoy the peacefulness of the area...brilliant.
What can I say about the Water Valley Saloon. Owner’s Bruce & Julie have given this place a Western Charm with a modern-day appeal: from the facade outside to the Buffalo Head inside. Thirsty? The Water Valley Saloon will take care of that. Hungry? Check out their great menu. They’ll take care of that for you too. A pop & fries helped my craving...yum!
Hey a shout-out to the Alberta Motorcycle Safety Society for the ‘reminder sheet’ before I headed out. Little did I know, in the first 5 minutes a pebble shot-up and nicked me above the eye. No harm done, but a reminder to keep a distance from other vehicles and wear the right gear.
Wore the long-johns and a “must-get” buff around my neck to keep out the cold out. Thankfully NO “snot-sicles” on this ride. The helmet from Eaglerider – Calgary had ear protection & warmth, plus the coolest Jacket was the perfect compliment to my motorcycle wear. PS Thank you Bill for letting me use your chaps...perfect!
Must admit, my first ride of the year I was a bit more cautious then usual. But the sound of the pipes & the open road ahead of me was a great distraction from the craziness of the world. Also got my first wave of the year out of the way...loved! Also reminded how inexpensive filling up the tank was. $25 bucks I could have gone for another 500 km. The Motorcycle community is such a Fraternity and going for that first ride of the year is just another reminder of the tight-knit community of bikers. Thank you Eaglerider – Calgary (Marion & Bill). One ride down, 9 more to enjoy.