Today I was off work for a periodontist torture session, so when the day broke sunny and cool I jumped out for a ride before the terror was to begin. Rather than ride the barren agricultural desert of Centre Wellington again I made a point of aiming for some of my favorite geography.
|The route! Elora, up the Grand River to Shelburne, a short jog up to Horning's Mills and then down one of my|
favorite roads to Mansfield, south on Airport Road to the Forks of the Credit, through Erin and over to Guelph
I'm bad at looking after myself when I get going, I tend to push on rather than take the time to stay warm and charged up. After a quick coffee I saddled up again and pushed on up 124 to Horning's Mills. Located in a river valley north of Shelbourne, Horning's Mills has the feel of a place that time forgot.
|Nothing says Shelburne like an old|
We're probably still a week or two away from the fall colours, but the ride was gorgeous. It was getting on toward noon and the sun had finally warmed everything up. In keeping with my look after yourself on a ride theme I brought a fleece sweater that I put on coming out of Fergus and three pairs of gloves, to try and find the perfect set for the cold air. I ended up switching to the winter leather gloves after the warm up coffee and was glad for them.
With the first colours in the trees, crisp, cool air and a road that was very un-Ontario like in its bendiness, the warm and eager Ninja thrummed down the road with an urgency that washed away every care.
|River Road between Horning's Mills and Mansfield|
The Forks of the Credit is a short bit of winding road that follows the young Credit River as it flows out of the Niagara Escarpment. Once again construction ground things to a halt, but the crazy 180° hairpin and constantly twisting pavement reminded me of how a road can talk to you, especially through two wheels.
|Forks of the Credit|
The ride did a couple of things for me. Taking longer trips I'm finding the Ninja remarkably easy to sit on for extended periods. The seat is comfortable, the handlebars fall to hand and the bike is a joy to ride, it really wants to go. What's getting me are the pegs. Being as swept back and high as they are, my knees don't enjoy being folded up like that for long periods. I find myself standing up on the pegs and resting my legs on the front frame sliders just to try and work out the kinks. That 14° lean angle I could live with, but the 74° bend in the knees just isn't working for me. Being long in the torso I also get a chest full of wind even with a larger, aftermarket windshield on the Ninja.
Having said that I covered about 230kms in between four and five hours with a few stops here and there, so it's not a show stopper. There are other bikes that would fit me better, but I'd miss the Ninja's friskiness and eagerness to connect and become a single entity. I'm afraid that something that would fit me better would be heavy and dull by comparison.
If you're thinking about putting your bike away, wait until the end is nigh and the snow is about to fly. You never know when that perfect autumn day is going to suddenly appear in front of you and give you a ride that you can keep in the back of your head all winter long. Yesterday's ride, complete with sore knees, wind burn and cold hands was a revelation.