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Sep 15-16 Toronto to Bancroft

Not a big ride, but a pleasant one. My wife and I left on Saturday morning from Toronto for a leisurely ride on the last weekend of the summer, she on her BMW 650GS and me on my Tiger 800. We didn't want to ride more than about 5 hours per day, so Bancroft was a suitable destination, especially since we had never been there before, so it was an object of curiosity.

First thing we find out after leaving home in south Etobicoke was that the Gardiner Expressway was closed, so we had to crawl through downtown until we made it to the Don Valley Parkway and got out of the city about 30 minutes later than we expected. Next, was the 401 to Oshawa, not too pleasant as it started to rain slightly (that wasn't in the forecast).

Soon after, we got onto highway 115 to Peterborough and thankfully the construction was finished so no problems there. Turning onto highway 7 east, the ride could begin, as it progressively turned from small towns and farms to Canadian shield, woods and lakes. There are direct routes to Bancroft: taking 28 northeast directly, or, travelling further on 7, turning up highway 62 north right into Bancroft. Disregarding these obvious and practical routes, we continued on an extra few dozen kilometres to Kaladar, where 7 and 41 meet. We had previously driven south on 41 on the way home from Ottawa and thought it would be a really nice bike road, so we put it to the test and were not disappointed. Since most of our riding is limited to flat, boring southwestern Ontario, it's a treat to find roads with curves and no traffic. 41 fits the bill and we have an enjoyable time winding our way up to where it meets highway 28 at it's eastern end. 28 is even better than 41 as it traces a valley through some highlands with lots of gentle curves and new pavement. We arrive in Bancroft at about 4pm, 6 hours after leaving Toronto and taking several stops.

We stay at the Shamrock Bed and Breakfast, which I recommend as a lovely place with very friendly and hospitable owners. Bike parking is not ideal; it's gravel driveway or the interlocking patio which you need to drive over grass to get to. Not a problem for adventure tourers with centre stands.

Next morning is a bit surprising as it's foggy and 1C outside. By 10am it's warmed up to 4C and we don all the clothing we brought and head out. The fog is gone by now so only my hands are cold; the BMW has heated grips but the Tiger doesn't. Just outside of town we get onto highway 118, which we know well from many car rides. It is a spectacular road that we will take all the way to Bracebridge on the major highway 11. Like 28, it winds through the highlands, skirting along the edge of a lake at one point. The real beauty of it is that there are no cars and specifically no minivan going 10K below the speed limit. You can pick your own speed and not have to watch anyone's brake lights. Except for the brief restraint of putting through central Haliburton, there is more than an hour of unbridled motorcycling along 118. Definitely a highlight of the short trip. As we exit the highlands and it becomes mid-day, we stop to remove clothing and have lunch in Bracebridge at a totally unknown, yet strangely world-famous cafe called Marty's, where they have enormous $4 butter tarts. We take 6 home.

Then comes the dreaded superslab of highway 11 south with steady traffic and impatient drivers jockeying for position. Fortunately, we only need put up with about half an hour of that before we can exit onto Division Rd/Horseshoe Valley Road for 30K to our preferred Barrie bypass onto the more relaxing highway 27 which takes us home. The second day is another 6 hours with stops. It's just enough, as sore-butt syndrome is just beginning to become an insistent warning.

This 2-day excursion was about 740K, which is pretty slack; I'm sure some would do it in a single day and still have fun.
 

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GTA rides

Hi

Motorcycle Enhancements, Speers Rd, Oakville.
John publishes an invite for local rides on his Facebook page.
He is a good guy and does a lot of custom work as well as servicing etc.
The rides are usually Thursday evening 6:30 at Speers Rd.
Last week five bikes headed off through Milton and Campbellville, enjoyed the twisties and hills of the escarpment. A broad range of bikes here. Honda, Triumph, Yamaha and the odd H-D. Bikes and riders of all ages.If you are interested google Motorcycle Enhancements.
 
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