The fall season gives you the chance to enjoy amazing rides on your motorcycle. The roads are peppered with breath-taking colors as the leaves change, ranging from green to bright oranges and reds. Some of the best roads to ride are done so in the fall. The beautiful array of colors and the smells of fall, make for an amazing experience for your fall motorcycle rides.
However there are dangers which are specifically characteristic to this time of year. Here are tips make the most of fall motorcycle rides to ensure a safe and beautiful experience!
Riding in fall’s conditions can be a bit of a challenge however, with good planning and preparation your fall motorcycle rides are sure to be pleasant and very fulfilling.
Fall Motorcycle Ride Tips
- PLAN YOUR JOURNEY:
Plan your route to take advantage of daylight hours. Increase the amount of time, more than you would normally to do same route during summer months. Because of the colder conditions of riding in the fall, you’ll probably need to plan for more stops to warm up more frequently. You’ll also reduce your speed because of more slippery road conditions.
- CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST:
Pick the best day based on the weather forecast to take your ride when you can.
- CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE BATTERY: Make sure to charge up your motorcycle battery the night before to ensure a full charge for your ride. Colder weather makes your battery work more and can lose its charge faster than under normal dry warm conditions.
- CHECK YOUR TIRES: Because of colder nights and cooler temperatures, your motorcycle tire pressure might appear low. Check your tire pressure for accuracy and inflate them to the proper levels while also checking the tread. Often at the end of riding season tires are worn out. During fall and winter weather rides, tread and grip are extremely important and necessary to ensure full grip.
- COLD TIRES: Your tires will take longer to warm up during colder temperature days. Your tires will likely not warm to the point you’re used to in warmer temps and tires with soft rubber compound needs to warm up some to perform at their best.
- CHECK LIGHTING SYSTEM: Be sure all your lights are functioning and if you can, increase your lighting quality and make sure the lenses are clean.
- MOTORCYCLE GEAR: Be warm and be visible! Keeping and staying warm is key to a successful ride. It will be chilly and though you feel warm when you start, wind-chill will quickly change the way you feel. Heated gear is fabulous and of course add those extra linings to your jacket and pants. Winter riding gloves work well. Don’t forget to layer with performance under garments and bring extra layers if you have the room. Wear high-visibility and reflective gear to make yourself seen by other drivers.
- LEAVES: Leaves are slippery – as they begin to accumulate on the roadway they can be very slick. Dry leaves can camouflage potholes and other road irregularities; wet leaves are slippery and can appear unexpectedly in shaded areas. Wet or dry, riding through stacks of leaves can reduce traction, making it difficult to stop.
- ROAD SURFACE: Be aware of frost on the roadway in the early morning hours. Be sure to pay particular attention for frost on bridge decks or other higher surfaces, railroad crossings, and in shady areas where the morning sun might not have melted the frost yet. Adjust your riding speed for the conditions
- SUN GLARE: The sun is lower in the sky at this time of year and its glare can be an issue for much of the day, depending on the direction you’re riding. Along with this, as trees become barren of leaves, the patterns of light and shade can be like riding in a strobe light. This can be distracting and confusing. Good sun glasses or a tinted visor work best. Be sure not to forget your clear visor so you can switch for the ride home when it becomes dark.
- SPACE CUSHIONS: Give yourself enough following distance and space cushioning. It’s not only difficult for you to see the road this time of year, but equally challenging for other drivers to see you. Allow extra time to react both in front and behind you. Slow down, look further ahead and increase your following distance.
- DEER AND MOOSE: Fall is the time of year deer and moose mate, meaning – they’ll be more active. These animals are huge hazards for motorcyclists. Try to plan your ride during daylight hours only. The best defense is to stay aware, particularly while riding in rural areas. Scan the roadway ahead and just off of the shoulders and watch for deer crossings. Typically deer activity peaks at dusk and dawn. Areas where crops or timber are relatively close to the road will present the greatest hazards as these are ideal places for deer to cross. Unfortunately, it’s these zones which provide you the shortest reaction time. Slow down and prepare for this potential obstacle.
- WIND: This time of year is normally accompanied by gusty strong winds. These can unsettle your bike and blow you a little of course within your lane. To manage this, check for signs. For example, try looking ahead at the trees and bushes, and note the behavior of other vehicles to see how the wind is affecting them. Strong winds are not constant, they are usually gusty so make sure you hold the handlebar handgrip tightly. Go slow enough to manage the gusts.
- PLAN YOUR JOURNEY:
Similar to going for any ride, you need to maintain an awareness of the road surface and consider the consequences those conditions can produce.
With good planning you’ll be able to enjoy a spectacular time on your fall motorcycle rides!