How To Ride Safely In The Fall
Every year, as September comes to an end, riding conditions start to change. The hot glare of the sun disappears, weather begins to cool, and the open road beckons – not yet bogged down by sluggish winter traffic and snowfall.
Many motorcycle riders welcome the change and make it a point to not miss out on the pleasures this new season offers.
That doesn’t mean, however, that riding in the fall is completely carefree. If you’re planning on hitting the road during this time of year, you’ll need to consider several crucial factors to make your rides safer and create a more enjoyable experience overall.
Don’t Take Leaves Lightly
Autumnal leaves showcase the season with a colorful look that everyone appreciates. Yet, those lovely, falling leaves can present a lurking hazard – especially when riding off-road.
If you find yourself riding down a landscape where you’re encountering falling leaves, be careful they don’t obstruct your vision – falling leaves blowing through the air can create a significant visual distraction. This goes double when riding down some forest road, where the numbers of leaves can be pretty dramatic – their sheer volume could definitely create issues in seeing what’s in front of you.
Wet leaves can be even more dangerous, as they can end up stuck on your visor. If that happens, it’s best to stop and clear your visor before continuing with the ride. When you’re on a motorcycle, having complete situational awareness is crucial to safety. Allowing your vision to remain impaired even for a few seconds could mean missing an obstacle you’d otherwise easily avoid.
Similarly, leaves aren’t only a problem when falling through the air. Those on the ground can be much worse. Sure – a maple leaf won’t blow a tire or dent a fender. But a pile of leaves can hide a rock, hole, or tree root. And when you’re on the road, leaves can blanket and hide waterways and drainage ditches.
Finally, it’s always smart to assume that any leaves on the ground are wet. Even if it wasn’t raining when you hit the road, in the Fall the air’s wet and loaded with moisture. This is important to keep in mind because wet leaves are slick and can reduce tire traction – and you definitely don’t want your bike slip sliding away with you on (or off) it.
Keep an Eye Out for Wildlife
Moving on from plant life to wildlife, make sure to keep your eyes open for assorted critters, especially when riding through or near nature. In the Fall, animals start searching for food more actively, and it’s common to spot deer wandering roadside during these months.
So long as they keep their distance, no problem. But don’t count on it. Varmints of all shapes and sizes will wander across roadways, presenting a very real danger for motorcycle riders and other motorists. Furthermore, since Fall means it’s typically some kind of hunting season, the animals may be scattering about even more than usual, thereby increasing the risks of an unhappy meet up.
Pay particular attention to trail riding here. Animals will usually flee from the sound of a motorcycle, but some might simply freeze in front of you or jump over the road, even with you coming straight down the pike. That’s why you need to exercise extreme vigilance when riding through wildlife areas. Stay alert to spot potential threats quickly and stay on your guard until you clear the area.
Gear Up Properly
Just because the weather isn’t extremely hot or cold, it doesn’t mean you can forget about putting on the right gear. Regardless of the season, always heed the old saying: “All the gear, all the time.” In other words, never get on your bike without a helmet, pants, boots, and gloves designed specifically for riding.
In addition, you’ll want to wear layers of apparel during the Autumn months. Fall weather has a tendency to change rapidly and literally minutes after you were riding along comfortably you could find yourself turning into a rolling popsicle.
It’s always smart to carry along some rain gear whenever you head out. The weather’s fickle this time of year, and even though you hit the road on a bright, sunny day, you would wind up soaked in cold rain after only a few miles.
The best way to stay prepared for anything and everything Fall can throw at you is by equipping yourself with quality motorcycle gear. And even though you could spend hours and hours browsing the internet or your local shops to find the best gear and best fit, a reputable retailer will always be your best choice.
That’s why you should visit Eagle Leather and check out the latest collections. You’ll quickly find every gear piece you’re looking for – it’ll be no time at all before you’re ready to roll and enjoy an idyllic fall journey.
By taking the necessary precautions and coming prepared, your fall rides will become cherished, memorable experiences.
As always, if we missed anything, or you have something to add, please comment below.
This is good advise about fall riding. In the area where I live, we have many big game trails that cross the roads. Knowing where they are and slowing down will help to avoid them if one should happen to pop out on the road. I also ride the center line in these areas when possible to give myself an extra couple feet of reaction time, just in case.
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