16 Oct Fall Riding Guide (Updated for 2020)
Fall riding season is here and brings with it some very unique challenges for riders old and new alike. This fall riding season we hope all riders will use the following tips to make sure their rides this season are safe, enjoyable, and adventurous!
Social Distancing + Sanitation
On your rides this season please be sure to carry extra hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in your bike storage. Unlike car drivers, you never know when you’ll have to hop off for a quick fill up at the gas station. Also, do you have an extra mask in storage? At this point we all have an extra mask in our cars, be sure to keep an extra one on the bike or in your bike bag at all times.
Heading to meetups is always fun. Be mindful of large crowds and try to stay in well ventilated areas to minimize your risk on contracting COVID-19.
Proper operation of a motorcycle takes physical and mental skills that diminish over time. If you only ride a few times per year, take some time before your ride this fall to re-introduce yourself to the motorcycle. Fall weather brings changing temperatures, environments, and road hazards.
A study done by Farmers Insurance found that 36% of all animal collisions occur in the Fall – specifically between September and November. Animals such as deer can cause serious damage to both you and your bike if you are not actively scanning for their presence. Keep an eye on deer crossing signs and if you are riding through a particularly wooded area, be on alert for any animals along the side of the road or tree line.
Fall riding also brings with it one of the dreaded enemies of motorcyclists, wet leaves on the road. Wet leaves on the road can be as slippery metal grates, manhole covers, or ice. The normal grip of a motorcycle may not be enough when cornering or stopping on wet leaves. To avoid issues always try to cross over wet leaves with your bike as fully upright and balanced as possible.
In the same vein, cold roads can be a challenging obstacle for riders. Motorcycle tires are at their best on warm or hot roads so the tires can “stick” to them. Changing temperatures throughout the day can provide a false sense of security as it may be warmer at midday than during the morning or evening. Be sure to maintain awareness of road conditions in these situations.
Multiple layers that are easily removed are a key part of Fall riding. Days can begin at 40ºF, rise to 70º during the day, and drop back down below freezing at night. A long-sleeved base layer, thick clothing, and your riding jacket will provide the insulation and flexibility you need to hit the road throughout the day. Most motorcycle jackets also include a liner that you can easily remove if it gets too warm, and reattach if it gets too cold. And don’t forget your gloves! Summer gloves with breathable channels to keep hands cool provide little protection from the cold in cooler months. A second set of riding gloves made for colder temperatures will keep your hands warm, flexible, and ready to manipulate the controls. Bonus: Don’t overlook your neck. Most jackets and clothing cannot protect your neck from the brisk air at high speeds. Consider wearing a scarf or purchasing a neck gaiter or sleeve.
At Motorcycle Riding Centers we tell every student to practice, practice, practice. Fall riding is no different. Take it easy this fall until you have acclimated to the changing weather and you’ll ensure your rides are smooth, happy, and comfortable to close out the riding season!