Best Practices for Great Autumn Motorcycle Rides
The autumn season offers spectacular rides for motorcycle riders. The roads are accented with breath-taking colours as the leaves turn from green to blazing oranges and reds. Some of the best roads to ride are done so in autumn. The incredible canvases of colour and those fall scents, make for a fulfilling ride experience to your autumn motorcycle rides. However there are hazards which are uniquely characteristic to this season. Here are tips for the best practices to ensure a safe and beautiful ride!
Riding amidst autumn’s conditions can be challenging however, with good planning and preparation your autumn motorcycle rides will be safe and enjoyable.
Use these tips before you take your autumn ride:
- PLAN YOUR JOURNEY:
Plan your route to make the most of daylight hours. Add on extra time, more than you would normally to do same route during summertime. Due to the colder conditions of riding in the fall, you’ll likely be stopping to warm up more often. You’ll also be tempering your speed due to more slippery road conditions. Plan that your hours are few. Therefore pick a route that will bring you to your destination before dark.
- CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST:
Pick the better weather forecasted day to take your ride if you can.
- CHECK YOUR MOTORCYCLE BATTERY: Be 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 quicker than under normal dry warm conditions.
- CHECK YOUR TIRES: Due to colder nights and cooler temperatures, your motorcycle tire pressure may seem low. Check your tire pressure for accuracy and proper inflation while also inspecting tread. Often at the end of riding season tires are worn out. During colder weather rides, tread and grip are equally important and necessary to ensure full grip.
- COLD TIRES: Your tires will take longer to warm up during colder temperature days. The first kilometres of your morning ride is tackled with smoother than normal inputs as your tires and the road surface are super slippery. Your tires will likely not warm to the point you’re accustom to in warmer temps and tires with soft rubber compound tires need to warm to perform at best. In the cold, they’re hard and that traction is gone. Go easy!
- CHECK LIGHTING SYSTEM: Be sure all your lights are functioning and if you can, increase your lighting quality and lens are clean. Read more on our tips to BRIGHTEN UP.
- MOTORCYCLE GEAR: Be warm and be visible Keeping and staying warm is key to a successful ride, and full concentration at the handlebars. It will be chilly and though you feel warm when you start, wind-chill will quickly change that factor. 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 as 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: Autumn 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 defence 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 movement will peak at dusk and dawn. Areas where crops or timber are relatively close to the road will present the greatest challenge as these are ideal places for deer to cross. Unfortunately, it’s these zones which provide you the shortest reaction time. Slow and prepare for the risk.
- WIND: This time of year is usually accented by gusty strong winds. These can unsettle your bike and blow you a little of course within your lane. To manage this, look for signs. For example, try looking ahead at the trees and bushes, and note the behaviour of other vehicles to see how the wind is affecting them. Strong winds are not constant, they are usually gusty so ensure you hold the handlebar handgrip firmly. Go slow enough to cope with the gusts.
- PLAN YOUR JOURNEY:
As is the case during any ride, you need to ensure awareness and this is an awareness of the road surface and the side effects it will produce; characteristic of autumn.
With good planning you’ll be able to enjoy one of the most pleasurable and spectacular riding seasons!