October 23, 2016
From Tim “Sarge” Ruland, Ride Safety Officer, MD-5
Fall Riding Tips
Fall riding season is here. Depending on where your Chapter is located the exact conditions may be different, and while many may already be contemplating getting your ride ready for the long winter, Mother Nature is still giving us some decent weather at times. Here are five tips to remember as you enjoy the crisp autumn wind in your face as you enjoy the remaining rides.
Watch out for Dry or Wet Leaves
The autumn colors are spectacular to see as you ride, but they can be dangerous as they start to fall, causing a few different hazards for which you need to stay alert. Dry leaves can collect on the road and cover potholes or other road conditions that can impact your ride. Keep your eyes on the road and be aware of the conditions, especially on roads that you aren’t familiar with. Leaves that get wet from rain or morning dew can cause slick pavement. Try to avoid these situations and if you can’t be extra careful when you do ride through them.
Deer season is on us. Deer are more active in the fall season as they are looking for food or moving away from hunters. Deer are everywhere, even in urban neighborhoods, so be alert. Meeting a deer up close and personal on your ride can really ruin your day. Wear your protective gear and always scan the sides of the road, especially during dusk and dawn.
Appreciate your Leathers
Fall is a great time to ride, the cool, brisk air is always more comfortable than the searing heat of mid-summer. If you haven’t got a good set of leathers, now is the time to look at them. They can protect you from the wind in addition to providing you the protection if you do have an accident. Besides, a rider in leathers just looks good.
Dress in Layers
Weather can be very unpredictable this time of year. It will go from chilly or darn right cold in the morning, to warm and sunny in the afternoon and then back down quickly as the sun sets. Remember to dress in layers or bring extra layers with you when you ride, especially when it will be a long ride. Have a good set of rain gear as well, cold and wet can ruin a great ride and at this time of year can potentially lead to hypothermia. No one wants that to be the culmination of their ride.
Frost and Ice
Fall nights can lead to morning frost. Remember, be aware of this if you start out early in the morning. That think layer of ice on the road will force you to loose traction and nothing good comes after that happens. Shaded areas will frost up first so know where you are riding and be prepared.
Bottom line, autumn is my favorite time of the year to ride, the scenery is fantastic, traffic on the back roads is often less and as the leaves start to drop the landscapes and views become more open. Enjoy this time of year, just remember to be prepared and above all…