As Fall Riding Season is upon us there are a few things to remember to stay safe on the road.
1) Dress in layers – Unless you’re extremely fortunate to be living in a year-round warm, weather climate, temperatures can be pretty cool in the fall and can fluctuate 20-30 degrees from the morning to the afternoon hours. The best advice I can offer you to stay comfortable is to dress in layers. It may be in the upper 40s when you take off in the morning on your ride but up to the mid-60s or maybe even 70 by the time 2:00pm rolls around. A long-sleeve t-shirt or sweatshirt under your jacket, long johns under your jeans or maybe even a pair of riding pants over your jeans in the morning will do wonders to keep you warm until the temperature rises. When it comes to gloves I would either pick a standard or bring 2 pairs (1 heavy, 1 light) if you have the room to haul them.
2) Hazards on the Road- With fall comes leaves falling from the trees. The worst kind are wet leaves. Wet leaves stick to the road surface but your tire is going to have difficulty keeping any traction on a leaf-covered surface. Keep your eyes open and slow down if you have to.
3) Deer- You’ll see more deer out during the fall as well. Normally there will be more than one so keep your eyes open and slow down. Be especially careful at night as you won’t have near the visibility from you headlight as you do when the sun is up. I’ve had 2 buddies already this fall have run-ins with deer. One happened during the day on the interstate (bruised ankle, some broken plastic and pushed the radiator back but kept the bike up) while my other buddy had just escaped with a little deer fur while riding after dusk on a secondary road (pictured below).
4) Wet Roads/Ice – Wet roads can easily turn to black ice, especially on bridges. If you have an ambient temperature gauge, keep an eye on it but don’t trust it as gospel. During the middle of the day you’ll probably be fine but those early morning hours and after the sun goes down, you’ll need to be more cautious
5) Cold Asphalt- If you’re a newbie you may not realize that your tires won’t stick as well when they are cold. They also don’t stick to cold asphalt as well as they do to hot asphalt so take it easy on those first few turns of the day to see how the tires are going to react.