Motorcycling

Why You Should Not Dread The End of Summer With Your Motorcycle

Riding your motorcycle in the fall season on the east coast of the United States may be the best time of the year for those that like to cruise. For some motorcyclist, the end of the summer means the end of fun times. I disagree. The fall, or autumn season particular on the eastern coast of the United States in September (Northern Hemisphere) marks the transition from summer into winter. This is when the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier and the arrival of day becomes noticeably later. The overall temperature cools down but is perfect for riding.
The changing colors of the trees, brings many riders and cars to the same places to observe the beauty of nature. Cars usually slow down considerably to “stop and smell the roses.” This slower pace is better for bikers at any time of the year. The temperature does cool considerably compared to a few months earlier in the year but with the proper gear you can ride in comfort and style. Most people don’t know how to dress unfortunately and it shortens their riding season. With the motorcycle parts it doesn’t matter whether you are riding a sport bike, cruiser or touring bike. I know for a fact that windshield affects your ride. The reason the “old guys” like the big touring bikes is because of the fairings, and the protection it provides, not to mention all the extra amenities you can have like stereos, clocks, cameras, GPS systems, etc.
I remember when I chose to buy a XS 850 back in 1981. It was a behemoth to me back then but affording me the comfort of wind protection, a “cassette” radio system and a space for extra gear. It was warm during the day but perfect for the cool nights along Highway One near the coast. I rode that bike from San Mateo, California to Quantico, VA. I am a fan of touring bikes. The bike pictured below  is an 1100 XS, and a bit bigger than I had but the Yamaha bike parts are still available for it.  These bikes were made to last. I rode it in the rain, through a tornado, high elevations and sea level.  You can ride get through any season, any weather with the right gear.
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I have two things you have to watch for in particular during the fall season on the east coast. The first is when it rains. Wet leaves and water are equivalent to oil slicks on pavement. The second hazard are deer that are in rut and may dart across the roadway all of a sudden. The good part about that is, on a motorcycle you are more inclined to see them before you would notice it in a car. Statistics are hard to find but I know it happens.
Deer are usually cautious, and prefer to hide close to the tree line. They like eating the tender foliage and r along the shoulder of the road in shady areas of the highway. Deer seem to prefer hiding in the shadows in the daytime, and feeding at dusk and dawn. That means the risk of deer strikes increases when the sun is rising or setting. Deer also eat in small groups, so if you see one, expect its twin to be nearby with at least another out of sight. They are strange animals that may wait until you get close before they decide to evade what they perceive is a threat. It’s best to prepare to stop rather than power through. Decreasing speed in a “deer crossing area” gives you more time to spot an animal, more time to react, and a greater ability to maneuver.
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Slippery roads and deer aside, the fall is the best time to ride because of the scenery, the temperature, and the slower pace of traffic. If you ride an older bike that offers crotch-pot cooking during the summer months as you sit in traffic. The cooler fall temps actually make you appreciate the heat coming up between your legs. If you are into fashion, the new motorcycle jackets that serve as protection and status symbols look sensible in the fall than in the summer. I know of some Harley Davidson riders that scoff at wearing anything more than a tee shirt. For the record I am a “all the gear all the time” kind of person. And if you want to be riding for thirty years or more like I have, you might consider it too. Road rash isn’t cool but riding in autumn is.

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