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Spectacular Fall Motorcycle Riding Tour

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Fall is one of the best times of year for a truly spectacular motorcycle tour. As the air becomes crisper and the landscape turns from greens to varying shades of reds, oranges and golds, vacationing traffic lightens up a bit and the entire world beckons for the motorcyclist to come out and explore. 

Motorcycle Trailer ppulling trailer, on the road

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Fall riding tours are best experienced when both rider and bike are thoroughly prepared. Not every ride needs to be complete with a map and detailed itinerary for travel but it is best to take certain precautions and be ready for whatever may be encountered during the ride. Following these five essential guidelines will help to ensure a safe and enjoyable motorcycle ride.

1. Pay close attention to the weather.

Autumn is a time of more than changing colors. The weather fluctuates quickly and often. It's important to check the weather forecast daily for both the current location and the future destinations of the day. If storms, either rain or snow, are predicted for the day, being aware of them could save the rider a lot of trouble and risk. While the cooler air of the fall season can be enjoyable to ride in, the evenings can get quite cold, even down to freezing temperatures in some areas. While motorcycle camping is a great economical choice in the summer, it can become increasingly unsafe when the colder nights of autumn come on. 

Chilly evenings also mean frost and possible icy patches. When riding at night be aware of shaded areas on the road which will develop frost before the open, lit areas. When traveling early in the morning, remember that those areas shaded in the morning will be the last to warm or thaw.

2. Be mindful of wardrobe choices.

The fall is a great time to throw on that leather jacket for a ride. A quality leather jacket can not only keep in body heat, it can also block against wind and lighter rain. However, autumn temperatures can be very unpredictable. While the early mornings and late nights can run very cool, the midday temperatures, when the sun is high, can still be quite warm. If you are pulling your trailer and packing it right, you'll have the room. 

It is important, especially on overnight trips, to bring along many clothing options and to layer clothing while on the road. Wearing a t-shirt under the sweater and the leather that is necessary during the chilly mornings can save a rider from feeling heat-stroked later in the day when the sun begins to beat down on the road. Some riders enjoy the added comfort of wired, self-heating clothing and gear, such as heated hand grips or even heated seats.

3. Remember that leaves are more than pretty.

Leaves can be extremely hazardous to a motorcyclist. A rider who plows through a pile of leaves at full speed runs a number of risks in that action. A pile of dry leaves will catch wind very easily, flying all around and creating a potential visibility hazard for the rider or for any driver who may be following behind the rider. 

Piles can also hide many other hazards like a large rock, a tree limb or even a patch of ice. If a rider were to unknowingly ride through a hazard-hiding pile at full speed, they run a high risk of injury. Wet leaves, on the other hand, can be equally as perilous. Wet leaves are slick and slippery, creating the risk of the rider sliding out.

4. Watch for wildlife.

It's always a treat, when on a long ride, to see deer grazing in open fields or other wild animals in their natural habitat. Still, during the later seasons of the year animals of all types are doing a lot of moving around in preparation for the long, freezing nights of winter. It is important to watch closely for any type of wildlife that could pose a threat, especially during the hours around dawn and dusk. 

Birds are likely to be traveling south for the winter. While this is usually not to concerning, as they typically fly above the road, it is still something to keep it mind while on the road. When traveling through an area that is a native habitat for specific animals, such as the thick wooded areas where deer and turkey most often live, take it slow and stay alert. Animals often move quickly enough to get in the way of a rider but not quickly enough to then get out of the way as well.

5. Be sure your ride is tip top.

Some riders take out the same bike all summer long. By the time autumn is brimming, that bike has seen some miles. Giving the bike a little extra maintenance attention before a fall ride could be the difference between a cool, smooth adventure and a touring nightmare. Be sure the tire tread isn't to worn, fluids are filled and that all parts are in good, working condition. For many riders, the fall ride may be the final ride of the year before packing the bike away for the winter. Knowing this, many motorcycle owners will choose to do a minimal inspection of their bike before a fall ride rather than spending time and money taking it in to a shop. 

However, let's say that you read 50 TIPS FOR MOTORCYCLING ACROSS THE USA - that final ride is going to be a long one so it may be advisable to have a pro do a thorough inspection and tune-up for the sake of safety and preparedness.

Autumn is a great time for an easy-going riding adventure. Hitting the roads with no detailed plan or route in mind can lead to seeing awesome sights, finding new places, meeting extraordinary people and creating grand stories to tell in future years. And yet, if the rider is not well prepared and very savvy when taking their grand adventure, the tour could turn out to be tumultuous or even dangerous. It is just as important to stay safe and healthy on a ride as it is to have a great time. 

Slow down, relax, see the sights and enjoy the ride. 


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