Tips for Enjoying the Fall on Your Motorcycle

The Autumnal Equinox is upon us, but riding season isn’t over yet.

MT  GREYLOCK STATE RESERVATION, NEW ASHFORD, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - 2013/10/06: Motorcyclists on rural autumn road. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
John Greim via Getty Images

It’s easy to argue that the summer is the best time to ride a motorcycle, but there’s still a lot of two-wheeled fun to be had in the fall. The magnificent colors of the changing leaves are just the beginning of the natural beauty that’s made even better from the saddle of a motorcycle. Here are a few ways you can keep riding before the snow flies.

Bundle Up

If it’s sweatshirt or light jacket weather outside, that means it’s going to be freezing when you’re on your motorcycle. If your bike doesn’t have a windshield or fancy heated grips, it’s going to be even worse. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be uncomfortable. If you layer up with a thermal, long-sleeve base layer and add some nice, thick clothes over that, topped off with your riding jacket, you’ll be just fine in brisk temperatures.

Many motorcycle jackets have removable liners to add an optional extra layer of warmth for three-season riding. If you have such a liner, make sure it’s in if you’re going to ride in the fall. The right pair of insulated gloves with materials like Gore-Tex can make a big difference too, so you may need to hang up the bad-boy fingerless gloves until spring. Maybe even throw in some old-school flair and add a scarf to your collection of riding gear.

Personally, I’m a bit of a sissy when it comes to cold-weather riding, but if I bundle up properly with layers, riding is still a pleasure in autumn.

Avoid Wet Leaves

Wet leaves on the road can be almost as slippery as ice. Modern motorcycle tires have tons of grip and are usually good in wet-road conditions, but you’ll still want to avoid running over wet leaves whenever possible. 

If your tires are starting to wear out and you’re planning a long fall motorcycle ride, you may want to consider getting them replaced in case there’s an unavoidable wet leaf situation on your ride.

Watch Out for Animals

According to Farmers Insurance, 36 percent of all animal collisions on the road occur between September and November. The same data shows that you’re 67 percent more likely to hit an animal in autumn than you are in the summer. 

Deer and elk are more active in fall months and are often the cause of nasty accidents that can easily total your car or do much worse to motorcyclists. As always, you should be on high-alert with your head up while riding, but if you're riding in a forested area, pay extra close attention to any animals that could run out of the woods. Also, make sure your brakes and tires are in good shape in case you need to make an emergency stop at a high speed.

Look for Fall Events in Your Area

Enjoying the fall on a motorcycle isn’t just about keeping warm and safe, but it’s also about the cool stuff you can do that you can’t do during any other time of the year. The falling leaves bring with them a host of events that only happen in autumn. Thanks to the unique scenery of the season, getting there could be half the fun if you take your motorcycle.

Maybe there’s a big Oktoberfest you could check out with your riding friends (as long as you don’t drink and ride) or perhaps you and your other half could make a day trip out of some sort of harvest festival. State and national parks sometimes have events going on in Fall that could be cool to check out on two wheels. Visit your state’s travel website and see what’s going on near you.

Summer coming to a close is far from meaning the end of riding season. Bundle up, watch out for deer, and enjoy the season.