Ya see what I did there?
Yes boys and girls, it is that time of year when leaves and other things fall off trees and layer our roadways with a nice coating of death. That’s right, leaves, acorns, twigs, branches, bark and the occasional squirrel will be falling from the sky likes snowflakes in a few months.
For those of you who live in desert regions and places where such phenomenon does not happen, you may exit and close the door on your way out.
Although my favorite time of year for nearly everything else, including motorcycling, it is not my favorite time of year at the same time. Nothing will put you into clench mode like wet leaves and the need to make a right or left turn on aforementioned “death” coated road surface.
Now just because your road surface might be dirt, gravel or some combination of both, that doesn’t mean that leaves can’t or won’t make that surface slick as snot on a doorknob. It can and it will. Leaves decompose and turn into what? Compost. What is compost? Mush basically. Now I’m not saying that there is likely to be globs of gooey mush on the road but you can be sure that decomposing pile of leaves in the gutter near that turn you always take isn’t letting loose with some sort of slurry that will ooze into your wheels path as you take that turn.
So the next time you head out to enjoy your favorite pastime on these remarkably pleasant fall days, make sure you check the weather before you venture out. Note what the weather was like yesterday or the day before, take note of the temperatures where you plan to ride and when the last time it rained there. Take into consideration the time of day you are riding as well. Although wonderful, early morning hours are the worst this time of year because of that morning dew that will linger on aforementioned decomposing leaves on your favorite loop. Mid to late afternoons are the best on these days. When the sun is as high as it’s going to get and the temperatures have burned off whatever dampness that may be hanging around. Plus, that chill is likely to be gone as well.
Then there is this guy… you know. That glowing ball in the sky that keeps us warm and alive. Well as you know, this time of year, right around 4 to 5 p.m., when it’s a great time to ride, the sun is at the critical point where it will issue blindness to all those heading in a westerly direction. Now the question here is, is it best to ride east on your way home or ride west? That is to say, do you want the sun to your back when you’re riding so you can see where you are going…. Or do you want other drivers to see where they are going and likely see you as well? There is no right answer there, but I can suggest choosing a North-South route. This will ensure that both you and your opponents will a better degree of visibility and less chance of sun glare.
One last tid-bit…. Avoid painted surfaces as much as possible during these Autumn months. That lingering morning dew, decomposing leaf slurry and smooth painted lines and arrows make for that snotty doorknob surface you’ve been hearing about. So save your skin and ride where the paint ain’t.
That all being said, ride smart and enjoy the pretty.