On September 23, 2019, at 3:50 a.m. east coast time, 12:50 a.m. west coast, the fall season officially arrived. At this precise moment, no matter where on earth you live, the relative position of our sun crossed the earth's equatorial plane, thus making day and night the same length in time - everywhere. For us in the northern hemisphere, the days will start getting shorter and the nights longer. Whether you live in Alaska, Alabama, Hawaii, or Manchester, England, the march towards winter commenced at the very same moment. This is because the earth is tilted about 23.5 degrees relative to the sun. It's known as the Autumnal Equinox (aequus, Latin for equal, and nox, Latin for night). So, what does the Autumnal Equinox mean for motorcyclists in the northern hemisphere? It means winter is coming. It also means altering our senses to high alert when riding our motorcycles. Here is a short list of safety tips to remember as the leaves start to fall and the sun's warmth starts to ebb.
Beware of leaves. Colorful leaves are beautiful to look at, but they can be your worst enemy after they fall to the ground. They are slippery, especially when wet, and in an instant they can spit a front wheel while turning. They can also hide hazards when they pile up on the shoulder of the roadway. They are especially dangerous when navigating around curves or when turning at intersections. The best way to reduce the risks is to avoid them, and when turning, go slow and keep the arc of your turn at a minimum. Where the leaves are most beautiful on those scenic, curvy highways, be the most vigilant.
Watch out for wildlife, especially deer. There are more collisions with deer in the fall than at any other time of year. The deer come out at night, and since night comes earlier each day, you are more likely to encounter them in the fall than in the summer. Deer stray from their normal range when food is less plentiful and present the greatest danger to us at dawn and dusk. Therefore, be especially alert during these hours.
Dress appropriately. Remember the rule about dressing for an accident: leathers are best. They not only keep you warm, but if you spit the front wheel while turning at an intersection or negotiating a curve, they also are protective. Needless to say, always wear a helmet.
Be prepared for the cold. When the sun gets low, it doesn't take long for the earth to give up what little heat it has accumulated during the day. Shorter days mean colder sunsets. Be sure to carry additional layers of clothing so that you stay warm.
Ice and Frost. Depending on where you live, freezing temperatures and frost are common in the early morning. Riding early in the morning increases the chance you'll encounter icy road surfaces. Be prepared and expect hazards. Although it isn't winter yet, frost is always around, especially on damp mornings.
In summary, you can extend your riding season by keeping a watchful eye for the various hazards of fall riding. Leaves are the enemy when on the ground. Frost and icy patches are common when overnight temperatures are at or near the freezing mark. Wear the proper clothing. Ride safe and enjoy the ride.
Attribution: South Dakota Department of Tourism and Motorcycle-Central.com.
This year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally officially begins on Friday, August 2nd and ends at midnight on Sunday, August 11, 2019. The Rally is expected to draw over 500,000 motorcyclists from around the world. The official Rally website lists the most favored destinations for daily rides. Depending on your departure location, most of these places can be reached within an [...]
Hoping for good weather on Father's Day? It’s been a rough spring for a lot of us. Let's hope for a drier summer that is not too hot or too cool - something perfect for riding. I hope you’ve made it through unscathed, especially those living in the Missouri, Mississippi, and the Arkansas river valleys. We [...]
Mother’s Day is almost here. Whether it’s a wife, mother, or sister, the women in our lives sustain the family in so many ways. This is especially true when they are Moms. Though gender equality is always a hot topic, it's the female of our species that seems to have a magical mix of chemistry that that [...]
Manoman, Golly Ned, and Geez Louise - are we ready for spring or not? That was one awful winter, no matter where you live. If it wasn’t 6-foot snow drifts, it was a polar vortex, a nor'easter with tons of freezing rain, or a tornado. Enough already! It's Goodbye Old Man Winter, and hello Spring. So, now [...]
BREAKING NEWS - February 8, 2019Within the last few hours Wisconsin Harley-Davidson® has announced the following:We are thrilled and honored to have just received the Harley-Davidson Platinum Bar and Shield Award, as well as learning that we are ranked #2 among dealerships in the entire nation. We are so proud of the hard work on the part of [...]
Believe it or not, Valentine’s Day was an outgrowth of some very dark days in 3rd Century Rome. It seems that Roman solders were not allowed to marry. According to several written accounts, a Christian priest named Valentine was imprisoned for ministering and performing weddings for Christian soldiers, the religious group still being persecuted under the Roman Empire. While [...]
“And so this is Christmas, I hope you have funThe near and the dear ones, the old and the young” - John LennonThat special season is here, when our thoughts turn to others. It's a fun season with hugs, socializing, and of course gift giving. Whether it’s for Mom, Dad, a son or daughter, good friends or co-workers, [...]
We all do it. Sitting on a shelf somewhere in the house is something triggers a fond memory. It could be a shell collected at your favorite beach, or a gift from someone special - something that evokes warm feelings about a past event. For us motorcycle fans, with the 115th Anniversary Celebration is this [...]
WELCOME TO THE HARLEY-DAVIDSON 115TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONAugust 30th to September 3rd, 2018All Roads lead to Wisconsin Harley-Davidson1280 Blue Ribbon Drive Oconomowoc, WI 53066Bikers are soon heading to Milwaukee to celebrate the 23rd quinquennial of Harley-Davidson's founding in 1903 - the 115th Anniversary. It's not surprising that one of the best known Harley dealerships is located just a [...]