By The Road Toad
End of summer should not be doom and gloom for bikers. Fall in western New York is a spectacular time to ride. Get off the main drag, head to the country and just turn right onto the next side road you come to. Motor down to a comfortable speed and look around you at the colors and views fall brings.
The leaves are just turning, golden rod is in its glory, pumpkins are appearing at roadside stand — though there is a limit to how many pumpkins you can haul on your bike — like maybe none! But you can certainly find a place with homemade pumpkin pie — like at the end of Sugartown Road.
It will be cooler, but “leather up” and put a hoody in your bag for a chilly ride home in the evening. Wear gloves and boots, and get your butt on your bike!
A couple of safety thoughts for fall riding:
• First and foremost, school is back in session and that means kids on or near the road and school buses. Be the “good citizen” and give them a lot of leeway.
• Another is the sun — it is lower and more directly in line with your line of sight in the early morning but even more so in the evening. If you are riding West, you will need to wear dark glasses or a face shield. BIG TIP HERE: CLEAN YOUR WINDSHIELD! Keep in mind if the sun is at your back, it is in the eyes of oncoming traffic. They may not see you — be aware!
• Watch your road surface. Cooler temps and lower sun means a lot of the roads without a lot of traffic may be wet well into the day.
• Also, leaves are falling. Wet leaves on the highway are as slick as ice. They are! Slow down before you get to the turn or stop.
• A lot of rural roads are repaired with “tar and chips.” This leaves a very loose surface when first laid down, but after a few days, the driving lanes are more stable. However, the loose stone accumulates at the edges and center of lanes and also on the shoulder.
• We are not far away from a frost or freezing point kind of night. Be very careful on early morning trips if you are one who still rides to work in the morning.
As always, be on the lookout and ride as if your and your passenger’s life depends on it … it does!
Do not garage the scooter yet. Lots of clubs have fall rides or just follow your headlight someplace in the country.
So kickstands up … fists in the wind!