So, where did the summer go all of a sudden?
Autumn presents riders with something of a dilemma: it’s that ‘in-between’ season where, before each ride, you have to make a prediction as to whether you’ll need to pack your waterproofs or risk the journey without them. It’s too hot to wear your thick winter leathers, but too cool for your summer gear. There’s your dilemma.
If we could hazard a guess, though, autumn tends to lean a little more towards the ‘cooler’ side in the UK. And, in our opinion, it’s better feel a little overheated on your ride than it is arriving at your destination unable to feel any sensation in your extremities.
With the above in mind, here are some tips for riding in autumn:
As we’ve said, autumn is a tricky time for knowing what to wear on your bike. The weather can change in a heartbeat so, really, your best bet is to pack for all eventualities. You’re most likely to get caught out by that sudden downpour they forgot to mention on the weather, so it’s always a good idea to pack a pair of light waterproofs just in case.
When it comes to wearing thin/thick leathers, it really depends on the temperature on the day, so just use your common sense. As it gets nearer to winter you’ll need to consider investing in things like thermal layers, a decent neck tube and a heated vest. But you’ve still got a while yet (we hope).
The transition from summer to autumn is pretty big, so you need to prepare your bike for it. This is the perfect time to give your bike a once-over. Check tyre pressures, battery, brake pads/disks, drive belt/chain, brake fluid levels, coolant levels, etc.
As it gets nearer to winter, you might want to consider an oil and filter change in order to protect your engine. Investing in silicon spray will also help to safeguard your bike from salt corrosion from the rain. And, seeing as the nights are closing in on us, it’s important to check that your lights are in good nick.
On the road
A typical English autumn tends to be one thing: wet. Be cautious riding after brief spells of rain (of which there will be many), as there may be a lot of standing oil and water on the roads that hasn’t been washed away. Needless to say, don’t be tempted to ride through a big puddle as it could be masking a nasty pothole.
The leaves look great on the trees in the autumn, but they do turn into a potential hazard when they start to fall. Large mounds of dry leaves can hide dangers on the roads, while wet leaves can cause the road surface to be slick, which may result in you skidding on your bike. So, if there are lots of leaves on the road you’re riding on it’s important you approach and pass them with caution.
As well as slippery, wet roads, you must watch out for icy spots as, generally speaking, cold autumn nights are followed by fresh, frosty mornings. There will be times where a thin layer of ice will cover the road surface and it can be pretty difficult to spot. If it’s a particularly chilly morning, refrain from riding through shaded areas as these are most likely to be icy.