Goodbyes are always tough, especially when it comes to putting your bike away for the fall or winter in Massachusetts. But fall in New England may be among the best times to ride. Leaf peeping rides in New Hampshire or Western Massachusetts are some of the best scenic rides this country has to offer.
There are certain challenges however to fall or early winter riding and we have some tips to help you extend the riding season and to avoid any accidents on your bike.
Fall in the Northeast is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful times to take a motorcycle trip. Whether you stay in Boston, or head up to Western Massachusetts or even Vermont or New Hampshire - you’ll be taking in gorgeous autumn views and likely enjoying riding without the summer heat.
Fall, however, can actually be a very dangerous season for riding motorcycles. Some new potential hazards to be aware of include slippery leaves and the cold weather hardening your tires and losing traction. Here’s a list of some things to be aware of in the fall:
- Leaves: While they might look great in the trees, leaves on the roads are bad news for fall motorcycle rides. Leaves can cover up things like curbs or even potholes which can turn simple roads into major hazards. If the leaves are wet from a bit of rain or melted frost, they also can become very slippery.
- Deer Mating Season: Did you know fall is the mating and migration season for deer? This makes accidents with deer while on a bike ride much more likely, especially if you’re riding in more rural or mountainous areas in Massachusetts.
- Cold Bike Tires: Cold temps have a powerful effect on motorcycle tire pressure. Every 10-degree drop in air temperature causes a two percent drop in inflation pressure. Be sure to check your motorcycle tire pressure when they’re cold—meaning the motorcycle hasn’t been ridden for at least three hours. Manufacturer inflation specifications are based on cold readings and take into account the pressure increase that happens as tires warm up on the road.
To help minimize these additional risks of riding your bike in the fall, we recommend avoiding riding through leaf piles in the roads when you can, and driving though leafy areas slowly and with extra caution. When it comes to deer, be more alert when you ride in the fall, especially during dawn and dusk. And finally, be sure to always check your tire pressure before your ride.
Winter Motorcycle Riding Tips in Massachusetts
Riding a Motorcycle in the winter is a very different story - both in terms of your personal safety and the safety of the roads. The past 15 years have been the snowiest in Massachusetts’ history, which means there is a good chance of you encountering snow and slippery black ice on the roads which makes for increased risks for motorcycle accidents. So our advice for winter riding boils down to this; if the roads are dry and it’s just cold you’re dealing with then ride away but stay warm. If the roads are icy, snow covered, wet, or the forecast calls for any of these inclement conditions, keep the bike in the garage. Now, let’s talk about staying warm.
You cannot be a safe motorcyclist in the winter if you are too cold to function at peak performance. You must keep your fingers, toes and head warm. Proper operation of the clutch, throttle and brakes can be challenging in perfect conditions so being frozen to the core can be downright deadly. It also goes without saying that if your head and face are not warm it will be more difficult to see and focus up on the road.
Winter Motorcycle Riding Gear Recommendations from Motorcyclist.com
- Consider Heated Grips: Even if your bike didn’t come with heated grips, you can add them yourself.
- Gloves: Look for gloves that will stop the wind, are insulated, and have both an inside and outside cuff to keep out the cold and wet weather.
- Tall Wool Socks: Smartwool is a great option, but anything wool will help keep you dry and warm.
- Boots: Gore-Tex boots are often recommended as they can help keep the cold at bay for longer periods of time.
- Winter-ready Helmets: Not all helmets will keep you warm in the winter. You’ll want a helmet that has full-face protection, and also one that fits more snugly and is quiet - the more quiet and snug your helmet, the more likely it has more insulation and will let less air in.
- Ski-masks: you also might want to think about wearing a thin, thermal, ski mask under your motorcycle helmet.
- Layers: Layering is essential to keeping warm. Wool long johns can help provide serious warmth. Merino Wool long johns are recommended by Motorcyclist.
- Heated Gear: You can look into heated jackets, heated vests, heated liners and heated gloves for cold weather riding.
- Waterproof Gear: Staying dry is an important part of keeping warm. Make sure all your winter gear is waterproof - even the bag that you’re carrying extra layers in. Your layers or change of clothes won’t be useful if they’re not dry.
In addition to having all the right gear, some other winter motorcycle riding tips include staying hydrated and having snacks if you are going on a long ride. It might seem silly, but the more active your metabolism, the warmer you will be and stay. Having a snack can help get your metabolism running and in turn help you warm up.
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Massachusetts? Our Boston-Based Injury Attorney Offers Free Consults
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident anywhere in Massachusetts, Spada Law Group’s injury attorneys can work to protect your legal rights. We have offices in Chelsea, Salem, and Worcester but we proudly serve the entire state and can meet with you remotely from the comfort of your own home. Contact us for a free consultation so we can learn more about your case and see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve after your accident.