Fall is in full swing in New England. In fact, right now is the time of peak foliage throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
While many riders start putting their bikes away around this time of year, there are always two good reasons to ride in the fall: to experience the changing leaves and for unseasonably warm fall days. Over the next two weeks, the weather in Boston will be in the mid-60s, which is the perfect weather for some last-of-the-season motorcycle rides.
Motorcycle Leaf Peeping: Top Routes in New England
If you ride, you know that a motorcycle ride is one of the best ways to enjoy the fall foliage. Thankfully, we still have a bit more time to enjoy the beauty in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
Four Motorcycle Leaf Peeping Routes to Enjoy Peak Foliage Now:
Quabbin Reservoir Loop, Massachusetts
The Quabbin Reservoir Loop in Massachusetts has a 5-star rating from motorcycleroads.com. It is expected to continue to have peak foliage throughout October. This 64-mile loop begins in Athol and rounds through Amherst, Belchertown, Hardwick, and Petersham, MA. Along route 9, there will be a gravel road scenic pull-off. On this route, you’ll ride along a reservoir, quaint Massachusetts towns, farmlands, and enjoy no shortage of scenic views.
Northern Connecticut Appalachian Mountains
The Northern Connecticut Appalachian Mountains route also has a 5-star rating for scenery from motorcycleroads.com. Peak foliage is happening on this route right now! This loop is longer than the Quabbin Reservoir Loop, totaling 102 miles. This route will take you along the Appalachian Trail, and past many towns with lodging, state parks, restaurants, and museums.
Border to Newport, Rhode Island
If you procrastinated on getting out to leaf peep, we have good news: the Border to Newport, Rhode Island’s peak foliage is the last two weeks of October. This ride combines the beauty of fall foliage with Rhode Island’s idyllic beaches.
This ride is 55 miles one way, not a loop. It begins at the Massachusetts border, where Route 146 meets Route 102. Once you’re on scenic Route 102, you’ll experience the best foliage views in all of Rhode Island. From Route 102, you’ll switch to Route 138 and continue south on 138A until you reach Newport. Once in Newport, find Ocean Avenue. Ocean Avenue will take you by Brenton Point State Park and the Ocean Drive Historic District with incredible ocean views.
Once in Newport, there are plenty of things to do, including the Cliff Walk, checking out The Breakers (the Vanderbilts’ mansions), and many shops and restaurants on Thames Street. We highly recommend trying the lobster nachos at The Red Parrot at 348 Thames Street.
Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts
If you head east on Route 2 from North Adams, Massachusetts, it will lead you to the Mohawk Trail. The Mohawk Trail is one of the most famous scenic rides in the Berkshires. It is a one-way ride for about 55 miles along Route 2. The road follows an old trail Native Americans of the Five nations used to pass between the Connecticut and Hudson Valleys.
One of the first points of interest on the trail is a hairpin turn (check out our motorcycle skills blog for a refresher on cornering while riding your bike). The trail rises sharply to lead you to the Western Summit. There is an observation point at the summit with incredible views of mountain regions in both Southern Vermont and Northwestern Massachusetts. You can see Massachusetts Mount Greylock, Mount Prospect, and Mount Willaims from the observation point!
Check out the Mohawk Trail Region website to learn more about the routes you can take and the different historic and scenic options on the route!
Safety Tips for Leaf Peeping Rides in Massachusetts and New England
When it comes to fall and even early winter riding, we have some safety tips to help you extend the riding season safely so you can avoid any accidents on your bike. The goal is to enjoy the fall without any falls.
Fall is undoubtedly one of the best times to ride in New England. The summer heat is gone and we get to enjoy all the autumn foliage New England is known for. Although beautiful, fall can be a dangerous time to ride a motorcycle for a few reasons.
Especially in the fall, having the appropriate safety gear is essential. Staying warm is important for safe riding, and dressing for the slide is especially important if you pass through some wet leaves or even a bit of hidden frost. Check out our blog on recommended safety gear for riding.
Three Specific Fall Hazards to Be Aware of When Riding a Motorcycle
Cold Bike Tires
Cold temps can have a powerful effect on motorcycle tire pressure. When your tires harden or lose pressure due to the cold, your tires lose traction, which makes slips and slides more likely. Every 10-degree drop in air temperature causes a two percent drop in inflation pressure. Check your bike’s tire pressure when the tires are “cold” (meaning you haven't ridden in at least 3 hours). This is how you get a proper pressure reading, as the PSI indicated for your tires is meant to be measured when your tires are cold.
Help ensure a safe fall ride by checking your bike’s tire pressure before each ride. It will only take one minute, but it could make all the difference for the safety of your ride.
While nice to look at, leaves on the roads are bad news for fall motorcycle rides. Leaves can cover up things like curbs or potholes, turning simple roads into major hazards. If the leaves are wet from a bit of rain or melted frost, they also can become very slippery.
Leaves are also hazardous if your tires are not inflated properly, or if your tires no longer have good traction. One of the most critical safety components of fall riding is having good tires that are correctly inflated.
To minimize the risks of leaves on the road, check your tires before you ride. And, as you ride, make sure to drive through leafy areas slowly and with extra caution. This is especially true when on fall trails and mountain passes.
Deer Mating Season
Did you know fall is the mating and migration season for deer? This makes accidents with deer while on a ride much more likely, especially if you’re riding in more rural or mountainous areas in Massachusetts. Keep this in mind, especially on the mountainous fall foliage routes.
This safety hazard is mainly accounted for by being alert while you ride. Be especially cautious if you ride at dawn or dusk as deer typically move most during that time.
Were you 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.
Over the last three decades, we’ve helped thousands of people in Massachusetts get the recovery they need after a car accident injury. Recently, Spada Law Group was recognized as one of the Top 20 Car Accident Attorneys in Boston and Attorney Spada was named one of Boston’s Top Personal Injury Lawyers by Boston Magazine. We’re here and ready to help. As personal injury lawyers, you never pay us a penny until we win your case.
We have offices in Chelsea, Peabody, Worcester, and Newburyport, 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 to see how we can help you get the recovery you deserve after your injury.