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What to remember when riding a motorcycle in California in fall

Summer's over, but in Northern California, the arrival of fall doesn't mean it's time to put the motorcycles away. We're lucky that the California climate allows us to ride all year.

What the change of seasons does mean, however, is that there are a few extra things to do and consider. Let's start with the environmental factors that could effect how we ride motorcycles in the fall.

Sunlight: Use a motorcycle helmet with an anti-glare visor. The sun appears lower and can shine directly into your eyes in the autumn season.

Leaves: The leaves that have fallen onto the roadway can get wet, stick to the road and make the pavement slippery. Dry leaves can pile up. Driving over leaves, whether wet or dry, can reduce traction and that effects braking.

Then there are the good maintenance tips you should follow in fall.

Battery: Keep it charged. With the shorter days and the cooler temperatures, you won't take the motorcycle on the road every day. If your bike has to sit unridden for more than two weeks or so, be sure to charge the battery. Dim headlights or trouble getting the engine to start are sure signs of an undercharged battery.

Tires: You've probably noticed with your car that cold nights can lead to a drop in tire pressure. The same thing happens with the tires on your motorcycle. Make sure to check your tire pressure frequently and to assess the grip and tread while you're at it.

Chains: Your motorcycle's chain needs to be lubricated, and it's best to do it while the chain is still warm after a ride so that the lubricant will absorb better. The chain of your bike will require some lubrication after each ride and it needs to be done while it is still a little warm so that lubricant can be absorbed better. Check the drive tension in the belt, keep it clean and change the oil in the shaft drive as often you change bike oil for proper working.

Nothing is more important than your safety. And even if you are the safest motorcyclist in the world, you're going to encounter drivers who aren't. In fall, therefore, it is crucial to make sure your motorcycle is in tip-top shape so that you can navigate the fall hazards and the drivers who potentially could cause an accident that could effect your life for years to come.

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