Common Tread

Labor Day: Help us plan our best autumn rides

Sep 05, 2016

A few days ago, the Common Tread staff had gathered for our weekly roundtable (sans Lem Lem, who was out riding new Harleys around the Pacific Northwest). We were discussing our upcoming schedule when someone suggested we should do a Labor Day article bidding adieu to another riding season here on the East Coast.

This caused a minor uproar amongst those sitting around the table. While I’ve heard rumors of those riders who hang up their helmets for the year as soon as temps dip below 80 degrees, I’ve never actually seen one in the wild. I liken these folks to Santa Claus, Bigfoot, and the Abominable Snowman.

Many of us here on the East Coast feel that autumn is the best time of year to ride motorcycles (and of course that's doubly true in some southern locations). Personally, I reserve the majority of my PTO (Paid Time Off) to be used for riding under an umbrella of colorful foliage.

BMW R 1200 RS Skyline Drive
The BMW R 1200 RS review, shot in the hills of Virginia at the tail end of the autumn riding season, was one of my favorites. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

One of my favorite bike reviews we’ve ever done here at RevZilla was the BMW R 1200 RS. We got to shoot it in Virginia spread over a week in November. Aside from a bit of rain and fog, it was perfect riding weather. Brisk mornings in the 40s warmed to mild afternoons in the 60s. Armed with the proper gear, there is no better time of year to go blasting through the Appalachian Mountains on a Bavarian boxer.

Both Lance and I have penned articles in the past about our passion for fall riding. Lance's article, "The Best Riding of the Year," discussed weekends in October spent crossing the state line between West Virginia and Virginia, chasing apexes and photographing Bambi. Last September, I discussed my top locations for fall rides as I sat down with a map to search for new destinations to explore.

Triumph Tiger 800 XCx Skyline Drive Virginia
Armed with a map and a full tank of gasoline, your plans will only be limited my the amount of vacation time you have left to burn. Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

We recently published a story about a ride Chris Force took through Indonesia, where a crash cut short his trip. In the comments section, Glen, one of our Indonesian readers, chimed in with recommendations and advice for future rides that could only have been gleaned from years of local riding. This got me thinking. What better way to discover new places to ride than to ask the locals who know their backyard rides better than any map? The timing is perfect for those of us who see Labor Day not as the end, but as the beginning of a three-month stint of weekend rides and moto-vacations.

Kawasaki Vaquero
With crops ripe for harvest, there is something special about the smell in the air around what I fondly refer to as "pumpkin picking weather." Photo by Spurgeon Dunbar.

So whether you reside in Indonesia or Indiana, I am curious to hear about your favorite places to ride. If Lemmy were here, I am sure he would ask you to include any good places to get grub along the way, so make sure to mention your favorite greasy spoon joints.

And what if you have riding buddies who have already pulled out the trickle charger and added Stabil to the tank? Be a good friend and drag them out of the house and let them see what they’re missing.