They'll take my bike from my cold, cold hands.
While Janaki's riding season has come to a premature end, my native New England has yet to see snow (though we have seen frost). My days are numbered, though. Mornings have been too cold for me to commute to the day job for a while. With the time change, it's dark when I leave work. The ten-day forecast shows temperatures barely hitting the freezing point next weekend. Basically, it's the beginning of the end. So I decided to use my precious few hours of weekend daylight to take a greatest hits tour of my favorite local roads and trails.
The ride almost ended as soon as it started as my engine sputtered and shut off. I switched the petcock to reserve and it sprang back to life, so I set a course directly to the nearest gas station, despite the fact that I'd only ridden 154 miles since my last fillup, and I usually get up to 220 miles before needing to flip the fuel switch. It took nearly four gallons of gas, so it was legitimately low. I also used the opportunity to drop a little Sta-Bil in the tank. I normally do this time of year, because every ride could be my last. It started and ran perfectly after that.
One challenge unique to autumn is that the leaves cover the trail, preventing you from reading it accurately. In addition, the recent storm that blew down all the leaves took a lot of small to medium-size branches out, too. The end result was a bit of bad luck on a trail when my front tire clipped the end of a thick branch I didn't see, launching it straight into my knee, with a fair bit of spin for a +3 to its damage roll. Fortunately, I was wearing my +5 armor motorcycle pants. While I lost no hit points, the impact still hurt enough for me to want to get off the bike and walk it off. After a couple of minutes I was fine. This would not have been the case if I'd been wearing my +0 jeans of looking cool. Riding gear doesn't just protect you from crashes.
It was good to revisit some favorites, as well as verify that the bike was OK and that I still remember how to ride a motorcycle. It's only a short matter of time, though, until I put it away for the winter. I hope I don't lose too much of what I've learned about dirt riding over the winter. Spring can't come soon enough for me.