Ralph Couey

Ralph Couey
Photo by Darryl Cannon, Powerhead Productions

About Me

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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 62 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall Riding: Joys and Risks

Copyright © 2011 words and image by Ralph Couey

Fall is a joyous time of year for riding. For a few short weeks, our favorite roads become tunnels of riotous color, the sunlight providing a marvelous glow to the trees. The milky humidity-filled skies have cleared to a perfect cobalt blue and the air has lost its heavy summer feel to a cool freshness that engages the senses and enlivens the soul.

But in this beauty is an increased amount of risk for riders. This is the time of year when riders begin to disappear from the streets and highways. Because you are now a rarer sight, drivers will be less inclined to take notice of you. During the summer, humidity tends to soften the sunlight. But in the fall, the humidity disappears, leaving the air perfectly clear. This means that for anyone facing the sun, now at a lower angle in the sky, the light will be very bright, even blinding. Remember this, especially when you ride with the sun to your back. People coming towards you will be dazzled by the light and you will be very likely invisible to them, especially when it’s time for them to turn left across your path. Riding with your high beam on just may give you a little more visibility.

The fall storms drop rain and bring strong winds, blowing foliage off the trees. Remember that wet leaves are very slick and in the cool air, roads will take longer to dry. And as you ride down into deep valleys, there just might be a bit of ice or frost on the pavement, especially in the morning.