With chilly, dark mornings, sunny, colorful afternoons and weekends, and pumpkin spice everything, Fall in full swing here in Western New York! It is a great time to go riding on the trails on your ATV or side by side. However, you should be aware of a few tips to make riding safe and enjoyable for all. This is going to be a multi-part series over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes out for these posts!
Firstly, we all know how changeable the weather can be here in WNY, with the memories of the 2006 October Storm and last year’s November Snowpocalypse still fresh in everyone’s minds. Look up the weather forecast before you head out on the trail and dress appropriately. If it’s going to be cold, dress in layers appropriate to the activity. If you’re riding out to hunt, you’re not going to be generating much body heat and need more layers to insulate against losing your body heat. If you are riding out to go hiking, you’ll likely need to take some of the layers off so you don’t get over heated. Keep a bag or backpack handy to put the layers in after removal. Regardless of your activity, gloves, thick socks, and a hat are important. Now, you should be wearing a helmet but we’ll get to that later. If you still find your fingers and toes getting chilly, most places have those one-time use warmer packs by the check-out stand.
On the flip side, if it’s going to be warm and sunny, make sure you wear sunscreen, drink some water, wear loose-fitting and breathable clothing, and be aware of the signs of heat stroke and exhaustion. If you or your ride partners start feeling any of these symptoms, get in the shade immediately and get some water in you. If someone passes out, use your cell phone to call for emergency help – either the park staff or 911. Just like with hypothermia, speed is of the essence.