5 Tips for Cycling in the Autumn
Now that the days are getting shorter and the mercury is dropping we need to keep an eye on the forecast and plan ahead to stay warm and safe this autumn. Cycling through the seasons is fun and will keep you fit and happy throughout the colder months of the year. Nothing ruins a ride faster than freezing wet feet and cold hands that never come back to temperature. Our 5 tips will help you stay warm and have your best fall cycling adventure yet!
1.) Prepare your bike: The challenges for a bicycle during the fall and winter months are more of the preventative kind. The main goals are to minimize flats, keep the shifting smooth, and keep the rider dry. Start the season off right with installing fenders and bigger tires with a puncture protection system as soon as the weather changes. In the fall, we have times of rain, sun, or snow, and we recommend having a tire that will perform great in all those conditions while helping keep your flat count to a minimum. The fenders will keep your backside dry when you hit unavoidable puddles. As for the chain and gears, keep your bike clean and happy. You can see our tips here on how to clean and lube properly. A clean bike means less broken parts, less chain oil on your pants and more time for fun.
2.) Know the forecast and pack accordingly: We know it sounds trivial and somewhat daft, but yes, the forecast will create your outfit for the ride. Look at the morning and the afternoon temperatures and conditions. If you are a commuter then prepare accordingly as mornings can be freezing but afternoons maybe toasty and warm. During fall on the east coast the weather can change in a drop of a hat. If the forecast calls for rain around your ride time, pack a small rain jacket. This O2 Rain Shield is cost effective and will get you out of a pinch for sure. Opting for some thicker gloves maybe a good option as well. We recommend wearing toe covers under your shoes, and packing booties if the rain is coming. Wind breakers and vests are a great way to stay warm on descents and cold areas while minimizing added bulk to your jersey or bag. The Endura Pak-a-Jak is great for such days
3.) Be visible: The daylight is getting shorter and shorter and a ride a 5:00pm can mean coming home in the dusk and dark, so prepare with the right gear. Wear high-visual gear in the fall and winter months, keep drivers and others aware of your position on the road. A blinking light for the front and rear of the bike is a way to add protection. The Cat-Eye small ribbon lights and the Fiks Reflective wheel and frame for a double dose of reflectivity are great to use!
4.) Keep those digits toasty: Nothing is worse on a ride then cold hands or toes. The happier your extremities the happier the whole body and mind will be. Get yourself a really good, dependable set of water proof or wind proof gloves to start the season off. Pack for the worst and keep some chemical hand warmers in your saddle bag for your toes and hands. The insulation from the gloves and booties will keep the heat trapped inside and you'll be warm for hours to come. We have a wide selection of full finger gloves.
5.) Food and hydration: With all this prep and planning it's easy to forget the simple things: eating and drinking. Gels and protein bars can get cold, tough and even frozen if the weather is bad enough. Pack comfort foods that not only add nutrients to the body but can also add the kick needed to help you finish your ride strong. Try Apple Cinnamon Hot from Scratch Labs for a holiday taste on your ride or our favorite: Nutella and almond butter on a toasted English muffin wrapped in foil. Whatever you like make sure to eat it because your body needs the fuel when it's working hard keeping you warm and crank up those hills.