As the cold and yet colorfully beautiful autumn season is approaching it’s time to prepare yourself for windy, wet and muddy weather.
And of course, the mornings are a bit darker, rain may be more regular, but autumn is the best time to go on long rides, since it’s not so hot anymore, as well as it’s the greatest moment to enjoy all the sceneries and breathtaking nature views.
With the right gear, you’ll be able to avoid any obstacles and get a smug sense of satisfaction. Let’s not forget how good that hot post-ride shower feels too.
To make the most of your autumn season, we have gathered some useful tips that will help you enjoy the ride a lot more!
Firstly, let’s start with the obvious - it’s getting dark a lot sooner, so check what time does the sunset take place, to ensure you get home before the pitch black darkness, but if you don’t mind the darkness, make sure you have a bicycle light and a lot of reflective elements all over yourself and your bicycle!
Less obvious and yet well-known obstacle is the leaves. Autumn is certainly one of the most spectacular seasons for our bike rides, but we must be mindful of road conditions: the orange foliage of the trees looks very attractive in the pictures, but when the leaves fall onto the asphalt, they make for a dangerous slippery cover. Be extra careful when riding over leaves, especially when making turns.
One more thing to stay safe - if you don’t know the road, don’t ride through the puddles. They might be deeper than you think and, if that’s the case, prepare to fly over the handlebars or take a heavy hit. Let’s avoid that, shall we?
As we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to layers. Layers of clothing, especially windproof and waterproof layers, as the temperature and weather is unpredictable in autumn!
One of the best ones we’d suggest would be Rapha Pro Team Lightweight Gore-Tex Jacket or, from the budget class, we’d suggest going for dhb Aeron Tempo Waterproof 2 Jacket, but you can check a full list of great waterproof cycling jackets here.
If you’re up for it, you can try using a cycling cape. It's a great way to cover the entire seat and protect your legs and even your backpack from getting soaked in the rain. If a regular oncho would leave your hands in rain, then a cycling cape covers your arms as well. Another great bonus is the breathability of a cape, it won’t keep the body heat inside, instead it will allow the air flow easily.
One more thing - it’s easy to get it on and off.
And capes are finally becoming more stylish and attractive, here are some good looking affordable capes.
Speaking of getting soaked in the rain, don’t forget to wear waterproof shoes or take one extra pair of dry socks, as keeping your feet in wet shoes for a long time can be very harmful.
And as the winds are colder and a bit more harsh, use gloves, as your hands will be constantly holding the handlebars, they will be the first ones to remind you about season change. Leather gloves like the N. Bidlake Snap Back Ropers are a great, stylish option for dry, cold days, as is anything merino wool. Quick-drying neoprene gloves such as the Giro Neo Blaze keep your hands toasty warm in wet weather, then dry off while you’re in your morning meeting.
And just like we do it for cars, it’s suggested that you consider changing the tyres on your beloved bike with some all-round rubber; the improved grip on slippery surfaces and a more puncture-resistant nature will secure your road-bike rides against unexpected troubles.
And autumn rain and muddy roads require you to take extra care of your bicycle. It is the best way to reduce the chance of mechanical issues during your autumn rides. Checking and cleaning brakes, gears and moving parts makes for a good routine to be sure everything is in order and ready for your next ride. By spending a few minutes cleaning and lubricating your chain, you will increase the lifespan of cassette, chain rings and of the chain itself; gear shifting will be quieter and smoother too.
If you’re riding through the rain and your bike uses rim brakes (brakes that rub against the rim to stop you) you’ve probably experienced a worrying moment where you can’t stop fast enough no matter how hard you squeeze the brake lever. The best way to overcome this is by continually feathering the brakes on and off until you feel them begin to grip. By feathering the brakes you help remove the water and dirt that keeps the brake pads from effectively gripping to the rim. You’ll be surprised at how well this works!
If you’re an urban cyclist like most of us, and keep your bicycle inside the house or an apartment, autumn is the right season to test how useful our Velosock bike covers are! Muddy tire marks and dirty rain drops dripping of the floor is a real struggle and mess, so put your bike inside a cover that will still allow it to dry off, but will keep the mess inside the cover.
One last thing about rain - consider wearing glasses to avoid rain getting in your eyes, but if you mind seeing raindrops on your lenses, try wearing a cycling cap (we make them too, by the way) or good old baseball hat. There's also an option with a helmet that has a visor to keep the rain away from your eyes.
We hope these tips will help you to get the most of your cycling. Autumn is a great season for cycling, traveling on a bike and enjoying average temperatures and warm breezes around, it will also give you an extended summer feeling and improve your immune system before the winter, so this blog is a sign for you to get on your bike now and start preparing for the upcoming autumn season!