Some perceive autumn as a reason to go into sports hibernation until next year: sneakers on the shelf, bicycle on the loggia. However, until the harsh and cold winter has arrived, this time can be spent with benefit, winding kilometers on the highway and in the park, enjoying the views of the autumn forest. The main thing is to take into account the features of autumn rides and dress according to the weather.
Features of cycling in autumn
The first thing to pay attention to is the variability of weather conditions. In summer, we get used to sunny warm days, but autumn is a time of rain, wind and cold. This shouldn’t stop you, but we recommend checking the weather reports before your trip so that a sudden downpour or the first snow doesn’t catch you off guard halfway through.
You should also consider possible “departure routes” – public transport routes and train schedules (if you prefer to travel outside the city).
2. Short daylight hours
In autumn, the dawn is later and it gets dark earlier, so be sure to get a front light and a rear reflector. If you ride late at night, clothing with reflective elements or a special vest will not hurt either. Safety above all!
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Follow the principle of gradualness. Start with a good warm-up at home to warm up your joints and muscles. If you get on a bike in the fall, you should not ride right away. Start with small rotations, roll out, and when you feel that the muscles are in tone, go to the next gear.
4. Bicycle maintenance
Autumn rains and dirt on the roads will require more frequent maintenance of the chain – cleaning and lubrication. You may not pay attention to this, but the crunch of each revolution of the pedals will sooner or later make you content with a pit stop.
Due to moisture, dirt, and leaves, traction deteriorates, so you should think about more aggressive tires. Wings that will protect you from dirt and splashes will not be superfluous.
In the summer, many go on vacation, parents send their children to their grandmothers, someone moves to the country to work remotely. Roads and highways are unloaded, so you can safely arrange group runs.
In September, schoolchildren and students return to their studies, and the traffic increases many times. Therefore, when riding a bicycle in autumn, be careful on the roads, especially in the morning and evening hours, when there are many cars on the road.
Clothes for autumn cycling
Due to the low temperatures, the wind, which pleasantly blew and cooled in the summer, will cause significant discomfort in the fall, so first of all, you should think about ill-conceived clothes. It is also necessary to take into account the variability of weather conditions: it is advisable to take a change of clothes with you during long trips.
1. Base layer
It can get really cold early in the morning or late at night, so consider thermal underwear as a base layer. There are different models designed for a wide range of temperatures.
In any case, try to dress not too warmly, because during skating the body will warm up. It’s better to go out feeling a little cold than to fall asleep 5 minutes into your ride.
Avoid cotton t-shirts as a base layer. Cotton absorbs sweat and leads to overcooling of the body, which is especially risky when cycling in autumn.
2. Intermediate layer
A mid layer is essential to keep warm in cold weather. If it’s warm outside, you can do without a cycling jersey. If the temperature drops below +10 °, you should put on a jumper, fleece or hoodie over the base layer.
In cold but dry weather, a membrane jacket or clothing made of softshell fabric (outside – windproof, inside – with a soft lining) is suitable. Such a top breathes, thanks to which you will not sweat.
If it’s raining and windy outside, it’s better to wear a waterproof jacket to keep the inner layer dry.
If you are planning a long trip with stops, you can take a down vest with you. It will keep warm during rest.
Since no fenders guarantee complete protection from dirt and moisture on the road, you should consider buying waterproof pants. If it is expected to be cold, then you can hook up a thermal underwear bottom under them. When buying, make sure that the pants have a narrow cut – you don’t want the pants to wind up on the chain.
If you are really sure that the weather will be dry, you can wear tights (tight-fitting pants made of elastic fabric). They have a narrowed cut, provide good air circulation, and in case of getting moisture from under the wheels, they will dry quickly enough right on you.
When cycling in autumn, it is very important to keep your feet warm and dry. If rain is not expected, then the usual sneakers in which you ride in the summer will do. But if, according to the forecast, there is a high probability of precipitation and wind, it is better to get shoes suitable for the autumn-winter period.
If you have contact pedals, you should consider buying cycling shoes with a membrane. It is a breathable and at the same time waterproof material that will protect your feet from splashes and water.
If you have classic pedals, then in cold and dry weather you can just wear warm socks. In rainy and humid conditions, it is better to stop the choice on sneakers with a membrane. Also pay attention to the sole. For better contact with the pedals and safe movement on foot (especially outside the city), the tread should have an aggressive pattern.
When riding a bicycle in autumn, it is better to close your ears, especially in light and rainy weather. A thin cap or Buff will help you with this. If it’s dry and quiet outside, you can do without a helmet.
While driving, the fingers remain motionless for a significant part of the time, and they take on all the headwind. Be sure to get some warm cycling gloves for the fall.
For rainy weather, there are also membrane solutions. Some manufacturers produce models with a coating that allows you to work with a mobile phone without removing gloves, which is especially important in light weather.
In autumn, due to the cold, wind and rain, the eyes can also feel discomfort, so it is recommended to buy cycling glasses to protect them. There are models with interchangeable lenses so that you can choose the best option for the current conditions – sun, fog, dark, rain.
Autumn is no reason to hide your bike until the next season. Beautiful landscapes with fallen leaves, strolls in parks and suburbs can bring even more pleasure than in summer. The main thing is to follow the rainfall forecast and dress for the weather.
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A guide to cycling clothing. What to buy a beginner? How to dress in autumn? Do you really need special shorts with a “diaper”?
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