Cycling in the Autumn

If you live here in southern England, you might have noticed the leaves are just starting to hint at the approaching autumn.  On the right day, cycling in the autumn is fantastic.  Those cooler days, with soft mellow colours and dreamy mists are lovely.  Sometimes we get crisp frosty mornings or dark stormy days – quite a variety as the cosiness of winter approaches.  No matter what kind of weather, there are plenty of good reasons to plan a whole day’s ride in the countryside.

Clothing

With such a range in temperature it is sometimes hard to know what to take; often no two days are alike.  With cold nights I find I’m wearing gloves in the early mornings but there’s no need to keep them on after, say, 9.00am.  The normal approach with layering is a good plan, perhaps just two or three layers at the most is required.  If you’re riding fast in a sheltered area, a single jersey is probably all you need well into early October.  Naturally we can have squally wet days, especially with the autumn equinox approaching when rough weather is common, especially near the coast.

Organised events

Buy a copy of Cycling Active and you’ll see a good selection of organised events or Sportives, the http://www.cotswoldautumnclassic.co.uk/ is very tempting with distances ranging from 50 to 160km on Sunday 7th October.  Autumn is also a time of transition from time trials, hill climbs through to training rides, club runs and cyclocross.

Practical things

Apart from clothing, there’s a few other things to take into account as you put your ride together.  The length of day light is getting shorter and shorter each day; sooner or later you’ll be needing your bike lights.  Make sure you’ve got a working set on your bike – it might be several months since they were last used so probably worth checking them.  Don’t wait until it’s dark before you turn them on, especially the rear light.  Having said that, don’t put your sunglasses away just yet.

Take your camera!  Landscape photography is often nicer with soft hazy light, rather than the harshness of the summer sun.  Those woodland colours are fantastic.

Some hedge cutting might be going on.  If that is the case, the chance of getting a puncture rises.

Remember the clocks change in the last weekend in October, here in the UK (“fall back, spring forward”) so that means you have an extra hour on the last Sunday in October.

Fitness

Chances are you’re still in good shape from clocking up plenty of miles during the summer.  Keeping up a few longer rides in the autumn will pay off as you retain that fitness into the winter and into the next year.  No need to train too hard unless you have a race coming up; just enjoy your existing fitness.  With daylight being on BST until the last weekend in October, you can enjoy plenty of opportunities, hopefully.

Bike shops

Autumn is often the time when the current year’s remaining stock is sold off (Sale time?) ahead of next year’s models coming along.  Could be a few bargains around with bikes and also with clothing as shops will be getting rid of their short sleeve jersey collection and other light weight summer wear.

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