Autumn weather swings wildly from frosty, damp mornings to warm, sunny afternoons. As a cyclist, you need to be ready for anything the day may serve up. You step outside in the early morning and feel the chill, but by afternoon it could be 20+. Showers and breezes can roll through unexpectedly and linger. For those of us on the west coast fall will surely spell wetter conditions. With just a little preparation you can enjoy your ride. Here are a few tips to help you with your summer to fall transitioning while keeping you dry and safe.

Clothing

Remember to dress in layers. The last thing you put on will be the first thing you take off. Start off with a thermal, mesh undershirt and a short sleeved T-shirt. Finish off with a lightweight, rainproof windbreaker. If it’s cold enough to think you need a cap, take one.  Many helmets are made to accommodate caps. Cover your hands with gloves.  As for feet, it’s time to put on those wool socks.

You always want to wear breathable fabrics to avoid trapping moisture.  Breathable fabrics keep the moisture away from your skin and keep you more comfortable. Avoid cotton as it gets heavy when wet.

Useful Accessories

Mudguards will stop water from splashing up your face, flying up your front and back and just plain soaking you minutes into your ride.  Rear mudguards will be appreciated by the cyclist travelling behind you.

Glasses will protect you from flying water. If you find glasses aren’t for you, a helmet with a visor could be just what you need.

Make sure your panniers and bags are waterproof. No sense packing clothing and accessories just to find them soaked when you need them.

Keep Your Bike Clean

A lot of dirt and debris is found near curbs this time of year. Clean your chain often and keep your bike as clean as possible. This will not only keep you clean but you won’t have to take your bike to the repair shop so often.

Drop Your Tire Pressure

Dropping your tire pressure slightly will give you a better grip on the road and help prevent those unwelcome skids.

Use Common Sense

Shorter days can mean less visibility. Make sure your lights are working and have your reflective gear on.

Remember that drivers may have a hard time seeing out their side mirrors with any extra moisture in the air, so be extra careful and cycle defensively.

Lastly, control your speed. You want to avoid sudden, hard braking so that you don’t skid.  Always apply your brakes slowly and evenly.

Russ Hayes carries an array of clothing and accessories to make your Fall cycling comfortable and safe. Come into either our Victoria or Sydney locations and we’ll help you select items to suit your bike and riding style. Check out our online store.