Cycling is a great release in these uncertain times. Yet with the arrival of the colder months, we face the prospect of forcing our bikes into hibernation, deterred by the worst extremes of the British weather.
Whilst Autumn cycling comes with its own set of challenges, if you’re prepared, getting out and riding can be just as fun as it was a few months ago!
Take a look at our following tips and prepare yourself for the ultimate autumn cycling experience!
Pick the right tyres!
Look at all the leaves! Pretty, isn’t it? As well as enjoying all the colours of autumn, you should be keeping an eye on what you’re riding over! Leaves on the road can be slippery, and so can drain covers and painted lines when they’re wet. Avoid them if you can, and if you can’t, be very careful and try not to be steering or braking as you go over them.
Gloomier skies also make potholes harder to see and rain washes debris onto the roads. A puncture waiting to happen!
Investing in a set of wider winter tyres with better tread is the best solution to these problems. Not only will they offer better grip, but many are also designed to be more puncture resistant. They will slow you down slightly, but for those not racing, it is a small and worthy price to pay. After all, no one wants to be changing a puncture on the side of the road with cold hands.
Make sure to check what size tyre your bike can accommodate, as a rubbing tyre can cause damage to your frame.
Need more help picking the right tyre? Head over to our tyre advice guide for all the help you’ll need.
The days are getting a bit shorter! With that comes the chance of riding in low light or the dark. You might also find yourself out in foggy conditions or (heaven forbid) in the rain!
Make sure you’re visible by choosing the right lights and reflectors. Consider the brightness (lumens) and water resistance of any lights, as these are the most important factors. If you cycle daily, a light that is USB chargeable is a good option, as you can easily plug it into a computer whilst at work. You don’t want the batteries to die halfway through your commute home!
Here at Halfords we also believe more is better, so don’t limit yourself there. Pick fluorescent clothing, a helmet light and attach a light to your bag. Light yourself up like a Christmas tree. You’ll certainly stand out, but that’s the point, right?
Get more inspiration from our guide to making yourself seen and be enlightened!
As well as making you visible, your clothing should keep you warm! In the Autumn, the weather can vary drastically, and you won’t be surprised to hear that there’s the odd downpour.
Look out for clothes that are adaptable or that you can take off part way through a ride. Arm warmers and base layers are a good option. A lightweight jacket or gilet will also protect you from the elements, but can easily be removed. That way, you can quickly take off or put on clothing and stay comfortable.
And if you do intend on riding in the rain, don’t forget a pair of overshoes. No-one likes cycling with wet feet!
Before each ride, check the forecast. If you’re uncertain, always wear too much. It is better to be too warm than too cold, especially in the Autumn months. Give it a couple of rides and you’ll soon know what clothing works best for you!
Autumn and winter months are the most demanding on your bike. Dirt and grit gets everywhere, no matter how hard you try to prevent it!
It is important to regularly clean and inspect your bike for signs of wear. If you look after your bike, it will look after you. Keep on top of maintenance and cleaning and you’ll catch any problems before your ride. Not sure what to look for? Follow our advice video on how to service your bike.
If you don’t fancy doing it yourself, why not give it to us instead? We offer a range of bike servicing and repairs. We also offer a free bike health assessment before any service or repair, so we can make sure we give your bike the most suitable service.
Stay Hydrated and keep eating!
It’s easy to forget when you’re speeding along in chilly temperatures that you still need to drink regularly or replenish your energy levels with food.
Despite the apparent absence of thirst, it is important to replenish the salt and fluids that you will inevitably lose on your ride. You can become dehydrated whatever the weather! If you struggle with drinking on a cold ride, you can add electrolyte supplements to your drinks, which will add an extra hydration aid.
Eating is equally as important. Cycling can feel less draining when not getting baked by the sun, but your energy levels are still burning away. Take plenty of food with you and continue to eat at regular intervals. For that added energy boost, you can also try energy bars and gels.
Remember, the less energy you have, the colder you will feel!
So there you have it – 5 tips for autumn cyclists! Dress right, ride carefully and take care of your bike and brush those autumn cobwebs away. And if you’re looking for some cycling route inspiration for the autumn months, try our discovery hub which has route suggestions for all difficulties.
You can get everything you need to tackle an autumn of cycling by visiting Halfords.com. We’d also love to see your cycling adventures, so share any of your epic experiences with us using #ReadyFor on Instagram and Twitter @Halfords_UK.
Halfords is here to get you where you want to be.