Fall cycling is the best. There, we said it. Summer is great, sure, and we’ll be the last to complain about having more than nine hours of daylight. But when it comes to quality rides and races, autumn bike riding is the bee’s knees.
Fall offers better temperatures and better views, with changing leaves serving as an artistic background to every ride. It also creates a sense of urgency in every state north of the Mason-Dixie; we might have a few more months of riding before the snow flies, but the days are numbers and every single spin could be the last time we ride a particular route until spring.
The Best Fall Cycling Gear
As you could probably tell, we’re pretty into gear here at up.bike. That also means we love our fall gear and swapping out different tires, lights, and more. Here are a few things we really love:
- Garmin Varia. Available in a number of models these days, the light offers more than just a red blinky to your rides at dawn or dusk. This radar alerts you to on-coming cars with audio cues on your Garmin device, giving you time to move over the 6 inches that could save your life. It also offers car counts, which may help you change your route up a bit to avoid the most trafficked roads. Check with your local bike shop to see if they have a Garmin Varia in stock or even one you can demo.
- Serfas E-Lume 1750. We are not saying no to more lumens. One of the most important improvements to rider safety over the past several years isn’t the introduction of day-time running lights for cyclists, but the affordability. Even the top-of-the-line 1750 is $150; a 1750 lumen light five or six years ago would easily be pushing $400, last half as long and weigh twice as much! You can check out the E-Lume here, and call your local bike shop for availability.
- Sugoi ZAP Knee Warmer. If it’s below 60 degrees, cover your knees. That can be tough when your cycling gear isn’t organized, though. Since you always need one more pair of knee warmers, the ZAP offers a great fit at a good price, and we can say that they last; too. After almost daily use last fall and spring, with plenty of washes, they still look brand new when we pulled them out of the bottom of the bin this past weekend. See if your local shop has these in stock.
Fall Cycling Tips
Use Cycling Lights
Whether riding in the morning or at night, light conditions are as variable as the weather. A bit of rain or an overcast day can make roads especially gray, so go over the top with front and rear lights. Keep your cycling gear organized and consider having two sets of lights and keep rotating to make sure you never forget to charge at least one pair for a ride.
Data shows that using daytime running lights can significantly improve visibility for cyclists. Accidents are 19% less likely for a rider with a light compared to one without. Use one. All the time.
Dress in layers. Check the weather before you head out, then plan on it both ten degrees hotter and ten degrees colder than expected. ‘Tis the season to keep a pair of arm warmers, knee warmers, and a vest in the garage for last-minute wardrobe changes.
Wide Cycling Tires
Swap out your summer racing tires for all-season tires with added flat protection. More rain, sticks, leaves, and debris on the road is a recipe for more flat tires this time of year. Put yourself in a position to make it home with additional flat protection and a robust flat kit, including at least one spare tube (we are known to carry two, just in case) plus a Co2, tire lever, multitool, and a mini pump in case the Co2 doesn’t work.
We also keep a $5 bill in our phone case. If your tire has a serious cut, you can put a folded-up bill over the cut to protect the tube and get home. Why $5 and not $1? Because a good baked good around here is more than $1. It’s that simple.
Phone a Friend
Most GPS devices and phone apps offer some kind of livetracking or safety alert. These are great tools to use year-round, but they are even more important as the weather becomes more unpredictable. Suffering a crash or a flat is one thing, but being stranded in the cold and rain can turn from inconvenient to uncomfortable to unsafe in a hurry. Always keep your phone fully charged, communicate when you’re riding and when you plan to be back, and remind at least one friend to keep their phone on them before you head out the door.
Cycling Gear Organization
Fall cycling is a treat, so make the most of it by squeezing in a few extra miles a week just by getting your cycling gear organized. If we can help get your bikes and geared stored, let us know and we’ll make a custom package just for you and your space!