It’s been a little while since I put pen to paper which is another way of saying ‘sorry folks life has been manic”. Manic is obviously good. Manic means we’re doing the really important stuff of helping more and more of you cycle with ease while constantly exploring new opportunities and fresh partnerships. In the midst of the busyness there’s been lots of change, not least amongst this change has been the fairly dramatic drop in temperature. While August and September were neither the hottest nor the driest summer’s on record they were at least routinely in double figures as the 7am commute began. Oh how things have changed!
So here’s a quick guide to not only surviving the autumn dip but actually thriving in its presence.
1: Layer up. Autumn is all about layering your clothes. Resisting the urge to throw on your down jacket and instead taking time for a few lighter layers on on top of the other. You’ll have heard me rant about the benefits of Merino wool on many occasions but those benefits are no where more evident than in the crisp autumn mornings. I take it as a rule of thumb that if I’m slightly uncomfortable (too cold) standing still then my clothing is probably just right for the autumn commute.
2: Be seen. We’re well past the autumn equinox and the days are certainly feeling much, much shorter. My guess is that many of you are already riding to and from work in the dark. If you aren’t you soon will be. Your choice of lights is endless so to make it a little easier we’ve slashed the price of both the Urban 800 and the Cateye Rapid X2. We think the Urban 800 is just about the best front light out there; a whopping 800 lumens of light, side indicators, drop proof and fully water proof (the list could go on and on). The Cateye Rapid X2 is just the best rear light there is and remember 40% of collisions come from behind.
3: Resist your enemy. Be it a broken beer bottle, a sharp concer shell or any other form of road debris the experience of our pod is that at this time of year the rate of punctures goes through the roof. Be kind to yourself and invest in some puncture resistant tyres (eg: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 700 x 35c £35 fitted with a FREE inner tube). Yes they are heavier than less protective tyres but lets be honest, most of us could do with loosing a few pounds in other areas before we loose sleep over our tyres.
3.5 Master your road position. At this time of year the gutter of every road is soon to be filled with wet, slippery, rotting leaves; a good reminder that you should never be riding in the gutter. Always remember that if the driver behind you doesn't have to think to pass you they almost certainly wont at which point you've just created a hazard.
4: Love your extremities. If, like me, you suffer from poor circulation you may already be feeling the pain of the morning cold surrounding your finger tips. A good pair of gloves and a nice pair of merino socks will make a disproportionate benefit to your over all comfort.
5: Keep the shades handy. You’ve almost certainly already noticed that the sun is much much lower in the sky than it wss just a few months back. This means that while you might be leaving home in the dark it’s also a good idea to keep those summer shades nice and handy. Remember that for many other road users the low sun is often experienced as near blinding. It’s a wise move to assume that the brighter the sun ahead of you the less visible you are to the cars behind you.
I began this list stating that I was less interested in surviving and more interested in thriving. So here’s five reasons to really get out their and enjoy more autumn cycling.
1: It's actually very comfortable. While the temperature has dropped the plus side of that means that once your core warms up you’ll find it much easier to maintain a ‘reasonable’ temperature. No longer will every short commute result in sweat dripping from your forehead.
2: There's less rain than you think. According to those clever people at the met office some of our driest weeks occur in the autumn months.
3: Because it's great for the mind. Autumn is full of both stunning sunrise and moody sunsets so get out their and enjoy them both. Enjoying such wonders offers a huge boost to your mental health and gives you much needed time for reflection, contemplation and even a little dreaming (obviously with eyes firmly open!!)
4: Fighting the flu just got easier. Keep cycling and you’re keeping healthy building a strong immune system and thus boosting your ability to fight off all of those gremlins otherwise thriving on the return of central heating.
5: It’ll make the winter a lot lot easier. Sure enough autumn will turn to winter and golden leaves may well be replaced with snow. Keeping your normal fitness levels up gives you the best possible chance to keep riding through whatever the winter may hold in store.
Where ever you ride have a wonderful, wonderful ride.