Here in the northeast the mornings are starting to get frosty but the days are still comfortable, the foliage is beautiful and there is plenty of great riding to do. If the climate is getting cooler where you live, don’t let the temperatures keep you from enjoying your bike as late into the season as possible. So put your folding bike in the trunk, go find a scenic road or trail and enjoy your ride.
Here are a few tips to help extend your riding season.
A good general rule is to dress as though it is 10 degrees warmer than it actually is. The first 10 – 15 minutes may feel a little cool but once your heart rate elevates and your body starts to warm up you’ll soon be comfortable.
It’s not uncommon this time of here in some climates for the temperatures to be in the 30’s Fahrenheit in the morning and around 70 in the afternoon. The air temperatures can warm up very quickly and require different clothing so you should plan accordingly by dressing in layers. Stay away from cotton and instead look for technical clothing that wick perspiration away from your skin.
Focus on the extremities
Your legs will warm up quickly as they propel you along your ride. Your extremities on the other hand move very little and you can ride longer and much more comfortably by keeping them warm. Good quality gloves, toe warmers/booties and a hat that fits under your helmet will serve you well.
Don’t forget to hydrate
When the temperature is cooler you may not feel like you need to hydrate. However, you are still burning calories and perspiring so keep sipping on that water bottle and taking in calories, especially on your longer rides. A good practice is to take sip from your water bottle every 20 minutes.
Mind the roads
The beautiful colors on those leaves are a pre-cursor to them falling off the tree and lining the roads. Dry and especially wet leaves can mean trouble for the cyclist not paying attention. Be extra careful when riding over a section of road covered with leaves.
Fall days brings shorter days but this doesn’t mean your rides have to get shorter. Make sure you can be seen by putting a headlight on the front of your bike, a light on the rear of your bike (there are several models that can be installed on your seat post) and wear reflective clothing.
Maintain your equipment
Sometimes we need to deal with an early snowfall but then can enjoy some late fall or early winter riding. If you decide to ride after the first snowfall, make sure you are cleaning your bike after each ride. The salt and sand can quickly shorten the life of your drivetrain if not properly maintained.
What other fall and winter riding tips do you have to share? Let us know if the comments below.
Ride Safe (and warm).