I do love summer riding. Whether I’m commuting, on the open roads at the weekend, or riding forest trails – travelling light in shorts and a jersey with the warm breeze whistling by is a treat to behold. But Autumn riding is right up there for different reasons. The temptations and challenges are greater, but then so are the rewards. Here’s some reasons why I love Autumn riding.
I ride more.
Everyone gets very social in summer – especially in London where I lived before the return up north. You’ve got BBQs here, weddings there and holidays or adventures in between. This is all good, but for me it stops me getting out as much. In Autumn, the invites usually slow and I have more free time to ride.
I ride harder (sometimes).
When the weather gets nippy and gloomy, riding harder and not stopping is usually the only way to stay warm and comfortable (except for finding a warm pub with a fire but that’s dangerous). The convenient side-effect of this is that I get to where I’m going quicker, or push myself harder if I’m on a training ride.
For me, any type of riding is time to myself – time to think and switch off. If there’s loads of other folk to look out for, your headspace gets squished. In Autumn, you get the advantage of the quieter roads, paths and trails. This will be most noticeable if you live in or around a major city. My local park is Sefton Park in Liverpool, which I ride through most days. It’s most beautiful riding through in Autumn – and you easily forget you’re close to a major city.
The sights, sounds and smells.
Autumn is a feast for your senses. The awesome colours around you, the sound of your wheels on crispy leaves, and the smell of a fire riding past country houses. They always get me excited for Christmas time back in The Lakes with my family – the open fire and winter walks in the Fells.
The satisfaction of beating the weather.
When I’ve got the heating on full tilt and it’s looking gloomy outside – I can be guilty of looking out of the window and ditching my ride plans. And when it comes to commuting, it’s easy to fall into the ‘I’ll ride tomorrow’ trap.
The most frustrating thing is that I know fine well that some of the best riding has been after I’ve beaten those thoughts away, put on the right gear, and got out there. When’s the last time you regretted riding? Exactly.
When I get it right (and sometimes more so when I get it a little wrong), the warm feeling when I get back to a heated house is the reward.
When I arrive back from my 22 mile commute, I get changed into some warm clothes and have a smug evening. If it’s been a long day on the saddle, a steamy bath with a cuppa and some snacks is usually in order.
Team Bikmo – Autumn kit essentials
I asked around the Bikmo office what bits of kit they really depend on at this time of the year:
- Defeet reflective clothing – this clothing can give you more visibility than lights in certain light.
- Helmet liner or Buff – simple and cheap, keeps the cold off and absorbs sweat and rain.
- Oakley photochromic lenses – Autumn is unpredictable so these lenses are great for changing light conditions.
- Gore wear windproof gloves – perfect for keeping the chill off on the colder days, but also not overheating.
- Montane Featherlite Velo jacket – packs up teenie weenie and keeps the cold air off without sweating too much.
- Alpkit Gravitas Jacket – deals with more serious rain but still packs down small.
Finally, it goes without saying that you’ll need a decent lock for when you’re locking your bike on those dark days. Our friends at Hiplok can help with that. And of course, good quality cycle insurance should be on everyone’s kit list all year round. Those Autumn spills are unavoidable sometimes!
Get easy, simple, brilliant cover this Autumn with Bikmo at bikmo.com