Autumn is one of our favourite times of year to cycle to work, but it brings its own challenges. The weather can go from warm and dry through foggy and into wet and gloomy, often in the space of one afternoon. Having the right autumn cycling gear will keep you comfortable and protected, so you can keep commuting to work by bike through the coming months.
Because the conditions can change quickly, and it's still relatively warm, you want to go for versatile kit, and layers.
Also have a read of our Commuter Checklist: Autumn Cycling Tips for more helpful info, and to find out how to get your bike autumn-ready!
1. Keep the rain and wind off - Autumn Cycling Jackets for Commuters
The temperatures in autumn are usually pretty mild, but it's also the time for rain showers. Jackets that are breathable, lightweight, and ideally pack small so you can pop them in a bag when you aren't using are is ideal. Waterproof shell jackets are perfect for this.
With the weather getting gloomier and the evenings and morning drawing in, you may also want to go for a bright hi-viz option that includes some reflective elements.
Another option are convertible jackets. These will usually have detachable sleeves, so you can use them as full jackets when it's raining, or without sleeves as a warming gillet when it's bright but cold.
2. Dry feet = happy cyclist! Autumn Cycling Footwear
If you use cycle shoes, and you want to keep your feet dry, then a pair of waterproof overshoes is just the ticket. These are either zip on, or pull on, and often made of neoprene so they keep your feet insulated too. Sealskinz also do waterproof oversocks, which are easy to use.
Don't use cycle shoes? If you want to avoid wet feet there are still plenty of options. Some waterproof overshoes, like the Altura Night Vision City overshoes, are large enough to fit over most types of footwear.
Waterproof cycling socks are another option. Set aside a pair of shoes you don't mind getting wet and dirty, use them as your commuting shoes, and pop on a pair of Sealskinz socks for dry warm feet to and from work.
3. Layer up - Autumn Cycling Jerseys, Tops and Base Layers
There's beginning to be a definite nip in the morning air, but in autumn the temperature can still get quite high. The key to not freezing or overheating is wearing light, breathable layers.
A short sleeved merino top, which will resist odor, is ideal as your main layer. They're usually smart enough to wear to work too. Alternatively, choose a short sleeved base layer under a light long-sleeved jersey or a jacket.
4. Keep the Chill from your Fingers - Autumn Cycling Gloves for Commuters
Autumn cycling gloves need to be able to keep the chill off in the morning and evening, resist some light rain, but not get too toasty when the sun comes out. Opt for full finger gloves for protection from the elements.
Wind resistant gloves, which also usually have a water resistant coating too, are a good investment for the autumn cycle commuter wardrobe.
Again, you might want to go for some hi-viz gloves with reflective elements, which will help you get seen while signalling.
5. Keep your legs warm - Autumn Cycling Tights and Trousers
With more and more ranges coming out to suit commuters who don't want to wear lycra, you'll find there's more choice out there if you want cycling trousers. These have a casual style that will work in the office, but are designed for cycling in, with features like stretch fabric, a higher back, or reflective detailing.
Lycra is still a comfy option, and if you don't feel the chill too much then 3/4 length cycling tights are the ideal autumn cycling choice. They'll keep your knees toasty which helps prevent injury, but the shorter length will help you stay cool as you warm up.
If you feel the cold or want something that will work in winter too, then tights or bib-tights are the way to go. The Altura Night Vision tights have large reflective patches that reflect super brightly under car and street lights. Bib tights are brilliant for keeping your lower back covered.
It's hard to find women's specific waterproof tights and trousers. Madison, Gore, Altura and Enduro all do women's specific waterproof trousers that you can pop over your own clothing to keep you dry as you ride.
6. Autumn Commuter Cycling Accessories
You can top up your protection from the elements with various accessories. Neck scarfs or buffs are perfect for keeping the draft off your neck in the mornings. Arm warmers, a favorite autumn staple of road cyclists, can be worn with short sleeved jerseys and pulled off easily when you warm up. If you suffer from cold ears, a windproof headband will sort you out.
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