Despite the darker evenings and mornings, Autumn is a great time of year to commute to work. These autumn cycling tips will get you on the road and keep you rolling right the way through.
Set your bike up for autumn, find the right autumn cycling gear, and you’ll have many bright autumn mornings and golden evenings on your cycle commute. Changeable weather? No problem!
1. Check your bike
If your bike hasn’t had a service in a while, then it’s worth sending it in for one at your local bike shop. They’ll give the moving parts a thorough check and a clean.
You can also do a few repairs yourself, if you know the bike is in good working order. Give it a clean, particularly the chain and gears, and you might want to start using a wet chain oil as it works better in wet weather.
2. Check your brakes
Whether you ride a bike with rim brakes or disc brakes, make sure your brakes are working smoothly and there is plenty of life left in the brake pads. You might need to replace them, which is easy to do – check out our step by step How to Change Brake Pads video.
3. Get your lights out
Over the long summer days it’s easy to forget about lights, but the dark evenings and mornings are sneaking up on us. It’s time to dig those lights out.
Give them a full charge or replace the batteries if you haven’t used them for a few months to make sure they are working properly. You don’t want to go to use them to find out they’re broken or dead.
Even if you don’t think you’ll be home late, it’s worth popping a set of back up lights in your bag for just-in-case moments, like if you end up working late or meeting a friend in the evening.
We’d also suggest lighting up even if you are cycling in the daytime if the conditions are bad. Autumnal rain, mist and fog make it hard for road users to see each other, so having a bright, flashing light front and back will help with this.
4. Layer Up – Autumn Cycling Gear
Autumn weather can be hard to dress for. It can be bright and cold, warm and wet, and everything in between, often in just one day. Adaptable autumn cycling gear is best.
The best autumn cycling clothing options are garments you can layer, and versatile pieces of kit. Things like merino base layers and tops and waterproof shell jackets are great options. Have a look at our Best Commuter Jackets guide for some inspiration.
Check out our Autumn Cycling Gear for Commuters for some great suggestions on what to wear.
5. Break out the yellow – time to Hi-Viz!
Duller days, darker mornings and earlier evenings creep up quickly, and it’s surprising just how easily a cyclist blends into the background on an urban street.
Hi-viz and reflectives can also help a lot, as you’ll be that bit more eye catching in the gloom. A lot of jackets aimed at commuters will have hi-viz options and plenty of reflective detailing. There are also many Hi-Viz Helmets on the market. If you wear a rucksack, reflective and high-viz covers are ideal; easy to pop on, really bright, and often waterproof to boot, plus you can just stow it in the bag the rest of the time.
6. Put on Mudguards!
If you don’t have mudguards on your bike, now is most definitely the time to fit them on.There is nothing worse than going through a puddle and feeling the back wheel spray dirty road water up your back. It’s not pleasant!
You’ll need to check that your bike has the right bolt holes to attach them if you want ones that give you lots of coverage (check out our What to Look For When Buying Mudguards article for details on this) but you can also get simple ones that clamp on to the seat post.
7. Keep your stuff dry
You want to avoid turning up at work only to find your rucksack or pannier bag have let the water in, and your work clothes, notes or laptop are damp. Nightmare!
Avoid this by popping on a waterproof cover. There are loads available from a huge ranges of brands, and they also often come in hi-viz colours and with reflective details.
You can also look at getting a waterproof rucksack or pannier bag, like the Waterproof Aquapack Wet and Dry Rucksack for example. More worried about keeping yourself dry? Have a look at these Women’s Waterproof Commuter Cycling Gear.
8. Be prepared
Even with all the preparations above, every so often you’re going to get caught out by the weather. If you can, have a spare set of clothes at work so if you do get soaked, you have something dry to get changed into.
If you are lucky enough to have showers at work – and there’s nothing like a hot shower after a cold ride – make sure you have a good supply of shower gel and shampoo, plus the usual toiletries and cosmetics. Travel sizes are perfect for this as you can have a little stash that doesn’t take up much room.
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