As the temperature begins to drop and the leaves begin to change, it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy many cool, relaxing fall rides. However, as we say goodbye to the summer heat, it’s important to prepare for shorter days and cooler winds to ensure that your autumn cycling adventures are safe and comfortable. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind as you plan your next fall ride.
USE LIGHTS - DAY AND NIGHT
The sun sets progressively earlier each day as winter approaches, and it’s extremely important (both for safety and legal reasons) that you use front and rear lights whenever you ride. A bright white front light will help you see between dusk and dawn, and a flashing red rear light will help you be seen.
Surprisingly, the majority of cycling accidents happen during the day, so I highly recommend using lights when riding in daylight as well. Some lights offer a daylight flashing mode, but any light that draws attention to you will increase the likelihood that motorists and other cyclists are aware of your presence.
Again, the key to staying safe is being seen. Lights are imperative, but you can greatly increase your visibility by wearing reflective clothing, using a bag with reflective piping, adding reflective tape to your bike, or any other creative solutions that you can find. It’s easy to add reflective gear to your riding routine, and it’s worth the investment to make sure that drivers can easily see you as they approach.
If you’re heading out early or staying out late, you need to prepare for changing temperatures in addition to changing light levels. Maintaining a comfortable core temperature and keeping your digits warm and protected are both critical factors in remaining comfortable, alert, and in control while you ride. There are a lot of very cool accessories that make regulating your temperature simple - visit your local bike shop to learn more about arm, knee and leg warmers, packable jackets, gloves, toe covers, and more.
DON'T FORGET THE SUNSCREEN
The pavement may not be hot enough to fry an egg in October, but the sun still shines its UV rays down on you as you pedal, even when it is cooler or overcast outside. If you ride daily or spend long hours on your bike, make sure that you’re protecting yourself from the sun, despite the fact that the weather feels cool, crisp, and perfect for fall riding.
Keep these tips in mind on every ride, and get out there and enjoy a full season of spectacular fall riding!