Many of Britain’s best musicians have sang lyrics about autumn. The Kinks, Van Morrison, Manic Street Preachers and Paolo Nutini to name a few. The themes of their songs are about a change in season from the long evenings of summer to the dark skies and cold winds that are approaching.
The summer months are very popular for cyclists for a number of reasons.
1. Nice weather
2. Long evenings
3. Cycle based sporting events such as Tour de France
4. Fitness motivations ahead of summer holidays
London 2012 had a big impact on Britain’s cycling. David Cameron recently stated that he would like Britain to be more like Germany or the Netherlands where 14% and 33% of trips respectively are made on bicycles. The success of national hero’s Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome is likely to have increased participation in cycling in recent months.
Autumn brings with it vastly different conditions than summer. Below are some of the major differences to be aware of and plan for:
What you should take into account when Cycling in Autumn
Decreasing temperatures can be a put off for cyclists considering there is little in terms of shelter and protection from the cold winds and rain. The cold can hurt the fingers which take the brunt of the cold conditions as they are at the front of the bike. Gloves are a good idea in colder months but it is also worth considering the need for flexibility and agility when riding a bicycle especially a road bike. Light weight wind proof gloves are a good idea and can be found from Wiggle http://www.wiggle.co.uk/cycle/gloves/
Autumn and winter are wetter months than summer so it is worth preparing for the rain. Some riders have an extra bike that is just used for winter training. Lightweight rain jackets and water proofs are useful because they are not very restrictive and easy to carry.
- Wet Leaves
The leaves on the ground can cause a hazard. Wet leaves are very slippery and are easily misjudged. Thin tyres are more susceptible to accidents so it is worth riding a multi terrain bike during the wet season. Slipping on wet leaves can be like driving on ice. It is easy to misjudge and can cause bad accidents. It is always worth slowing down if you are not 100% sure of what is underneath your wheels.
- Lack of light
Shorter evenings and darker nights mean a bicycle beam light is a must have. A beam light literally will light your way. Lights should be fixed to the front and back of your bicycle and a spare set of batteries should be carried if possible. Wheelies have a great selection of Bike lights and can be found here http://www.wheelies.co.uk/
Unfortunately even the most experienced riders can have accidents from time to time. The main focus has to be on your health so if your going down, throw your bike away in an attempt to land safely. Bicycles can be expensive so it is worth looking at Bicycle insurance from Protect Your Bubble which can start from just £2.16 per month. http://uk.protectyourbubble.com/bicycle-insurance/ Not only does this cover damage in the case of an accident but also theft and vandalism. At least you don’t have to worry about your bike if you do have an accident.
Autumn is a beautiful season and there are little better ways of enjoying it than being out on your bike. Exercise and fitness are dreaded by many but with cycling it can be an absolute pleasure.