Autumn is my favorite season for cycling; the leaves are changing; the humidity is gone and the air feels fresh and crisp. However, now that the temperatures are starting to drop, I am seeing fewer and fewer rides in my Strava feed as many start to pack their bikes away, not to be seen again until next spring. I URGE you to not give up on cycling for the year just yet! This is the time of year for great rides to the cider mill and beautiful leaf peeping cruises.
By investing around $100 in just a few key pieces of cycling gear you can keep riding throughout the fall and even early winter.
Arm Warmers – Retail $20-$35 Knee Warmers – Retail $40-$50
Arm warmers and knee warmers are great pieces of gear to have for these moderately chilly temperatures. The great thing about warmers is that they are easy to remove and carry with you in a back pocket. Throughout the fall there will be many days when you will start your ride with temperatures just above freezing, but by the time you finish the temperatures will be up to the mid-fifties or sixties. Arm and knee warmers can be worn for the start of the ride to keep your limbs and joints warm, and then peeled off mid-way through if you get too hot.
Toe Covers – Retail $20
Toe covers are another small but essential piece of gear to have for chillier weather. Nothing is worse than having cold toes when you’re in the middle of a ride. Once they are cold, there is very little you can do to warm them up until you get home and off your bike. Cycling shoes are made to be pretty breathable to keep your feet cool in the warmer weather. These covers slip over the front end of your shoes and keep a good majority of the wind and cold air out.
Mid Weight Gloves – $25-$45
Bare hands or cut off gloves will no longer cut it once the temperatures drop. You will need a decent pair of mid weight full-fingered gloves. Cold hands can make it difficult for you to shift and brake as well as just being painful after a while. A good pair of gloves will be lightweight, but also have some windstopping material which will keep your hands pretty toasty.
Support your Local Bike Shop!
Business at bike shops is slowing down this time of year, so stop in and visit them for more information and to pick up some of these essential pieces of gear.
There are many more items that you can acquire for cool weather riding; shoe covers, wind vests, jackets, tights, etc., but those costs start to add up and those items are really meant for more serious winter riding. Also remember that once you get moving it’s amazing how quickly you can get warm even if it does feel pretty brisk outside.