It’s that time of year again when the weather cools down, the hours of daylight decrease, and maybe the idea of watching Netflix seems better than getting on a bicycle; however don’t let the conditions fool you. Fall bike rides can be some of the best of the year!
Gear for Fall Bike Rides
Getting outside for fall bike rides is much easier and more enjoyable when you have the right gear. Investing in a good pair of gloves, booties (shoe covers) and a riding jacket will help keep you warm and dry. Having a set of fenders and some lights will allow you to ride when it is wet, or before or after the sun is up.
Set a goal to ride on one new road each time you get outside. This will bring out your inner child (because as if wanting to ride your bike a lot doesn’t make you a kid enough) and will allow you to discover more of your surroundings. It will also open up new routes or hills to incorporate into workouts in the spring.
Fall bike rides can also be the best for goal-setting for the next season. You have time to leisurely reflect on how the spring and summer unfolded and now you can pedal through fall leaves and decide on which races, events, and rides you want to attack for next year.
Plan stops at different bakeries and cafes! Fall bike riding is the best time of year for the token ‘coffee-shop-rides’. After ripping around in the cold for an hour or two, nothing feels quite as satisfying as coming inside to a delicious-smelling cafe and sitting down to rest with a hot cup of coffee and a strudel, cinnamon bun or doughnut. Fall is the time of year to gain back some of the calories burnt off in the summer. Lots of bike riders put on body weight in the fall; this is the time to rebuild and recover from some epic summer rides, so go enjoy a doughnut or two!
Don’t worry about keeping a strict schedule. It can feel very liberating to go for rides without the bike-computer, power meter and heart rate monitor in the fall. Ride by feel and listen to your body for how hard and far you wish to ride. Look at your surroundings and take in all the colorful leaves, the crisp smells, and the chill in the air.
Fall bike rides are a great time to try new types of riding such as cyclocross, gravel road riding and mountain biking. All of these have lower average speeds than road cycling and thus you often won’t feel as cold since you don’t have much of a wind chill.
So don’t let the cooler darker days of fall turn you off of bike riding. Make sure you have some good gloves and lights, and go explore and have fun!