Motor Sport Magazine's Christmas 2020 Gift Guide: Editor's Choice - ARCC Moulton® TSR Electric
With the final arrival of autumn comes the promise of lovely cycling conditions, including orange sunlight and fresh mornings. But the later months can also be miserably wet, cold and, with the hour now having gone back, suddenly very dark.
So, now the nights have drawn in and the weather has become a bit more questionable, what had been a pleasant experience can quickly become an ordeal, even more so with summer cycling still fresh in the memory. That is if you let it.
Indeed, dressing strategically can be the solution to stop you from falling out of love with cycling. What had brightened up our time in lockdown can continue even into the colder months if you prepare the right way, and ARCC is here with some clothing advice that will you keep on your bike as you tackle the worse the autumn and winter has to throw at you.
Probably the most obvious, and essential, choice is a good rain jacket. There are many different brands and types of rain jacket, including soft-shell and hard-shell. You will want the former on days which are a bit drizzly and need the latter when it is torrential. Because this is more often in the UK than we would perhaps like, you will need to have an adequate rain jacket if you do not want your bike to be gathering dust in the shed.
The other problem of such variable autumnal weather is that a brisk ride can quickly heat up. So you will need a raincoat that can breathe adequately and prevent you from wetting the inside out with sweat on those unexpectedly warm days, whilst also offering waterproof protection for when the weather does get bad. Some have accessories like drop tails, which protect your behind from splashes, and pit zips, for better aerated armpits. Lastly, make sure the raincoat is made of a high-visibility material.
Whatever you are doing on your bike, whether that be commuting or just touring, invest in some thermal arm and leg warmers. On those morning rides, even if warmth is forecast for later in the day, chances are it will be a cold one and you can put them on under your work clothes. Indeed, a decent base layer can be the difference between an enjoyable ride and a miserable one. It is also wise to have another layer which you can easily whip on or off, and which can be rolled up or stuffed into a pocket when not needed, like a gilet. Also, while you might not think they would come in handy, a good pair of sunglasses will save you from that blinding low winter sun that can suddenly come upon you on low crests.
Additionally essential is what you wear on your extremities - furthest away from your core, you need to keep your hands and feet warm. A warm pair of gloves and socks will do you well in the cooler months ahead; you can even now get a pair of heated gloves that keep your hands warm electronically. Likewise, invest in a good pair of shoes that will keep the wet out.
The autumn wet spells need not spell the end to your biking renaissance with the right gear.
Photo credits: Richard Peace