Okay, so the clocks have gone back, daylight hours are shorter, you can’t get a cyclist’s tan anymore and it’s colder than the summer. Autumn is rubbish, you muse.
For a cyclist, autumn is actually one of the better times of the year to ride: all of those aforementioned perceived negatives can be transformed into positives!
If you’re not convinced, read on and before you know it, you’ll be getting the bike out and hitting the road and trails.
- It’s the most beautiful time of the year
Andy Williams may sing that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but the festive season can’t compete with autumn when it comes to scenery and nature’s beauty.
The trees gradually go from green to yellow to golden to red, before the branches displace the leaves entirely. The amalgamation of colours is simply spellbinding, especially in forests.
It can be enough to distract you from the road to wander and marvel at nature’s beauty. The summer may have its clear skies, but the autumn has stunning colours — we know which one we prefer!
- There’s fewer riders on the road and trails
We all enjoy waving at a fellow cyclist as they pass, but traffic can soon build on the busier roads and climbs in the summer — who hasn’t been stuck behind a rider on an ascent in July?
However, come autumn, there are fewer riders out on the road, meaning the climbs and the village sprints are yours for the taking.
Especially if you’re a mountain biker, the trails are much quieter, meaning you can ride them freely without the fear of a rider up ahead stemming your progress.
- Less riders mean your Strava KOM/QOM stay for longer
If you are good enough to claim a Strava King of the Mountain or Queen of the Mountain title, less riders means that you should, in theory, keep hold of your number one placing for longer! That’s an incentive in itself to get out and ride with pride.
- You feel hardcore
We’ll be honest: cycling in the rain and wind isn’t too much fun. No one enjoys it. But it’s type two fun!
You moan about the weather while you’re riding, but the moment you’re back and tucking into a hot recovery meal whilst laid across your sofa, you’re bragging about your ride and proclaiming how tough you are to ride in those conditions. “Look at me, who else would do that?”
You get more respect from non-cyclists and cyclists alike, and you know you’re training will help you through the winter. After all, type two fun is just as good as type one fun.
- Keeps the winter blues away
Everyone knows that exercise is good for your health and immune system, and continuing your riding through autumn will stave off the winter sniffles.
What’s more, riding to work or opting to cycle to your destination instead of taking public transport is more beneficial to your health, as you’re not directly in contact with strangers who might have a cold or the flu.
- New clothes to wear
We’ve all been there in the summer, when you bemoan your lack of summer riding gear or the fact that it’s in the wash again. The autumn is different: you have more layers to pile on, and it’s refreshing to look different to how you have done for the past six months.
And if you don’t like your winter kit, it’s an excuse to buy some more!
New attire provides a new lease of life.
- The winter bike comes out
Winter bikes and mudguards have — unfairly — made a bad name for themselves. But if you’re being truthful with yourself, you secretly love your winter bike almost as much as your best bike. It’s been with you through the toughest times and has kept you right. Furthermore, it often has more stories to tell than your carbon fibre summer bike.
It’s a thing of rough beauty — retrieve it and embrace it.
- Try a new discipline
You may already be a convert, but if not, cyclo-cross is super-fun. You ride around mud trails, sand banks and forests on an adapted road bike and get totally pitted.
It’s like a throwback to childhood and keeps you smiling for the entire duration, with the speed of the road combined with the thrill of adventurous mountain biking.
If you haven’t tried it yet, we’d definitely recommend it.
- Prepare for the spring training camps
A lot of us go on spring training camps to warmer climes such as Majorca, and there’s nothing worse than turning up questioning your fitness and ability to ride that climb that you’ve been excited about for months! Think of it this way: if the training camp is in preparation for your racing or sportive season, then think of autumn as preparation for the training camp!
Convinced? We hope you’re already pulling on your cycling gear and heading out the door… Happy autumn riding!