by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com
Fall is a gorgeous time to get on that bike and pedal to the medal – or maybe just pedal. The crisp autumn air makes breathing easy and without a hot sun, heat stroke isn’t an issue. With the gorgeous hues of oranges, yellows, and browns that color the landscape, fall bike riding is arguably the best.
Rather than putting a bike in storage early due to the fluctuation in weather, here’s the answer you’re lookin for. To conquering this fall problem is by wearing layers. While this might seem obvious, the key lies in correctly layering appropriate clothing. If correctly done, it can optimize comfort for the rider. Not only that, it can also increase the ability of how each layer works to maximize moister and temperature regulation.
Your base layer should have great moisture and wicking ability to keep your body dry. Also opt for something that you’d wear if it were to get on the warmer side compared to the colder side for this layer. For example, put on the short sleeve jersey, undershirt, and arm warmers compared to a long-sleeved jersey or shirt. If it gets too warm, you can only do so much with long sleeves whereas you can always taken off the arm warmers if you become too toasty.
For your bottoms, keep up with this same principle. Realize that legs will warm up quickly while pedaling. Whether you keep them bare by wearing shorts or your usual spring/summer attire or go with wearing long knickers, it’s good to layer these items as well. Leg warmers are also a good thing to use if you have them. Also, they can easily come off and be put away when the temperature rises.
Remember, at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, knees should always be covered. Even if they warm up during the ride, with wind, it’s best to keep them protected from the cold.
The top layers are arguably the most important layers you need to choose. This is because these are the layers that you’ll remove to try to reach that ideal temperature. There are many different potential items that you can layer over the base layer, but the rule of layering for fall weather absolutely applies. The Rule: Layer smartly. Keep in mind that the last item you’re putting on should be the one you’d want to take off first.
We like the idea of having a long-sleeved jersey or shirt that can help keep the arms warm, whether that ends up over or under arm warmers (if you decide to use them). A windbreaker can be exceptionally helpful. Even if there are no gales going through the area, biking moves you though the air and produces a ‘wind’ that can chill you. Over the long-sleeves, we’d recommend a jacket – heavy or lighter depending on you and the weather. Other layers can be added as well.
Other Important Areas – Head, Fingers, and Feet
Today, there are many different accessories and products that can help keep the other parts of your body warm and therefore keep you happy and riding longer. Scarves, earmuffs, full-fingered biking gloves, cycling caps, shoe covers to reduce cold air into the shoe – these are all things that you can consider adding to your list.
Scarves help ensure cold air doesn’t sneak into your jacket where you don’t want it – plus it keeps your neck and can keep part of your face warm!
Riding is hard when your ears are cold and aching. This is where earmuffs, or a hat with earflaps, are a welcome sight. It’s something you won’t regret once out biking, especially when it gets colder or the wind picks up!
Your head tends to be overlooked when going out to bike. While the helmet can feel warm while biking, when the temperature drops more, sometimes a little more is needed to keep your scalp warm. Today, many helmets allow some leeway in them for biking caps or headbands to help keep the rider’s head warm.
Hands and Fingers
Many bikers have fingerless cycling gloves, but when it comes to colder weather, full-fingered biking gloves are a must. When your fingers are frozen stiff and numb, you can lose your grip and find it difficult – if not near impossible – to shift gear. Since this is so dangerous for the rider, we would highly recommend getting a good pair of full-fingered biking gloves.
Feet and Toes
Shoe covers aren’t generally necessary until the temperature drops further – usually below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Socks made of wool have great breathability and warmth, but even so, your toes can get chilled when the wind picks up. Shoe covers can help keep the wind out from those breathable athletic shoes many wear in the summer.
Again, if you’re not exactly sure how to layer, just remember that the last article of clothing that you put on should be the first item that you’ll want to take off.
It might take a few tries to get this right. With so many different material types, combinations, and different conditions to factor in, a lot of the time it takes a few trial and error runs to find the order that you should layer on clothing. However, once you figure it out, it’s easy sailing! Then, you can reach your perfect temperature and adjust whenever needed during your bike ride.
HaveFun and ride on!
Jess Leong is a writer for HaveFunBiking.com.