But if you’ve never tried it, commuting in autumn comes with its own kind of magic. Firstly, the brownie points you get for turning up to work, having already gotten in some miles. When spring comes back around, you’ll be fighting fit and ready for the long summer days of riding ahead. Not to mention those gorgeous crisp mornings and the colours that autumn provides – they’re not quite as easy to enjoy from the traffic jam.
1. Give your bike a mini service
Hopefully, you’ll have spent the summer clocking up some miles. Like some of us, the lack of wet and muddy conditions means you’ll have returned home only to instantly forget about your bike and get on with your day. If that’s the case, you’ll want to give your bike a once over. This will ensure you can get on your bike each morning, confident in the knowledge that your bike is fit to ride.
A simple m-check will cover everything you should be looking at. You might also see this as a good time to replace parts such as the brake pads and give your chain a good clean.
2. Add some mudguards
As well as preventing a lovely muddy stripe up your back, mudguards prevent spray from the road from getting you soaked on your commute to and from work. By preventing this spray, you’ll be warmer on your journey. You can also avoid having to clean your cycling layers as frequently.
3. Switch up your tyres for something more knobbly
Depending on the terrain you ride, you may not have considered switching your tyres out for the winter. But slick, skinny road tyres can be lethal in wet weather and on muddy, grassy trails.
By switching to something a little bit more knobbly like a cross tyre, you’ll have more grip on the road in poor conditions. Commuting is stressful enough without skidding out on your bike whilst cornering in the rain.
4. Invest in good lights
If you’re commuting around a 9-5 job, it’s likely you’ll spend some of your journey in the dark. Having bright, cycle-specific lights on both the front and rear of your bike will help you feel more comfortable on your bike as well as safer. If you purchase rechargeable lights, you won’t have to replace the batteries every month due to daily use. You may also want to keep a set at work, just in case.
5. Restock your puncture kit
Nobody wants a puncture at the best of times but especially when you’re on your way to or from work when it’s dark and it’s raining. To then make matters worse, you find you’ve used up your spare inner tubes or left your pump at home. Do yourself a favour and stock up on a few inner tubes and fit a mini pump to your bike (or carry one). You might also want some tyre levers and a multi-tool. Puncture kits are small enough to carry too but you may want to wait until you’re home if it’s autumnal out to fix your puncture!
6. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
There are endless benefits to keeping up your cycle commute through the autumn period. But that doesn’t mean you have to do it 5 days a week. At some point, your motivation may wane. You don’t necessarily have to force yourself through it. Yes, you might feel better for it but you might also become increasingly discouraged.
Take the bus or drive on those days that it’s really miserable out. But do enjoy those beautiful autumnal days and the privilege to get on your bike first thing in the morning.
Keep feeling smug about getting out on your bike during the colder months – as not everyone is quite so brave! Go out prepared, and you might just learn to love it.