Autumn Riding Tips

When we say autumn, what we mean is winter. The Indian summer is all but done, and the stunning Il Lombardia is upon us! The cyclist’s acknowledgement of the change of season.

The British style is to ignore the change of season and push on as normal, but at some point the shorts and jersey option has to be replaced by something a bit warmer, so Le Sportif has thoughtfully put together some helpful guidelines.

Get a winter bike - winter has a different bling. Wet, dirty, salty roads aren’t the best for your summer beast, grinding gears, wearing chains and eroding rims. The options for bling are myriad, a winter bike should be solid, have some sturdy mudguards, lights, saddle pack and a position as close to your normal ride as possible. A winter bike should be able to keep you as dry as possible, have sterner tyres to stop the punctures, and be equipped for any eventuality. Keep your favourite cereal bar with your inner tube in your saddle pack, if you do have to fix a puncture a tasty treat will keep you sunny side up.

Winter riding has etiquette too - get some real mud guards, and keep your bike clean. Your bike lasts longer and none of your riding buddies want to chew your grit or look at or listen to your grimy bucket. Life is way too short to ride rubbish bikes.

Buy some winter clothes - it makes all the difference. Winter clothes are no longer summer clothes with long sleeves, but technical, stylish and supremely functional. Your mud guards will keep you looking fresh and, more importantly, dry, which makes for far more enjoyable riding.

Take time off - even the pro’s take time off. Dark nights are woeful and take time to get used to, all your colleagues are happy to come to work snuffling and sneezing, inattentive to your honed physical condition and fragile immune system. If you get ill, don’t ride, but let your body recuperate from your hard riding summer.

Less is more - ride less. Cold and wet make shorter rides a better bet. Wrecking yourself on a winter’s afternoon is a short cut to illness.

Winter riding is harder, don’t get depressed. Winter riding is about steady miles, not chasing Strava segments. Hard efforts lead to sweaty clothes, and a fresh breeze soon chills you to the point of non-enjoyment. Resist the temptation to bust your riding companion if they make a move on you, but be sure to give them a call to let them know you’re heading out riding when they’re at home in bed, one of you will definitely feel better…


Go on holiday somewhere warm.

As always, Happy Riding!