It’s ok – don’t panic and begin a desperate ‘sun dance’ – I’m not going to actually say the word autumn. But there has been a notable chill in the air over the last week. The days are still warm and reaching 20 degrees, but mornings are becoming a slightly more frosty affair.
The next few months can often become a test for the moral of a cyclist, but there is no reason they need to be tricky.
August, September, October are the ‘shoulder seasons’, they sit beside the summer months with plenty of sun bathed days, but sometimes just a couple of extra accessories are required to ride in comfort.
Here are some of the handy clothing accessories that could well keep you riding for much longer through the next few months:
The pinnacle of excellence, the handy items that make summer jerseys work for twice as many months of the year, the secret weapon of every cyclists lycra wardrobe…
Introducing: arm warmers. They are effectively long socks with holes either end. These handy little strips of fabric just pull onto your arms, giving you long sleeves when needed.
Perfect for slightly chilly mornings, arm warmers can be pulled off easily as you ride, and stashed in a pocket if it warms up as the sun takes over.
The only struggle people ever have with arm warmers is finding some with the right width of arm. Often elasticated at the top, unless you’ve been pumping iron, you might find these fall down a bit. Ideally, try a few pairs on for fit before you buy (or keep them up with elastic bands, if you must).
Ta-da! No prizes for guessing what these do. Much like arm warmers, these will keep your summer shorts perfectly functional for much longer.
Knee warmers will cover just the knees and a little of the calf, keeping the joints warm without risk of overheating. Comparatively, leg warmers can turn shorts into a full pair of tights. That is correct – for as little as £30 you can save yourself buying a new pair of tights.
If you are buying leg warmers and expect to wear them in cold conditions, look for a pair with a brushed thermal lining. Also, pairs with zips at the ankle will be easy to get on and off over shoes if you should wish to do so mid ride.
The current time of year can be a little tricky when it comes to catering for your fingers. Mitts will probably be fine, most of the time, but on some cooler days you might feel the chill.
It’s nowhere near the time for full on winter gloves with neoprene and thermal insides, so some lightweight gloves could be a useful addition.
The Specialized BG Gel WireTap gloves and Women’s Ridge WireTap Gloves are a perfect example. Padding on the palms provides comfort, and the thin fingers won’t make you feel like an eskimo just yet. In fact, you’ll even be able to use a touch screen phone screen (not that you want to be texting whilst on the bike…)
Once again, this is an item designed to cope with that pesky autumnal breeze. The temperature may not be that low, but constant unwanted breathes of fresh air can cause a chill.
A gilet is a very light layer that will provide a wind barrier, to keep you toasty, without any risk whatsoever of you overheating.
The added benefits of gilets is that you can remove them and roll them up to go inside a pocket when unwanted. Not only that, but with a multitude of fluorescent and high viz versions out there, these can be a handy addition to your commuting wardrobe.
Toe Covers or Oversocks
Again, it just isn’t time for full neoprene overshoes, and you won’t be wanting the warming effects of a thick winter boot. However, a slight tingle in your toes might be telling you that you also don’t want the vents in your shoes to be fully functional, either.
Oversocks, like the Mavic Knit Shoe Cover are a remarkable compromise. The light knitted layer won’t protect you from rain or splash, but this extra little cocoon for your feet will keep the breeze at bay. As per normal overshoes, you get a small hole at the bottom for your cleats to protrude from, and the outside of this is stitched to prevent fraying. However, as with any thin layer of material that spends much of it’s life near the ground, don’t expect these to last more than a few months.
If it’s just your toes that are suffering, you really just need a layer for them – such as the Endura FS260-Pro Slick Toe Cover.
There you go – the perfect (not) autumn additions to keep you comfortable on the bike for months to come. Enjoy!