The summer turned into autumn unannounced – one day everything is warm and sunny, next morning, it’s still sunny, but the cold weather makes the usual morning commute a bit trickier. On the other hand, it suddenly gets dark pretty soon and if you are still expecting the light conditions of early August, then you are up for a big surprise – just like I was last week.
I was riding home around 7pm, the sky was overcast and even though it wasn’t dark, the visibility conditions weren’t optimal. I was wearing a dark jumper, a blue pair of trousers and was riding a black bike and there were no lights on my bike when a driver thought it’s a good idea to turn left without looking around, thus knocking me off my bike. He was quite scared and offered to call an ambulance but I wasn’t hurt at all, so we went separate ways. The key learning of the day? GET SOME LIGHTS.
Here are the top 5 things we think you should get as the autumn slowly creeps back:
1. Lights - after last week’s incident I’m not in the position to slag anyone off for not using lights when it gets dark-ish, but you definitely should. The bigger the better, cyclist tend to overestimate how visible they are for drivers. If you can get some reflective clothing or ither items, even better! The Cateye EL130/TL 130 set contains a front and rear light that provides ample light for your commute.
2. Mudguards - if you are a hipster, mudguards are vastly uncool therefore you can ignore this point. However, if you belong to the rest of the population, a pair of proper mudguards can improve your cycling experience vastly. They might not be the sexiest bike accessories in the world, but as long as you don’t want to munch on mud in your mouth after your morning commute, they well worth the investment. A good choice might be the Crud Roadrace Mudguard as it is easy to fit and fits bikes with very little clearance.
3. Waterproof jackets – cold and rain is much more likely to catch you come October and a good waterproof jacket will protect you from it, like the Gore Path Jacket. If you opt for a lighter version, like the Gore Oxygen Jacket, you can tuck it in small container pocket so it can be with you at all times.
4. Arm and knee warmers – you’ve been there too: when it’s too cold in the morning and too warm in the afternoon. Get a pair of arm and knee warmers and you can get a couple of months extra from your shorts and shirts. Just a couple of days ago Ben wrote a longer post on arm and knee warmers, it well worth a click!
5. Get your bike serviced – bad weather means more grime and thus more wear and tear for your bike. Therefore, you should make sure that you bike enters autumn properly prepared: chain oiled, brakepads not too worn, rims are ok etc. A little investment could make a big difference.