Autumn is a great time to be out on your bike, the dropping temperatures mean cooler riding conditions, which can mean more time in the saddle. And although there might be darker mornings, and occasional rain and wind in the weather forecast, with the right kit you can prepare for these conditions and ensure that you make the most of your rides.
Because of the erratic and unpredictable conditions during this transitionary time of year extra demand is placed on your cycling kit, you don’t just need warm winter kit, but rather you need to be able to adapt as the conditions change. Frigid mornings can become sweltering days in a matter of minutes, while a clear, cloudless ride can suddenly be interrupted by an April shower. The secret to offsetting this unpredictability lies in planning and layering.
Yr.no is a weather service hosted by the Norwegian Broadcasting Commission and backed by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. Over the years it has become known for the accuracy of its predictions. YR is available through a browser as well as on both Google Play and the App Store.
Although it has been around since 2014 Windy is seen as one of the new kids on the block when it comes to weather Apps. As the name suggests the App was originally focused on wind and intended for kite surfers and sailors, but the intelligent way that it displays data has made it a valuable App for anyone who loves being outdoors. Its live interactive map shows wind speed and direction in real-time so you can tell if you’re heading into any severe headwinds on your ride.
So, this one isn’t really a conventional weather app. Klimat is an app that plugs into your Strava to add weather information to your ride. While it isn’t about planning it can help you better understand how weather conditions such as headwinds impact on your cycling performance. Klimat is available as a free app or a premium paid option.
ALL ABOUT THE LAYERS
Now you have the tools to plan, but what does that mean when it comes to kit? Once again, your kit choices will be based on your personal preference. Luckily, Ciovita have a wide range of options available to allow you to prepare for just about anything. Let’s look at some of the conditions you might face and what kit combinations will help you prepare.
CONDITION #1: IT’S POURING DOWN
While a little rain never hurt anyone, a lot of rain on the other hand can put a serious dampener on your ride. There are waterproof cycling jackets such as the Riparo Apex Jacket, but even these won’t keep all the rain out as when the garment becomes drenched it seeps through the seams. If it is really bucketing down, you might want to hit the gym or train in the comfort of your home. For these types of days our Cinetica Bib Shorts are the perfect indoor training partner and can be worn with a mesh baselayer or short sleeve jersey for your upper body.
CONDITION #2: THERE'S SNOW ON THE MOUNTAINS
On particularly cold days you may want to wear a cycling jacket on your ride. We have a wide range of thermal cycling jackets available ranging from our selection of Lava Jackets with brushed Lycra Fleece, which are designed to keep you warm and toasty. Alternatively, our new range of Contego Jackets feature quilted front layers with thermo fibre padding, which is designed to keep your core warm. This ultra-temperature protection is balanced with good ventilation and lightweight high-performance fabrics to ensure that you don’t overheat. Both these jacket options are warm enough to be paired with a summer jersey, but if you still need more thermal protection, you might consider adding a thermal beanie or full finger cycling gloves to insulate your extremities.
Cold rides may also force you to consider riding in Full Length or ¾ Length Bib Shorts for head-to-toe protection. Alternatively, leg warmers allow you to still wear your favourite bib without sacrificing warmth.
CONDITION #3: IT'S COLD, BUT I'VE GOT THIS
A gilet is one of the most versatile and useful pieces of kit for autumn conditions. Your core is the key to staying warm and the design of the gilet focusses insulation around this area of your body, while still leaving your arms free. Gilets pair well with long sleeve jerseys as this can provide a comfortable middle ground between a thermal jacket and a normal jersey.
Another combination is to wear a breathable baselayer, long sleeve jersey and lightweight, windproof cycling jacket. Here each layer works together to provide warmth to your body. The baselayer wicks sweat away from your body, so it doesn’t cool down against your skin, while the jersey traps warm air against your body and the jacket provides an outer shell of protection from wind chill.
In these cold conditions you can also look to arm warmers or leg warmers to add that extra layer of warmth.
CONDITION #4: COLD AT THE START, HOT AT THE END
It’s conditions such as these where layering really comes to the fore. Your ride might start out super chilly, but as the sun rises you will heat up. Depending on your preferences there are a few kit combinations that might work for you.
If it is particularly cold, but you expect conditions to warm up, a gilet can be paired with a set of arm warmers, which can be removed and stowed in your back pockets if you are getting too warm. Another alternative is our Vindex Jacket, which comes with removable magnetic sleeves that can be taken off during the ride as your body warms up.
These types of conditions are the perfect time to break out the accessories, whether they be vitatube headscarves, kneewarmers or cycling gloves as these can be removed and stowed as the day hots up.
CONDITION #5: IT'S CHILLY AND LOOKS LIKE DRIZZLE
When it comes to riding in wet conditions it is important to understand the difference between hydrophobic, water resistant and waterproof kit. Very few cycling kit items can be regarded as 100% waterproof as these fabrics don’t allow for breathability.
Hydrophobic fabrics will hinder moisture soaking through the fabric until they become soaked, while water resistant fabrics will also protect you from rain, but only to a point. If you are expecting light rain a water-resistant jacket should suffice, but always be aware that eventually water will get in.
This can be combined with a summer jersey (like one of the bright options from our Tinta range) and a baselayer to keep you warm.
CONDITION #6: A COLD WIND'S A-BLOWIN'
In cold wind conditions it is important to not just protect from the elements, but also to ensure that your core temperature is regulated. Once again, a layered approach is the best way to achieve this. Start with a baselayer for extra warmth and layer with a jersey of your choice. Finally, complete your ensemble with a windproof jacket.
If the windchill factor becomes too much for your extremities to handle consider a Vitatube headscarf to keep your face and ears warm, cycling gloves and knee warmers as well as a decent pair of cycling socks.
CONDITION #7: IT’S GETTING DARK OUT
Riding in autumn isn’t just about temperature, rain or wind, but one also needs to consider visibility. This is where brightly coloured and reflective garments really shine. When it comes to vivid colours it doesn’t get much brighter than our Lumo Vindex Jacket. The Jacket also features reflective trims in high visibility zones to make sure you’re always seen. Our Impatto Lumo UV Sleeves are another option with luminous fabric, while the Tinta range features a variety of bright colours that will get heads turning.
All our arm warmers, leg warmers and knee warmers come with reflective trims while our Faro range features gilets, jackets, caps and headscarves with high-visibility trims.
At the end of the day, there are almost as many kit layering options as there are riding conditions, so this list will never be exhaustive. But we hope it’s provided a useful starting point when it comes to preparing for your next autumn ride.