As autumn sets in, many cyclists continue to commute by bike, embracing the beauty of the season while staying active and eco-friendly. However, with changing weather conditions and shorter daylight hours, it's important to prepare for your autumn commute biking. In this blog post, we will share five essential tips to help you get ready for your autumn commute. From safety considerations to staying comfortable, these tips will ensure a smooth and enjoyable biking experience on your daily commute. 



Dress for the Weather 

Autumn weather can be unpredictable, especially here in the Nordic countries. So it's a good idea to stay informed and prepared - just so you won't suddenly be in the middle of your route to work and end up completely soaked and cold before arriving. Check the weather forecast before you leave, and dress accordingly. For example, you can consider wearing high-visibility clothing or adding reflective gear to stay visible in the shorter daylight hours. As it rains more in autumn it is important to stay safe in case of slippery accidents, so don't forget to protect your head with a suitable helmet. 
As the weather changes the closer we get to winter, dress in layers to accommodate temperature variations during your commute. Perhaps you'd want to start with moisture-wicking base layers to keep you dry and comfortable. Layer up with a windproof and waterproof jacket to protect yourself from rain and wind - opting for a jacket made for biking might be a good investment if you commute on your bike every day. Don't forget to wear warm and breathable clothing, such as long-sleeved jerseys and tights, as the mornings and evenings can be chilly. 

Use Proper Lighting & Stay Visible

With shorter daylight hours, it's crucial to use adequate lighting to enhance your visibility on the road and in traffic. If you haven't already, equip your bike with front and rear lights that have a strong beam. If your bike light isn't magnetic or dynamo driven, ensure they are fully charged or equipped with fresh batteries. Consider using additional lights and lighting accessories, such as spoke lights or helmet lights, or both a high- and low-mounted light, to increase your visibility from different angles. Be proactive about your safety and use lights even during daylight hours, when visibility may be reduced due to overcast skies.
Consider using a bell or horn to alert pedestrians and fellow cyclists of your presence on shared paths or trails. Always obey traffic rules and signal your intentions clearly to ensure a safe ride.


Prepare for Variable Terrain

Autumn brings changes in the biking terrain, with fallen leaves, wet surfaces, and potentially slippery conditions. Be cautious when riding over leaf-covered paths as they can hide obstacles and make the surface slick. When encountering a leaf-covered path, reduce your speed immediately and maintain a firm grip on the handlebars. If you come across a puddle, although it might seem like a fun idea to just ride right through it, consider the possibility that it might send you flying over your handlebars. When there is a reflection on the water, it can easily obscure potholes or road irregularities, making it risky to bike through the water.
You might want to prepare yourself for wet conditions by equipping your bike with wider and grippier tires that offer better traction. Adjust your riding technique to accommodate these changes and give yourself ample time to stop or manoeuver around any obstacles. Maybe you want to get your hands on a reflective, waterproof biking pannier to have your back free when you are biking in autumn conditions, both for your safety and to keep all your things safe and dry. 


Be Prepared for Temperature Changes

The autumn weather can be quite unpredictable at times: with temperature variations throughout the day and throughout the week. It might feel warm and sunny one moment, but clouds and heavy rain appear the very next. Therefore it could be a good idea to layer your clothing, or at least bring extra essentials in a biking bag. A windproof and waterproof outer layer is your 101 essential on your autumn commutes, even if you think it will be sunny all day - just take it with you to be safe! You can also consider other accessories like gloves, a headband or hat, and shoe covers to keep extremities warm. Consider carrying an extra layer in case temperatures drop unexpectedly. Being prepared for temperature changes will ensure that you can adapt to the conditions and stay comfortable during your autumn commute, no matter how moody the weather gets. 

Maintain Your Bike

Proper bike maintenance is always crucial when you use your bike daily, but in the changing season of autumn, you might want to check up on your bike a bit more than in spring and summer. Regularly check your tire pressure, as cooler temperatures can cause pressure fluctuations and when it is raining little stones or other city trash might flush up on your path. Invest in a good-quality pump with a pressure gauge to ensure your tires are inflated to the recommended level. Additionally, inspect your brakes for wear and adjust them if necessary, as it is important to have your brakes reacting quickly in wet conditions. If you're not confident in your bike maintenance skills, consider taking it to a local bike shop for a professional tune-up. A well-maintained bike will provide a safer and more efficient ride during your autumn commute.
By following these five essential tips, you can prepare yourself for a safe and comfortable autumn commute biking experience. Take the time to check your bike, dress appropriately, and use proper lighting to enhance your visibility. Plan your route strategically, considering safety and potential weather changes. Stay alert and be mindful of autumn-specific challenges on the road. Embrace the season's charm while enjoying a smooth and enjoyable commute by bike. Embrace the season's charm, enjoy the crisp air, and embark on memorable biking. Happy cycling!