Over the last fortnight I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that Autumn’s arrived. The wind’s got up, the temperature’s dropped and the sunshine quickly gets hidden behind the clouds.
The transition from Summer is tough. You see Summer’s easy. Bib shorts, jersey and hit the road. Autumn cycling is only predictable by its unpredictability. Leave the house in sunshine and return in the rain.
I say early Autumn as I am talking about the transitional period. The end of Autumn needs a kit change again into harder wearing rain jackets, overshoes, thick gloves and the like. Early autumn is still clinging on to a bit of summer so it makes it even more difficult to get the right kit.
What you’re looking for in this part of the year is flexibility. Kit that can be layered up and taken off through the changeable weather. The can keep the worst of the wind off without letting you overheat.
So without further ado, here’s the 6 bits of cycling gear I’ve found myself during off over the last few weeks….
1. Full Back Gloves
In the summer I ride in gloves with as much ventilation as possible to keep my hands cool (and for the awesome tan lines). My favourite at the moment are the Lizards Skin SAL 1.0
The challenge is these are a bit nippy for early Autumn but I’m not moving on to full fingers gloves just yet. Step in my Endura Aerogel mitts. These are a bit thicker and have no ventilation on the back so are much better for when the weather decides to turn.
Having this much kit is a luxury and I could survive with one or the other. In fact I did for years! As a beginner you’ll start off with one of everything and just add to it! When I found the Endura gloves (my first pair) a bit warm I bought something different. Now I have both and bring them out at different times of the year.
2. Arm Warmers
You’ll find arm warmers on every one of these Autumn cycling kit round up style posts. Why? They’re just so useful. Roll up your short sleeve jersey, put these on and roll your sleeve back down over the top and suddenly you have a brand new element to your jersey.
At this time of year I will stuff them in a back pocket even if it feels warm enough to head out. It’s amazing how quickly the wind can change or the sun can disappear and you regret it. Equally, if you set out early in the morning and it gradually warms up they are easy to take off and store in your jersey pocket.
It saves having to invest in long sleeve jerseys and gives you so much more flexibility out on a ride. There are loads on the market and everyone will have a personal preference. I like the Mid Zero by Sugoi as the fleece liner keeps the wind out really nicely. I did have to cut out the annoying labels on the inside to add some comfort though!
3. Base Layer
d chafage (we’ve all been there). I normally wear mine under my bib short straps to stop the rubbing. With this bit of kit you need to make the call early. When you’re out and it’s on you’re going to find it more difficult to take off than something simple like arm warmers.
4. Shower Coat
Next up is a basic shower coat; not a big Gore Tex, just something that’ll get you out of trouble if the weather turns.