5 easy tips for fall bicycle commuting

5 Tips for Fall Bicycling Commuting

As autumn approaches and the leaves begin to fall, keep your miles from falling with these five easy tips for making your bicycle commute easier as temperatures drop.

Invest in good rain gear

Not only will a good jacket keep you dry during your fall commute, it’ll help keep you warm as well as temperatures drop. Also, remember that rain falling from above is only half the battle – puddles and splashes will just as easily soak your clothes, so consider rain gear that includes a cape. Gloves will go a long way towards maintaining your sanity once the wind picks up, too.

Consider adding fenders to your bike

Some people love fenders, some people hate them. No matter what your stance is on what they do to the appearance of a bike, fenders are a good way to stay dry without breaking the bank. Puddles will no longer give you nightmares!

Stay bright

Fall weather often means more earthy colors and muted tones. But on your commute, you’ll want to maintain the opposite – bright colors to keep you visible in traffic. Fall means the days are getting shorter, too – so make sure your lights are in good condition and bright enough.

Protect your stuff

Now’s the time to ask yourself, “Is my bag holding up okay?”  The last thing you want is a soaked computer or book when you get to your destination. If your bag has holes in it and looks like it’s going to fall apart, do yourself, and your stuff a favor – replace it before it’s too late.

Stick with it

Yes, it might get colder. Yes, it might get windier. Probably both at the same time. By mid-Autumn, you might be packing away the bike and promising yourself that you’ll start up again once the weather gets warmer. The best way to avoid that is to tough it out. Force yourself to get on your bike, even in the colder, rainy mornings. Consider rewarding yourself at your destination with a warm beverage – maybe a pumpkin spice latte?

 What are your best tips for fall bicycle commuting? Share them in the comments below.

14 thoughts on “5 easy tips for fall bicycle commuting

  1. I love my overshoes–keep my feet dry and warm.

    I cycle with a headband under my helmet…not too hot and not cold at all.

    Like always….layers.

    When the snow comes, studded tires !!

  2. Don’t dwell on the negatives, consider some of the positives:
    - Bike paths and bike racks are less crowded.
    - You can ride hard & still not get all sweaty.
    - Scenery. I love riding on a cool clear fall day when the leaves are turning.
    - Exercise keeps your metabolism & circulation revved. Once you get to your destination you’ll feel warmer throughout the day. It also helps fight off those seasonal blahs, when the days are short.

  3. On toughing it out as it gets colder: you may start out feeling chilly, but it only takes 10 minutes or less to warm up from the exercise. If your hands, feet, ears and neck are covered, the rest of you will feel OK. Then you’ll enjoy arriving at the office nice and warm from a workout, while everyone else is complaining about the cold.

    • Very true! I like wearing a buff (like from Survivor) that I can pull up around my ears or my nose until I warm up.

  4. I enjoy riding my bike, however I will never ride when it starts to snow. Riding in the snow or in rainy weather will make your bike rusty and will cause damage to the chain and it will not be nice next spring. Yes, when the bike bag has holes in it you are “asking for problems”. I always wear a helmet.

    • It’s true, winter is not friendly to bikes. Consider an inexpensive, “beater” bike for the winter?

  5. My cross country skiing gaiters keep my feet warm and dry. Puck lights stuck to my helmet make me very visible even at 6 am (although the look very silly the rest of the time).
    Drivers are not looking for bikes when it is colder, so always assume they don’t see you – stay safe!

  6. Some of my tips…I carry plastic trash bags in my bag pack to wrap my books, briefcase, and/or computer in for heavy rain…kind of like canoe camping in the BWCA! I also buy an adjustable bike helmet so I can wear a hat under the helmet during fall and winter (especially important for those of us who are “hair challenged.”) Also, when riding, avoid “puddles” as much as possible because they often hid pot holes…which can be jarring. Lastly, I also carry a set of rain pants, to go with my coat, for really heavy rains. (Okay, my backpack is a bit on the large size. ;-) )

  7. If you don’t want to get your good summer bike trashed with snow, sand, salt, etc., consider getting a used beater, craigslist is a good resource. I picked up a mtn bike converted to a single speed with fenders and almost new studded tires for $80 last year which less than the cost of the studded tires. Much more stable, I run low air pressure in snow (~ 30 psi) for more grip and no flats are great, you do not want to fix a flat when it’s freezing.

  8. Love commuting this time of year. Even though it is a short distance I can easily extend my commute and sometimes do :) I took my wifes advice and bought a snowboarding helmet for this time of year. It has added protection and is warmer once the temps start to drop. Easily fits a lightweight hat underneath too. Like others said I often have a pair of rain pants in my bag and use the covered gloves/mittens which convert to fingerless by pulling off the mitten part. Love them for once I warm up

  9. Clean your chain often. The leaves and other falling vegetation get mushed up in your chain and cogs, creating a “chain chutney” that can wreck your drivetrain and lead to more rust.

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