Fall Cycling Essentials
Tips for Fall Riding For the Passionate Pedaler and the Everyday Enthusiast
The leaves are changing colour, the days are getting shorter, and it's getting a little harder to nail getting dressed for outdoor activities. But the crisp embrace of fall doesn't mean you need to hang up your bike. Whether you're an entry-level cyclist finding your rhythm or an elite rider pushing boundaries, our curated collection ensures you're prepared for the autumnal trails ahead.
Read our guide to Fall Cycling Essentials to find the right clothing and accessories to stay out on your bike for longer this year.
Cycling Clothing for Fall
In fall, the emphasis shifts towards thermal, layered clothing, such as full-length tights, full-fingered gloves, and toe or shoe covers. These additions provide necessary insulation, ensuring a comfortable balance between warmth and mobility without compromising on performance.
In our experience, we've found that the challenge isn't usually finding layers, it's finding layers you can easily shove in your jersey pocket or bar bag. You want to have them with you for changing conditions at higher elevation or to keep warm on descents, but you may not want to wear them for the whole ride. So, your clothes need to be warm enough but also easy to stow.
The #1 Challenge of Cycling Comfortably in Fall: Not Getting Too Sweaty on The Climbs
Keeping warm without overheating on climbs is a major challenge that comes with cycling in fall. As the incline intensifies, your body heat will rise and if you don't dump some layers, you'll arrive at the top to a mountain of sweat. This is problematic in Fall conditions because that sweat will cool you off quickly in lower temps - and it'll be uncomfortable on descents or flat efforts and downright dangerous at higher elevations.
The solution lies in smart apparel choices.
Opt for packable clothing that can be easily stashed during strenuous climbs and swiftly donned post-effort. This approach not only helps regulate your temperature but also ensures that the sweat-induced chill is kept at bay, allowing for a comfortable and efficient ride throughout.
Fall Cycling Apparel
Here's how we do it:
- Packable cycling jacket (there are specific jackets for off-road and road cycling)
- Headband or toque for under your helmet
- Arm warmers
- Knee/Leg warmers or pants/knickers
- Cold-weather gloves
- Shoe or toe warmers
- Neck tube/ buff
- Performance socks for colder conditions
- Cycling-specific glasses.
As you can see, none of these layers take up much space (except maybe the neoprene boots). They are designed to be flexible, packable, layerable, and performance-oriented and they are (usually) enhanced with features like water-resistance and windproofing to shield riders from unpredictable fall conditions.
Weatherproof Jackets for Fall Riding
Your outer layer should protect from wind and light rain, while remaining breathable enough for the changing temperatures we're lucky enough to have here in the Okanagan during Fall. As we mentioned above, road and mountain biking jackets have different features and functionality because they are designed to perform in very different conditions.
If you're a commuter, we recommend erring on the side of mountain biking jackets since these are usually roomier, more rugged, and often have more storage capacity.
Road Cycling Jackets: Smooth Sailing on Open Roads
Enjoying the tarmac in the Okanagan fall often comes down to protecting yourself from the chilly winds and occasional smatterings of rain without impacting performance. We have curated a selection of high-quality, high-performance road apparel designed to perform in our amazing valley.
Here are some of the features of the road cycling weatherproof jackets we carry:
Weather Resistance: Road cycling jackets are primarily designed to be windproof and waterproof. With the unpredictable Fall showers and chilly gusts, these jackets prevent wind chill and ensure you remain dry throughout your ride.
Breathability: As intense as road cycling can get, sweat is inevitable. But with high-quality road cycling jackets, cyclists benefit from materials that wick moisture away, ensuring that you don't get drenched in your own sweat.
Aerodynamic Design: These jackets are tailored to be form-fitting, minimizing wind resistance, which is essential for maintaining high speeds on open roads.
High Visibility: Fall can usher in low light conditions, especially during early morning or late afternoon rides. Reflective elements on these jackets ensure motorists can spot you from a distance.
Performance Enhancement: The aerodynamic nature of road cycling jackets can, in fact, improve your speed and efficiency by reducing drag.
Comfort: By keeping you dry from both rain and sweat, and blocking chilly winds, these jackets allow you to focus solely on your ride.
Safety: Reflective patches or stripes enhance your visibility, reducing the risk of accidents.
Versatility: Many road cycling jackets are lightweight and packable, making them easy to carry in case the weather changes.
Mountain Biking Jackets: Rugged Protection for Off-Road Adventures
It's not uncommon for the temperature to drop ten degrees from when you leave the Crawford parking lot to when you arrive at the KVR. We've curated a selection of jackets designed to stow in your pack for the climb so they're ready to go for the descent. We favour jackets with the following functionality:
Robust Weather Protection: Mountain biking often involves tackling challenging terrains in remote areas. The jackets designed for this purpose offer protection against rain, wind, and even occasional snow.
Durability: These jackets are constructed with tougher materials to withstand brushes against rocks, trees, and potential crashes.
Ventilation: Given the rigorous nature of mountain biking, these jackets often come with ventilation openings, allowing riders to regulate their temperature.
Multiple Pockets: Off-road adventures require carrying essentials. These jackets provide multiple pockets for tools, snacks, and other necessities.
Comprehensive Protection: Beyond weather, mountain biking jackets shield you from some scrapes if you fall.
Freedom of Movement: They're designed to offer flexibility, ensuring that your jacket doesn't hinder your movement as you navigate tough trails.
Storage Convenience: Having dedicated pockets means you can quickly access essentials without having to rummage through a backpack.
You need lights for more than just seeing the road in front of you past dark. You need lights to be seen by drivers and other cyclists - even when it's bright out. And you need lights to be ready in the changing weather conditions that come with the arrival of Fall.
Since the goal is to see and be seen, it's worthwhile to invest in lights for the front and rear of your bike. Most modern lights are rechargeable via USB and come with the ability to flash or display a steady stream of light. You can adjust these on the fly to factor for changing light conditions.
Remember: lights are a small upfront cost to pay for visibility and safety year-round.
Handlebar bags are a game-changer for fall cycling enthusiasts. As autumn brings in unpredictable weather patterns and the need for extra gear like gloves, buffs, and rain protection, cyclists find themselves needing additional storage that is both accessible and doesn't compromise on bike balance. Enter the handlebar bag.
The handlebar bag is nifty accessory attaches right at the front of the bike, allowing riders instant access to their essentials without having to stop and rummage through a backpack (assuming it's safe for you to ride with just one hand on your bars). Its strategic placement ensures that weight distribution remains even. With various compartments and waterproof options available, a handlebar bag becomes an indispensable tool for fall cyclists, ensuring that you're always prepared, come rain, hail, snow, wind or shine.
Handlebar bags are more than just practical storage solutions; they're a canvas for individual expression and a testament to the evolving ethos of sustainability in the cycling community. With cyclists increasingly viewing their bikes as an extension of their personality and values, handlebar bags (and other frame bags) are fast becoming a focal point of customization.
DIY Bar Bags
The DIY culture in cycling has also embraced upcycling, leading to innovative handlebar bags made from reclaimed materials. It's a testament to creativity when a discarded item can be transformed into a functional piece of bike gear.
You can learn more about making your own DIY bar bag in this Bikepacking article.
Eco-Friendly Bike Bags
Not keen to DIY? Check out our extensive range of Axiom bike bags. Axiom's Seymour series features its amazing Oceanweave Fabric. These bags are the world’s only cycling bags to be made out of recycled fishing nets.
They're equal parts eco-friendly and built to last. Axiom uses environmentally sensitive processes and materials in its products and packaging, and its fabrics are free of heavy metals and toxic dyes so you can feel comfortable using them with your family. Everything Axiom makes is designed to last a lifetime – so there’s never anything to throw away.