The days are getting shorter and your daily commute can increasingly be a cold and wet affair. This can be a trying time for new riders who begin to miss the less challenging conditions of the summer months.
However with some preparation and simple accessories, you can extend your cycling season throughout the year and safely make it through autumn and winter into next spring with your sanity and fitness intact!
With that in mind, we present our autumn/winter bike riding checklist:
When it’s wet, the lubrication will wash off your chain more quickly and splashing through puddles will deposit grit on the moving parts of your drivetrain. The easiest way to address this is to regularly clean and lubricate your chain.
Frequency of this task depends on your riding and the conditions you're riding in. A good guide though is to perform this simple activity after every wet ride, if you notice any grinding from grit or every 200km or so.
To do this, turn your bike upside down so you can more easily access the chain. Turn your pedals backwards so the chain is running, and squirt a steady stream of bike chain lubricant on the moving chain until the whole chain is wet. Leave it sit for 5-10 minutes so the liquid can soak through the moving parts. Now wrap a clean rag around the chain and run it backwards again so you wipe off all the excess lube. Once clean, you can ride right away (or let it dry overnight if you have time).
We recommend Rock’n’Roll Gold lube, because it cleans and lubricates the chain at the same time and is suitable for most types of riding and conditions.
Just a tip - go carefully at first and watch your fingers when running the chain through the rag.
Get lights. Bike lights come in two main categories: lights to see by and lights to be seen by.
If you’re riding in urban environments, the streetlights are often enough to see by, but you still need some good flashing white (front) and red (rear) lights so that you’re easily seen by other road users. It’s common sense, and it’s the law.
View our selection of bike light sets from basic back up lights, to high-powered USB rechargeable lights. Consider the power source, lumens and beam style when choosing lights. If you're a regular rider - get USB rechargeable lights so they are always topped up and ready to go. If you really want to see the path ahead, get higher lumens - 1,000 is really bright and enough for all types of riding including night time mountain biking sessions. If you are just commuting, get a wider beam spread so you are more visible from the sides and see more of the road ahead. Narrow beams are more suited to night mountain biking.
Whatever lights you choose, it’s always worth having a cheap set of spare lights lying around as back-ups or to clip to your helmet or backpack for maximum visibility.
No one likes a wet bum. Fortunately, a solution isn’t far away. Browse our range of bike mudguards from simple clip on styles, to full-length fitted guards.
If you’re not sure what will fit your bike, give Reid Cycles a buzz and we can discuss the best options.
How far you go here is really down to preference and how much riding you plan to do. Every rider should at least have long finger cycling gloves, some reflective items like a slap band and a packable rain jacket. Check out our range of bike clothing here.
5. Tyres, brakes and general condition
Make sure that the brakes are in good working order with plenty of material left on the brake pads. If you're in the market for a new bike though, now is the time to get a model with disc brakes as these perform predictably well even when wet and muddy.
Ensure your tyres have plenty of tread. Tread moves water away from between your tyre surface and the road so you can get better traction for cornering and stopping. Tread also gives you better protection against punctures (these happen more frequently in wet weather as debris is washed to the edges of the road where cyclists ride).
The change in seasons is also a good time to get a workshop service from our skilled bike mechanics. Bikes are like any other machine and require regular maintenance to operate their best.