Tips for cycle commuting in Autumn

As the days start to shorten and we reach the time of year in the UK where we potentially commute in the dark in both directions, if you are cycling, now is the time to ensure your lights are working. As I commute both by car and bike from Wokingham in to Reading I to often see people cycling with no lights at all or with just a back light.

In my opinion it's worth investing in both a decent front and back light, how much is your life worth to you? If you are not seen you will be at a much higher risk of having a road accident, with no front light cars can potentially pull out in front of you as they genuinely have not seen you coming, if it's really dark, will you see the pot holes in the road in time? There are quite a lot around the Wokingham / Reading area, so do be careful.

How strong are your lights

Quite often you will see cyclists with an almost invisible rear light, I know you can buy cheap bike lights for a few pounds, but if you are cycling on the roads in the Autumn or Winter time, I would suggest that it's worth investing in something you are sure can been seen at a good distance.

Bike Radar

When you are wizzing along the road with the wind in your ears (or worse, headphones!? don't get me started...) do you always hear cars approaching you from behind? Garmin have recently released what they call Varia Rearview Bike Radar which I have been using for the last few months and in my experience it is excellent. You will need to either have a Garmin Edge bike computer or they sell a small stand alone box that will fix to your handlebars.

When you first buy the bike radar you will need to ensure you upgrade the firmware to the latest version and then pair it with your Edge or the stand alone box. Once setup, as you cycle along you will be alerted both by an audible beep and a visual indication to show you how close the vehicle is and how quickly they are travelling towards you. I have found that it is about 95% accurate at picking up vehicles and the majority of times I am alerted before I can actually hear the car approaching, so I am then more aware to be careful of what might be coming behind me. If you can afford one of these and you cycle a lot, I would recommend the investment.

Cycling with Headphones on?

Cycling with no lights or poor lights is obviously bad at this time of year, but IMHO I think cycling with headphones on, especially the over the ear studio type is extremely dangerous. Your ability to hear a car behind you decreases significantly. If you are also in the no lights club, your chance of becoming another road fatality statistic probably increases dramatically, so next time you get on your bike and would like to listen to your favourite tune, just think to yourself, is it really worth it?

When did you last service your bike?

It can make a world of difference if you regularly service your bike, cleaning the chain and applying a good lubricant will help ensure it lasts well and that you have smooth gear changes. If your gears slip, it might be worth taking your bike to your local friendly bike shop and ask them to give it a proper service where they will adjust your gears, check your breaks etc.

Cycle clothing for wet weather

As we are likely to have more cold wet days it is worth kitting yourself out with some decent waterproof cycle clothing, at this time of year it is also a good idea for the clothing to be of the high viability variety, you won't win any awards for fashion, but you will help to keep yourself safe on the roads. Waterproof clothing has come on a long way and you can now get decent waterproof jackets and trousers that have been specifically designed with the cyclist in mind.

Two other essentials for wet weather cycling are a waterproof cap that you can wear underneath your helmet, a decent pair of gloves to keep your hands warm and dry. Finally don't forget your feet, the majority of cycling shoes have air vents to keep your feet cool in the summer, but come winter you will have soaking wet feet. I would suggest investing in a pair of Goretex lined winter shoes to keep your feet dry and warm.

An alternative to water proof cycling shoes is to get a set of Over Shoes that are waterproof covers to fit over the top of your shoes, I have not personally used these, but I have heard mixed reviews as to how good they are. If like me, your normal cycle shoes have an air vent in the sole of the shoe, overshoes are unlikely to help a lot.

Chris Houston

Chris Houston

Chris is the Founder of QV Offices, he started the company in 2012 when his other business needed a new office, for some crazy reason Chris decided to rent the whole building and start a new business which is how QV Offices was formed. Chris spends his time running the two businesses and spending time with his family.

comments powered by Disqus