Shifting to fall riding mode

For all of you Game of Thrones fans out there, this will ring true: Winter is coming! However, before we have to worry about that, we first have to go through Autumn.

There are sure signs that we are in the middle of the Fall season.  Pumpkin Spice lattes are all the rage at coffee stands.  (We won’t discuss those EVIL ones that are already advertising egg nog!) (By the way I hates pumpkin anything)  The Walking Dead new season has started, FINALLY!  (Damn the premiere was good!) And, much to the relief of this bike riding cowboy, the sweltering heat of the last summer is over!

However, with the change in seasons, comes a change in riding….

First, this is the beginning of the multiple layer rides.  Autumn can add some chilly winds to the lower temps. However, a wise man once said, “There is no such thing as being cold, just poor clothing choices!”

This time of year I have a couple of different jackets in the panniers.

imageThe mornings can be down right nippy, while the afternoon is still shirt sleeves.  Giving myself the options makes for a much comfier ride.  The same goes for gloves!  Fingerless to waterproof means I am a much happier person.

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Autumn adds additional challenges to those of us in northern latitudes.   As I type this, the sun starts going down at 630 and doesn’t come up until 7ish.  With the switch to standard time, by the end of November dark hits at 4:30!  This means a few things.

First, more dark riding.  I trade in the sunglasses for the clear lenses

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Next I make sure to keep an extra stash of AA and AAA batteries around the house.  The trails to either office are pretty damn dark, and I occasionally have to dodge an unlit jogger, so I want to be sure my lights are as bright as possible.

Finally, and this is the less happy part, the days of long detours after work are soon to end.image

Yep, once already, I have moved the quest for extra miles to the shed to ride on the rollers.

Aluminum_Roller_5040db5e0d7b3Now, these are great for exercise, and I do watch movies while doing so, but compare my roller face, to my outdoor face…

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Which Tony looks happier?

The rollers are needed though, as it allows me to keep the legs in shape for weekend rides. Michelle makes sure I get out as much as I can for some 40s (keeps Tony from being cranky!) but if the legs aren’t ready, I’d end up calling her from some breakfast place, or our friend Stu’s house (the closest person to my Fall 40 training ride and owner of the best wine cellar I know) to come get me!

If it happened more than once, Stu might think I am doing it on purpose!  So ride in the shed I will!

The biggest change, though, is still coming.  Yep Rain!

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Autumn, especially November, is our stormiest and wettest season!  I will soon have to break out the rain gear!

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Plus as you can see in the top picture, I also have to deal with leaves.  Water and leaves mean slippery, and slippery, as we know, can mean spills

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This all combines for much more careful riding.  I slow when going down certain hills, instead of bombing them as I do in the summer.  I watch farther ahead this time of year to avoid last-minute bob and weaves!  (And yes, if you are curious, this did come from trial and error!) I also try to thread my way through the least deep part of the leaves for safety’s sake.

Autumn is not unique as every season brings with it its challenges. Summer is too hot, winter brings ice, and spring brings out rookies on the road. Unlike those in the East and midwest, which gets way to much winter snow, or the southeast and southwest, which has too much summer heat.  Seattle is a year round cycling town. and I am damn lucky to live here! As you can see, all you need is the right gear!

No matter what though, a bad day riding beats a good day at work every time!!

Like the wind!

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8 Responses to Shifting to fall riding mode

  1. sarburch says:

    I tell you, Tony, it took me a long time to get past your “I hate pumpkin everythings” comment. I even considered terminating our friendship over it. But then I reasoned that no pumpkin for you means more pumpkin for me. And I like the thought of that. 😉

    Oh yeah, great post, too. 🙂

  2. sevencyclist says:

    What is this rain thing you speak of?

  3. All this sounds familiar, much the same over here – every day different.

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