Autumn is a wonderful time of year for Liberty Trikers! The air is crisp, leaves change color, and you can enjoy some sunshine one last time before the very cold (and SNOW) season. But if you ride in the rain, there's a new set of challenges that you'll need to learn to deal with. Cloudy days can make it hard to see oncoming traffic and dark clothing hides bikers from sight and makes them more difficult to see. Whatever the season, don’t let the fear of conditions getting worse deter you from venturing out. Follow these tips to keep you safe and comfortable as autumn sets in.
The first obvious change we notice in the autumn is the length of the days: daylight hours decrease, and our bike rides must fit within the hours of light we have available. Checking the sunrise and sunset times before arranging your trip helps ensure that you make use of all available daylight and avoid riding home in the dark. Knowing what the weather is going to be like can also help you prepare for what to expect during your ride out. Should you wear a raincoat or an extra layer of clothing? Do you have an alternate route planned? And since we're on the topic of being prepared, take a look at our tips for riding out at night.2. Layer your clothing and wear waterproof shoes
It's impossible to predict what the weather will be like every day as the seasons change. It could be raining and cold in the morning, but warm and dry by the afternoon, then it could be cold again by the evening. Wearing layers allows you to be more adaptive to whatever the day throws at you and keeps you comfortable while traveling in any weather. Make sure your layers can be easily worn when it's cold and taken off when it's warm. Carry a few extra clothes in your bag on warm mornings just in case a sudden chill hits you while you're out exploring. Arm and leg warmers, light or waterproof gloves, and a windproof jacket are all great pieces to start with.3. Keep your items safe with a waterproof bag.
It's no use packing extra clothing if they're going to get wet in your bag. That includes the valuables and other items you're taking with you. A waterproof bag like the new Boogie Bag will keep your change of clothes, gadgets, and other belongings safe. It can hold a lot of gear and can be easily attached to the side of your Boogie Cruiser.4. Wear gloves
We use our hands for everything, so keeping them warm is the least we can do. Wind and rain can leave our hands dry, numb, and cold after a ride. Gloves should be a part of your fall cycling wardrobe rather than an afterthought. Leather gloves or anything merino wool are a terrific, stylish option for dry, cold days. Quick-drying neoprene gloves can keep your hands toasty warm in damp conditions and then dry off while you're at your morning meeting. On wet days, put any old pair of gloves you have lying around the house inside a loose-fitting pair of dish gloves for a much less attractive but less expensive alternative. It isn't nice, but it gets the job done!5. Keep an eye out for slick parts on the road.
Railroad tracks, manhole covers, and any other metal will be even more slippery during the rainy autumn days. Similarly, piles of matted leaves and painted lines, as well as any gasoline on the concrete, will be slick as the new rain brings up oil and gas left over from cars.6. Steer clear of puddles in unfamiliar roads
Although splashing through puddles seems like a great idea at first, you’ll feel differently once that wave of water knocks you over. The reflection of the road on the water can easily disguise huge potholes or dips in the pavement, so your puddle "jumping" is best left for those dry days when you know what you’re getting into.7. Drink water and stay hydrated
Although the temperatures are starting to dip, it is important to remember that you need to stay hydrated. You may feel that you don’t need anything to drink while riding, but the cool air no longer makes you feel thirsty. The cool weather also numbs your thirst response. Remember, even if you are not thirsty, you are still losing fluids and salts.8. Stay visible
Remember to be as visible as possible this fall. If you’re biking at night, consider adding an extra light for front and rear visibility. Wearing bright, reflective clothing will also help drivers to see you on the road.9. Keep your LT in good condition and the chain well-lubricated.
Taking care of your cherished bicycle is the best method to decrease the possibility of mechanical problems during your autumn travels. Checking and cleaning brakes, gears, and moving parts is a good habit to ensure that everything is in working order and ready for your next ride. Before each ride, spend a few minutes wiping your bike down with a microfiber cleaning mitt, as well as cleaning and lubricating your chain to extend the life of the cassette, chainrings, and the chain itself; gear shifting will also be quieter and smoother. You can refer to our Liberty Trike manual for some more info on lubing the chain, cleaning the LT, and maintenance and service.10. Stay dry in wet weather
The weather during this season is very changeable, so be prepared for sudden showers. If you find yourself caught in a downpour, try to find some sort of shelter quickly. If you’re far from home, it’s better to stop and seek shelter rather than get soaked. Wait for your clothes to dry before carrying on with your journey. As soon as you get home, wipe your bike dry and clean the crevices to prevent rust or debris build-up.