As a cyclist in this part of the world keeping tabs on the weather is an almost daily ritual. It's no wonder the most visited website on my computer is the BBC's weather channel. Such is the impact of the weather on us cyclists that no decision on clothing can be undertaken without first seeing if the BBC are using yellow sunshine or grey cloud with rain drop icons (and how many) to illustrate the forecast.
I'm visiting the website more frequently these past few weeks as summer gradually gives over to autumn. The temperature has dipped noticeably, that much is true. And the wind, it's stronger and an ever present force out on the roads. And of couse, the most visual indication of the changing of seasons, the light is fading, ebbing away in the evenings ever earlier. It's been a good couple of weeks though, summer isn't going down without a fight, that much is clear.
However that all makes it the trickiest time of year to dress for. Conditions change from one day to the next, which draws on your judgement and expereince to the full. With more cycling years under your belt it does get easier, but choosing the right combination of clothing can still be hard. I've been on one ride in the past couple of weeks in which I misjudged the temperature and paid the price an hour into the ride. And an hour from home.
Soon though, with practise, you get to know the outfit you need. Soon it's second nature when you'll need knee warmers. When it's a day for an emergency jacket rolled up in a jersey pocket. When to wear a cotton cap under the helmet. When it's the day for mitts and not bare hands. A brighter lens shade on your glasses. With experience, it gets easier. And then winter slaps you in the face and and it's time for a complete change of outfit.
Despite the challenges to clothing, this is my favourite time of year. I love the spring and knowing we're out of the winter, but autumn holds a special place for me. When it's bright and sunny, the wind is buffeting the country lane hedgerows and the temperature is just the right side of chilled, I'm in my element. I just love the freshness in the air. I love summer putting on a last hoorah before autumn really grips. I love the sense of making the most of this nice weather, before it's rudely taken away from us.
Importantly, there's still much time to enjoy the race bike, before the weather inevitably demands a switch to the steel winter bike with its mudguards. Until that change happens, I'm heading out for another quick ride in the sunshine, see you out on the road.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.