Leaves are dropping from the trees and you find yourself searching the far reaches of your closet for a flannel shirt. Suddenly you have an overwhelming desire for anything pumpkin spice...
FALL IS HERE!
This doesn't mean you have to put your bike away just yet. Know that caution is needed when cycling during autumn months. The weather may be unpredictable with high winds and mixed precipitation, the sun is low and angled, and slippery wet surfaces or debris in the road can be a challenge. These are all good reasons to slow down and pay attention.
Be prepared for anything and carry a waterproof jacket, tool kit, tubes, water, a snack and a few dollars. Even if you don't need them, maybe you'll be able to help a fellow cyclist out with either a quick roadside repair or an energy boost.
It is a good year-round practice to make sure your bike is tuned correctly, but take an extra few minutes now and give it a once over.
Visually inspect the entire bicycle. Make sure the brakes are working well. Double and triple check that your front white light and rear red light's batteries are functioning. Look at the chain and go through the gears. Now is not the time to be stranded and unprepared! If it does happen, remember that AAA now offers roadside assistance to cyclists, too!
When you are ready to head out for a ride, wear bright clothing, and add reflective strips to your body parts that move (legs, shoes, wrists) for extra safety. If you wear a pack or bag, put reflective strips and a light on it also. Put a flashing light on the back of your helmet to be more visible. I love this idea as it puts light at a motorist's eye level.
The season's change should not prevent you from having fun out on the road or trails. There is even more reason to get out there, as studies show that regular exercise (like cycling every day for 1/2 hour) is great for the mind and the body.
Have fun and happy riding!