It’s always fun finding out when the first frost of the year will appear. There is something magical and beautiful about the ice (although also a bit scary when riding). In 2021 the first time I spotted any frost on my morning ride was 6th October. I think my fingers noticed it before my eyes! That first frost always catches you out a bit.

Icy shoots

Spin the Wheel

At this time of year, getting dressed in the morning for a cycle commute is always a bit of a gamble. Spin the wheel, suit up then get outside and hope you guessed correctly.

You can plan all you want (and I spend ages scanning the weather apps for the next day’s forecast), but sometimes you are just guaranteed to get it wrong. This works both ways during the change into deep autumn…

There will be days when the BBC promise a crisp frosty morning so you place layer upon layer, only to find out the sun has decided to give us a last gasp attempt at a summer’s morning. Before long you’ll be dripping through the layers ready to explode with the effort.

The next day you’ll decide not to make that mistake again, so trim back the gear and get the fingerless mitts out again. Obviously, this will be the day the sun decides it can’t be bothered to get going and you’ll be a shivering wreck. Next thing you know you’ll be cursing your fingers and toes as the feeling gradually disappears from them before turning to a stabbing pain.

Icy Post

Autumnal Tips

I’ve been doing the cycle commute for nearly a decade now and there are still times when I get it wrong. However, you can attempt to mitigate the problems with some simple steps. These are especially useful if you are commuting both ends of the day:

  1. Go for layers instead of thick clothing (save that for when it gets really cold). You can always remove one or two either on route or for the reverse journey.
  2. Bring a spare pair of gloves (either fingerless or not, the opposite of what you wear first of all). It’s very easy to switch if you find it too hot or too cold.
  3. Keep your feet warm. Good socks or overshoes are essential. I never have a problem with my feet overheating, but definitely notice them getting cold before anything else.
  4. If you do find yourself getting cold, use it as motivation to push yourself and put more effort in to warm up the blood flow.
  5. Cold fingers are a nightmare so keep wiggling them if you feel the chill starting to bite. Use your breath to give them a boost if that doesn’t work.

Let me know if you can think of any others.

I’m not a gambler myself, so like to have a bit of certainty that whatever happens, I’ll be okay.

Don’t be put off by the changing seasons. Some simple planning and a bit of experience will let you work wonders. It really can be a wonderful time if year to ride, with stunning sun rises and crisp clear mornings.

Morning light

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Comments (3)

  1. Felix


    For cold days (freezing and below) I use my skiing helmet. It\s essentialy an insulated bike helmet, perfect for cold days.

    I also recommend NOT dropping and loosing those middle warm bike gloves that you love, leaving you with fingerless or winter to choose from!

  2. Felix


    I’d like to recommend a skiing helmet for temperatures below zero. It’s essentially an insulated bike helmet, made for sporting in freezing weather. Perfect.

    Also: Don’t loose those beloved middle gloves because you’re clumsy, and have only thin, fingerless, or heavy winter gloves left.

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