Cool weather cycling in the autumn is one of my favorite times for recreational riding. With the cooler and crisp air and colorful autumn leaves ablaze as travel through the ravines of the city. I live in Toronto and my goal last year was to cycle every month of the year so I cycled well into December.
Of course in the fall you need to change a bit of your cycling clothing. Besides a jacket and long sleeve jersey you will want cycling knickers (Capri) or pants as well depending on the temperature. I also use arm warmers sometimes as well. If you have ever wondered why some or most cyclist wear the tight riding jerseys and shorts? The sweat moves to the surface, evaporates and help cools the skin.
You may want to consider wool cycling clothing which wicks away moisture, keeps you warm and it odorless as well. Regarding using cycling knickers (Capri) you will not believe how just covering the knees can give you a little added warmth.
As with any cold (cooler) weather outdoor activity it’s all about layering. You do need to be wearing breathable fabrics that “wick” and pull the cooling sweat away from your skin for your base layer and wearing just enough of an outside layer to keep out the wind or rain. Done correctly it works very well, incorrectly and results can lead to a very cold riding experience or worst, hypothermia.
The first layer is your base layer, the layer that is tight to the skin. For example at the bottom your base layer can be either thermals like long johns, a spandex nylon mix similar to your summer cycling outfit or merino wool.
Not only does each layer move the perspiration from my skin to the outside air but between the long johns to the coat heat is trapped. How? Each layer is a litter looser to the fit therefore trapping a layer of warm air between each garment of clothing. You stay warm and dry while all the perspiration moves through until it reaches the outside air
One mistake is to overdress because you are cold in the parking lot before you start. Remember it does not take long to build up heat. Remember if you over heat and sweat too much you can still be put into a hypothermic situation if it grows colder. Remember you can always remove layers if needed.
Dress right and enjoy your cool weather cycling in the autumn.