With the clocks going back last weekend, we’re all now faced with shorter days and colder temperatures so it’s essential that we start checking that our lights are working properly and any kit we are wearing is in good condition.
Weather conditions are changeable at this time of year; cold nights can catch you unaware and lower temperatures bring morning frost and ice – something that we dread as bikers!
We think it’s useful to be reminded that shaded areas and bridges will take longer to thaw and could still be wet and icy long after the sun starts shining so never get complacent.
Dressing appropriately is a must as it can get particularly tiring when we ride for long periods in cold weather, so keep warm! Avoid kit that’s too bulky - it can make you even more exhausted and the added weight may affect how you ride. Investing some cash in a bit of heated gear can make a huge difference on a long journey, even if it’s just a pair of heated gloves.
Whatever the season, regular breaks and staying hydrated will help to keep you alert. It might seem obvious but make sure you’ve always got enough fuel, or charge if you’ve got a new electric bike, and if you’re out on your own then tell others where you are heading; remember that your phone signal can be intermittent, particularly in rural parts.
Talking about electric bikes, remember that the range may drastically reduce in low temperatures so it’s worth keeping an eye on it.
As we are all acutely aware (or maybe not...) deer breeding season will be getting underway shortly, so deer will be more mobile than usual, bringing them onto roads and increasing the risk of collisions. Please stay especially vigilant at dusk and dawn.
The sun is much lower in the sky and glare can be blinding at this time of year. Watch out when riding on tree lined routes; as leaves are shed the ‘strobe-effect’ patterns of light and shade created can be really distracting. Leaves on the road can hide potholes and manhole covers, and wet slippery leaves can appear unexpectedly in shaded areas – certainly something none of us want to encounter!
Generally, we find that fewer bikers will probably be out over the next couple of months, therefore drivers are possibly less likely to be expecting to see us out.
Make yourself as conspicuous as possible and help avoid the dreaded “Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You”.
Above all, enjoy every ride, enjoy the beautiful scenery across Wales and get home safely!