By Linda Laker
How much do you love autumn in Canberra?
We are blessed in Canberra with autumn weather that is perfect for cycling – mild temperatures, glorious autumnal leaf displays and low winds.
La Nina is likely past its peak and neutral El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are expected by mid-autumn. And with Canberra now ‘living with COVID’ with minimal restrictions or conditions, there’s no excuse for not getting out on your bike.
To make the most of Canberra’s spectacular autumn trees, ride up and view their ever-changing colours from Mt Ainslie, or Red Hill, or Mt Pleasant, or Mt Stromlo, or Black Mountain – or all of them!
With the changing of seasons, it’s worth having a think about how to make your ride enjoyable and safe in autumn conditions.
- While La Nina hangs around, take extra care on slippery roads and paths, particularly when there has just been a light sprinkle that can create ‘slick’ conditions.
- Watch out for wet piles of leaves as they can also be slippery.
- Make sure to ride to the conditions – slow down if you need to keep yourself and others safe, even if it means you don’t hit your PB on that ride.
- When stopping and dismounting, make sure to place your foot firmly on slippery road and path surfaces. Otherwise it’s easy to end up in an untidy slide onto the ground as your foot slips away from you, and with your bike probably landing on top of you!
As always, you want to make sure you can be seen and can see where you are going. As dusk comes earlier, particularly for those commuting by bike, it can sometimes creep up on us without realising how much darker it is becoming.
- Make sure you’ve got adequate front and rear lights, and don’t be shy about using them… all day.
- And there’s lots of clothing options now for making sure you are visible – it doesn’t have to be a fluoro jersey – including clothing with reflective patches and brightly coloured casual clothing.
- If you’re out and about early mornings on your bike in autumn, you might find it’s also time to adjust to warmer socks and gloves. Fine wool socks often suit at this time of year to keep feet warm early in the day but then wick away any moisture as you and the day both warm up.
- Good quality cycling gloves can keep your hands warm and dry. This can prevent painful fingers which could slow reaction times to change gears and brake quickly – remembering to feather your brakes of course.
And that rain, well, it means you need to carry a lightweight waterproof jacket at all times so you don’t end up “swycling” (getting so wet it’s like you’ve been swimming and cycling at the same time 😊). And, ride by the maxim: if I have it, I won’t need it.
Let’s hope neutral ENSO settles soon and delivers those classic autumn days we love.