Spring & Autumn Road Clothing Guide
Generally the most difficult time of year to dress for, spring and autumn can place you firmly on the weather god’s huge roulette wheel. With weather ranging from ‘baltic’ to ‘scorchio’ and relative calm to extreme winds, there are clothing options which can help cover the in between seasons.
The core of seasonal cycling kit, a good base layer will keep you warm and fairly dry. Even when base layers get damp, they still provide their insulating qualities. Often made from synthetic fibers or merino wool, they wick away sweat and allow you to stay warm and reducing the chance of you catching a seasonal cold.
While summer socks are all well and good when it’s warm and your feat need to be kept cool, chillier months need more substantial socks. Not full winter thermals, but not thin summer either – sock middle-ground is where you should aim for happy feet in spring and autumn.
Long shorts or short longs, however you think of them ¾ tights are a good option for in between seasons. Just as with shorts and tights, look for a comfortable pad to keep you pedaling comfortably for longer.
Also known as sleeveless jackets and vests, gilets can provide extra warmth for your torso when the weather changes. Thin, rainproof gilets are good for folding up into rear pockets for those spring and autumn showers. More substantial, warmer gilets can add another layer when the temperatures take a dive.
While there is some crossover between full-zip, long-sleeve jerseys and thin seasonal jackets, more substantial jackets, ideal for cooler more changeable weather often get a lot of wear. Heavier duty jackets are also ideal for winter- spring and autumn-winter, or for anyone who tends to ‘feel the cold’ more and would rather be on the toastier side of ‘warm enough’.
Helmets are generally comfier with something between your head and the helmet. For chillier times of the year, a warm skull-cap can add an extra bit of comfort to your riding. If you ride a well ventilated helmet, a warm skull cap for spring and autumn is a must.
For cooler days, particularly early mornings, neck warmers are ideal for keeping your neck muscles warm. They can also reduce aches and pains from hours of holding your head in a relatively fixed position as you ride along.
Depending on your usual weather conditions, gloves which are either water resistant or wind proof can make riding in spring or autumn much more bearable. Spring and autumn gloves don’t need to be as thick / warmth focused as winter gloves, and so usually allow more dexterity for shifting gears or taking a phone pic. Full finger or persist with summer mitts? This largely depends on where you live and how cold spring and autumn can get, it’s also dependent on the extent to which you feel the cold.
Spring and autumn riding can get really quite dirty, covering your shoes both protects them from the road and trail filth and also offers some wind / rain protection. If you suffer from cold feet, overshoes are well worth investing in. Before buying overshoes, check your shoe heel doesn’t pass too closely to your cranks as you pedal – allowing enough of a gap will ensure your new overshoes don’t quickly develop a hole from rubbing the crank.