Dressing for fall riding in Indiana can catch you by surprise. Although many afternoons are sunny and warm, the temperature can drop dramatically around 6pm (when the sun gets low on the horizon). So you need to be prepared. And if you start out riding early in the morning, you will have the opposite experience. A cold start can quickly give way to a hot noontime ride. Fortunately, there is bicycle-specific clothing perfect for this time of year.
The first item that I bring out of my closet are my arm warmers. These lightweight items slip easily over each arm. I can put them on and take them off quickly, and they are small enough to easily roll up and tuck in a jersey pocket or pack. Bicycle Garage Indy offers arm warmers from Louis Garneau, Pearl Izumi, and Gore Bike Wear starting at just $19.99.
As temperatures drop further, and/or there is a cool breeze, I will then add my lightweight wind jacket. Without it, the wind can cut right through my arm warmers and chill me. But a wind jacket, or vest, like the Sugio Zap vest for women ($84.99) blocks that cool air. Like my arm warmers, this can easily roll up and tuck away. And the Zap vest, like so much of today's clothing, features reflective highlights for extra visibility.
As temperatures continue to fall, I will switch from my lightweight wind jacket to a slightly heavier weight jacket. But even these are versatile for ever-changing weather conditions. Pearl Izumi's Elite Barrier Convertible Jacket ($119.99) has sleeves that will zip off, leaving you wearing a vest. Bottom line – the key to comfort is layering of lightweight clothing that can easily be rolled up and stowed away. These are just two of Bicycle Garage Indy's cycling outerwear options.
Now let’s not neglect our legs. As temperatures start dipping below 60 degrees, that is when I start thinking about covering my legs (specifically protecting my knee joints). Leg warmers are the perfect item! Just like the arm warmers, these are easy on/easy off items that can fit in your jersey pocket or bag. I would definitely pay a bit more to get the leg warmers with the zippered ankles. These allow you to put on or take off your leg warmers without removing your shoes.
If you are training for the Hilly Hundred Weekend or another fall ride, these items will hopefully get you through the autumn season. Watch for a future blog which will explain how your clothing should change as you transition to the colder season of winter riding.
Looking for more fall riding tips? Checkout Bicycle Garage Indy' Hilly Hundred Weekend Resource Page for tips on preparing for riding hills, with groups and fall riding in general. And the staff at Bicycle Garage Indy's 3 locations – North Indianapolis (82nd and Dean Road), Greenwood (just west of I65 on County Line Road) and Downtown (in the Indy Bike Hub YMCA @ City Market) – is always ready to help you choose the right gear for any riding you do this fall.