Fall is a great time to extend your bike season beyond the summer sun. It’s very pleasant to ride in the cooler and damper months, it just requires a little preparation.
Ride With Friends!
A great way to keep your summer bike momentum going is to ride with friends. The City’s Portland by Cycle program is hosting a handful of free and fun rides in October to keep you pedaling! Get more information about all the upcoming rides.
Stay Dry and Warm
You don't need the latest and greatest cycling gear to get around town by bicycle. A decent rain jacket and pants are your best defense. They both cut down on wind and keep you dry. If you can afford it, GoreTex or other breathable fabric will keep the rain out and keep you from feeling clammy.
Fenders are also a very good (and cheap!) investment that prevents your clothes from getting gritty and dirty. Nice extras include waterproof gloves, a snug hood or cap, and rain booties to go over your shoes.
Use Front and Rear Bicycle Lights
Lights are required by law when riding after dark (A white light visible at least 500 feet to the front, and a red light or reflector visible at least 600 feet to the rear). For more visibility at night, wear bright clothing, an orange vest, or use reflective tape. The more lit up you are — whether blinking, flashing or solid — the better.
Slow Down on Newly Wet Roads
That first rain brings all the oil on the road to the surface, making for a slippery ride. This is especially true after a long dry spell. Give yourself longer stopping distances and keep a firmer grip on your handlebars.
Brake Early and Often
Allow plenty of stopping distance. Gently squeeze your brakes in the rain to clear the water from your brake pads before you need to stop.
Always do the ABCs of biking!
Air – Is tire inflation OK? Not too squishy?
Brakes – Working well? Stopping you quickly?
Chain & Cranks – Pedaling smoothly? No squeaking?
Check – Anything loose or rattling on the bike? A quiet bike is a good bike!
Always check your quick releases to be sure they are closed and secured tightly.