Friday Group Ride #284

Friday Group Ride #284

The leaves are late here, mostly green and still in their trees. The birds haven’t been fooled. They are moving south in their flocks. Youth hockey has started. The apples are ripe and the smell of wood smoke has begun to appear on the breeze.

On the bike, this transition manifests itself in the incongruity between morning and afternoon temperatures. You need sleeves to leave the house. You return in a healthy sweat.

When I built my last bike I had fender mounts added with the idea that I would mark this time of year with slightly wider tires and mudguards. Right about now, I thought, I’d be ready to stop trying to go fast, that I could settle down and focus on riding through our normally wet New England autumn.

As it turns out, I never like to stop going fast, and I have never mounted fenders on that bike once. In fact, I never even bought the fenders. The tires got wide, but mostly so I could ride single track on that bike, in between and sometimes during, commutes.

The other day I pulled my wool jerseys from the back of the closet and ferreted out my long finger gloves. I’ve even worn them a few times, when the mercury dipped below 50F. It feels, every year, as though I have to learn to dress myself again. Mysteriously, I have all this stuff, but I’ve forgotten the combinations I need to wear it in. Invariably I fail once or twice, end up freezing cold or over-heated.

Transitions are like this. This week’s Group Ride asks, is your season in transition right now? What does that look like? Is it cold yet? Are you racing ‘cross? Are you shutting it down for the year? In Australia, it’s spring. Any of you just now ramping it up down there?

, , , ,


  1. MattC

    Here in the Central Coast of CA, we’re still in the midst of what has been a pretty warm summer (for us). Strange temps in the 80’s again nearly all week (this in a place where very few have AC in our houses cuz it’s hardly ever over 75). We typically need arm warmers year round if we ride early. The only transition we get is when the inland temps start dropping from SO-CAL-summer-hot to our winter temps that are much more ride-able. Bring on the 60’s I say!

  2. Ransom

    Oddly, a sudden and unexpected professional transition has left me with more theoretical time to ride, and three days of riding in as many weeks. I still intend to do a ‘cross race this weekend, but my expectations are low for anything other than becoming dirty. I’m bummed, as I was coming off of what was, for me, an above average run of fairly consistent time on the bike. I think I was almost ready to break into the top half of Masters C (snicker)… Mostly I’m tired of deferring racing again until I’m “ready”, whatever that means.

    I’m also still learning to dress for anything other than warm and dry, or cold (cold by PDX standards). I have a good but not perfect set of gear. I’m still completely stymied by what to do when it rains but isn’t that cold, though this is clearly something cycling at large has either sorted to satisfaction or at least arrived at the best guess at what to be resigned to. It’s also much of the next six months.

    1. winky

      The conditions “rains and isn’t cold” is what we get a lot of in Vancouver. Starting with summer kit, if I need extra warmth, I add a long-sleeve thermal base-layer top below 10C (maybe 14C if it’s raining). This covers my arms and gives me 2-layers on my torso. I find separate arm warmers to be a pain and only use them if I know I’ll be taking them off later in the ride and need to stow them. I’ll add a gilet if required. I can’t stand “waterproof” shells (too flappy and sweaty), so I focus on being warm enough, but don’t care in the slightest about being dry. I cover my knees and then legs as the temperature drops below about 8C. It needs to be close to snowing (below 5 and raining/sleeting) for me to pull out a jacket. If it’s really snowing (very rare here), I’ll take the bus. Shoe covers and gloves to taste.

  3. Peter Leach

    As I write, it’s 15.8C with clear blue sky, heading for 27C and the chance of an afternoon shower [with all due thanks to the Bureau of Meteorology]. Oh, that’s in Queanbeyan, NSW and at 576 metres above sea level.
    My transition is not so much from winter, through spring to summer, but back onto the bike. My friends [as I call the assorted bone grafts, LISS plate, screws and cables that now make up my right femur] and I have been having sessions on the trainer for the past couple of weeks and are hoping to be riding on the road by the end of the month. This morning’s transition was not so much clothing oriented as scenery oriented – I opened the garage door and rode looking outside rather than at the garage wall :-). That said, it was bibs and short-sleeve jersey weather in the garage, rather than arm warmers.
    So, in answer to Robot’s question: “Yes, I’m ramping it up” down here in Australia. My target is still to ride the community challenge stage of the Tour Down Under in January, but the full distance is looking like a struggle rather than a challenge.


    The transition has begun. I had to avoid leaf lookers on the Blue Ridge Parkway today. A sure sign that fall has come to the mountains of western North Carolina.

  5. Stephen Barner

    I wouldn’t be sutprised if someone did a study and found that fenders actually help aerodynamics. They certainly don’t have any major negative impact, especially compared to the additional resistance to movement caused by additional clothing layers. For me, what really saps the joy from my soul are the winter cycling boots, two layers of tights, and the ultimate boat anchor, studded tires. The only positive aspect about winter riding is that it’s still far more engaging and fun than driving, and it feels so good when you shed layers and gear as it warms back up in spring.

  6. Michael

    Definitely riding the forest trails with a little bit of wist. I know the snow will be there soon – already getting snow 1000′ above town, but it is still melting off in a couple of days. I have a commuter with fenders. I find fenders on my road bike are worth doing when I am living somewhere wet, but their wind-catching abilities are really quite impressive (yes, Stephen, at least mine – cascade designs – are not aerodynamic), so I prefer not to have them if they are not needed. So I will ride and enjoy the change of seasons, carrying arm and leg warmers after it warms up, knowing that in a couple more weeks, it is tights and jackets for seven months.

  7. you big dummy

    as my memory slips season to season, I utilize the Notes app on the phone to keep a retentive log of winter wear based on activity….(in Fahrenheit)

    52° (44 Garmin) morning 45 mile damn fast airport road shop kit, PI black thermal base, thin arm warmers, target gloves, wool socks, shoe covers, knee warmers, tshirt sleeve buff…slightly too warm @ times

    52° (44 Garmin) early morning road interval workout – PI shorts , PI black thermal base,Gore jacket, target gloves, wool socks, buff…slightly too warm @ times

    52° 82%Humidity (46 Garmin) night road Easy spin B ride w fast finish , PI black thermal base,Gore jacket, long tights, target gloves, wool socks, buff…slightly too warm @ times

    49°& dropping road,night, 45 miles, high intensity, shop kit, knee warmers, wool socks w/ overshoes, green l/s jersey,, arm warmers, clear vest, target gloves, cut-off t-shirt sleeve on head (works, try it) . Should have brought buff, second gloves & jacket for ride back home

    42° 90 mile fast road ride to Longwood, shop kit, izumi base layer, thick blk arm warmers, knee warmers, wool izumi socks w toe warmers, t-shirt sleeve on head, North Face windblocker gloves, clear vest…froze for an hour then better as sun came up

    42° commuting road bike from house : shorts , toe warmers, T-shirt, thermal, or PI base layer, pearl izumi jacket, light gloves (not enough ) shirt sleeve buff- need thicker socks

    41° -63° (36 Garmin) early morning airport high intensity road 60 miles PI shorts ,knee warmers, PI green thermal base,Clear vest, target & NF wind gloves, wool socks, shoe covers, buff…gloves, vest & buff too warm when pace picked up.

    40° dirt trails: shorts, wicking T-shirt, wool base layer black jacket toe covers

    39° commuting : jeans or NF pants, toe warmers, T-shirt, PI base layer, pearl izumi jacket, big gloves w shadow gloves under, red buff, face buff, goggles (Marmot jacket is too much)

    30 commuting : long undies, zip off pants, base layer, marmot, hoodie, PI jacket, 2 buffs, 2 gloves, goggles, 2 socks w toe covers…

  8. Pat O'Brien

    Here in SE Arizona, our Thursday morning group actually had jackets on for our 0730 starting time. At 58 degrees, I put on knickers to help my old knees. The horror………

  9. Aar

    After two consecutive “seasons that weren’t”, I’m having a total knee replacement in 11 days. As soon as that knee gets enough range of motion to pedal a bike, I’ll start a long period of trainer sessions and, as soon as possible, get back on the road. Then, it’s time to start rebuilding the 3-4″ of muscle mass I’ve lost to this long term deterioration of my knee.

    I rarely find cause to change from knickers and long sleeve jersey to wind proof tights and jacket but have them just in case. Looking forward to using my winter riding gear!

  10. Spiff

    In the DC area, things have not slowed down. I’m finally doing the fast group rides. I feel like I can count the number of rides I have left before Thanksgiving gets here. There are no more big rides planed for my club. For those that like Cross, the season looks to be bigger than ever. I’m wanting to go the the mountains, but the days are shorter and the tree gazers will be out in force. I’ve done a preliminary sorting of my cool weather gear, bothe for the bikes and my kits. But I’m not quite ready for winter.

  11. Andrew

    We are enjoying the nicest Fall in memory, here in MN. A couple of cold mornings, but it’ll be 75 tomorrow for the Filthy 50 gravel race. Leaf color is great too.

  12. Don Jagoe

    Also a New Englander and also transitioning. It is exactly in that spot where a pretty lean person, which I am, gets colder than others, and sleeves and long tights are more comfortable. But then some person streaks by in short sleeves, short bibs and I feel wimpy. BUT, I am out there, the sugar maples are brilliant red and it is pretty glorious. The next few weeks are all about figuring out those kit combinations again. Fun stuff.

  13. winky

    Now on the winter bike for the daily commute here in Vancouver. It’s getting damp, and the leaves are turning and it is just spectacular. Lights are needed to be seen, but not yet to see by, unless heading out early. Plenty of room in the bike locker at work. Tourists are dispappearing from the park. Cruise ships are (almost?) finished. Things feel like they’re slowing down. Nice.

    We had no winter here last year, and this one looks like being the same…. Still warm enough for summer gear in the evenings. Cooler in the morning, but not really glove weather.

    Cross season has started. Our club’s event is next weekend. I’ll help set-up and do photos, like I do most years.

  14. Scott G.

    Aren’t fenders banned by the UCI as an aerodynamic aid ?
    Back to clothing, I put bigger bags and carry a set of toe straps.
    In tweeny weather, I’ll need to take off a jacket and switch gloves
    at the mid ride break. Gloves in the bag, jacket strapped to the bag
    loops on the saddle.

  15. david

    Well, I thought it was beginning- we had snow above 10,000ft last week and the mountain tops were all white. But on today’s ride it was 85F, sunny down in Denver. Summer kit for sure. Tomorrow is supposed to be 10-15 degrees cooler, but around here it can change in a minute.

  16. Ron

    My lord, I thought I was the only one who forgot how to dress for a new cycling season! Every year, no matter what, when fall rolls in, I can’t believe I have to wear all this stuff again!

    Fall is coming here in NC, but that just means no more 90*F + days, more like 75* during the day, 55* overnight. I could happily live this way year round. I’m from upstate NY, so colder weather doesn’t bother me. I swear southerners are happy in an absurdly narrow range. Below 68* is too cold, above 80* is too hot. It’s either heat or A/C. That’s the one thing about living in the south that bugs me.

    No cross. Not even time for long road rides. This year, after saying I would many times in the past, I’m going to finishing writing my dissertation and finally finish my Ph.D. I’ll have the rest of my life to ride bikes!

  17. Tom in Albany

    Albany, NY here so, season is going similar to yours. I haven’t forgotten the how. What’ I’ve forgotten is the where. I’m still digging the warmer stuff out! Or, worse, forgetting that I should wear it!

  18. Dan Murphy

    I’m just west of Robot, so it’s getting cool now. I end up using the cross bike more, mixing road and trail and really enjoying it. The colder it gets, the less likely I am to use the road bike – the cold wind just kills me. Going in the woods and riding slower is more enjoyable to me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *