How not to fail at fall cycling


Photo by Hannah Spence

How not to fail at fall cycling

Story By Cayley James 

The muggy, salad days of summer are behind us. Now’s the time to don your cardigan, grab those warm beverages and take a stroll through the park kicking up leaves and carving those pumpkins because: AUTUMN IS HERE. With crisper days come longer often drizzly nights with roads lined with slick leaves. In these conditions there is an even higher chance of taking a header off your bike or skidding out of control. So heed our advice (AKA common sense) and it’ll be smooth sailing all season … until the black ice that is. But that’s another post all together.

1. Slow Down Speed Demons

It’s tempting with more and more bikes lanes popping up around the city to ride full tilt. But just like the cars we share the road with you’ve got to be conscientious of the slick pavement when braking. Like anything involving speed you lose an element of control. Braking abruptly won't work in the rain. I speak from experience and after one too many close calls I’m happy with my new Sunday driver persona.

2. Cutting Corners

A few years ago a pal of mine, Pete, took a corner too quickly, hit a pile of wet leaves, fishtailed and landed on his right elbow causing a hair-line fracture. He had to wear his arm in a sling for 8 weeks. That’s 8 weeks of awkwardly making sandwiches with one hand and showering with a plastic bag over your arm. Don’t be like Pete. Stop. Then turn.

3. Light Em Up

Being safe doesn’t always look cool but it can save your life. High-vis jackets, ankle reflectors, and lights - don't forget your lights! - are all night riding essentials. Our commutes are all going to be getting a lot darker, a lot sooner so motorists and other cyclists will thank you when you’re lit up like a Christmas tree.

4. Don’t Be a Hero 

Say you’ve got a green light, and you’re going at a good clip, you want to make a left hand turn through a busy intersection that’s littered with a mess of streetcar tracks, but maybe you should think twice. Whether it’s tracks or big metal plates that crop up during construction, or even that slick green paint that gets slippery when wet, why risk a spill? Hop off and use the cross walk with the pedestrians or proceed with caution. And be sure you are crossing streetcar tracks at a 90 degree angle.

Overall: Give yourself lots of time to brake, go more slowly and be sure to be seen.


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