We’re now past September 1st. Which means it’s officially Autumn. Like Spring, Autumn is a transitional season, bridging the warmth and brightness of Summer and the cold and darkness of Winter. And transitional seasons mean very changeable weather. Whilst temperatures and weather fluctuations are similar to Spring, psychologically, Autumn is very different. Whereas Spring feels positive, because you are moving away from the cold months and into the warmth of the summer, Autumn only brings you closer to the cold clutches of Winter.
Like Spring, you need to have flexibility in your Autumn cycling wardrobe. And if you read our clothing guide to Spring, then you’ll be pleased to hear that a lot of the suggestions in that article work very well in Autumn. In fact, a lot of the recommendations below should be a staple of your cycling wardrobe.
And don’t put away your summer jerseys or shorts just yet either. Autumn has been known to throw an Indian Summer our way. Fingers crossed!
The all-weather Mossa should be a staple part of any rider’s wardrobe. It was designed for days when it’s raining, cold or windy, and in the Autumn you’re likely to get a combination of all three! It performs best when a rider is cycling at a good tempo, this enables it’s thermal properties to work best, as the Mossa does not make you warm, the Mossa maintains you body temperature and keeps your skin dry. These attributes are perfect for cyclo-cross riders, especially as you can have the Mossa printed in your club or team colours. It’s available in a short sleeve version, so teamed up with arm warmers gives flexibility if the Autumn day hots up. Or opt for the long sleeve version to take you into Winter. You can read an in-depth review of the Mossa here.
Long sleeved jersey
As the days get cooler, then a good choice of garment is a long sleeved jersey. Parentini’s features a soft, brushed microfiber fabric. This fleece like material traps warm air against your body, keeping your temperature higher. The fabric features the added performance of carbon. This adds antibacterial properties but also increases breathability. Team with a quality polypropolene base layer and you should feel dry and comfortable, even on a hard ride. Long sleeved jerseys are very versatile. During Autumn they can be worn with a short sleeve or long sleeve base layer depending on the outside temperature, and can even be used on warmer Winter days, if you wear a thicker base layer and team up with a windproof gilet.
The gilet is another item that should be a wardrobe staple. If you don’t own one then I suggest you buy one now. During Autumn, worn over thinner jerseys, they help to keep the cold wind off your chest and keep your core temperature up. Choose wisely and it will roll up tight, so can be carried in back pockets, adding flexibility on Autumn rides if the weather changes. Which it usually does. Parentini’s gilets are made out of their own, exclusive K-Dry fabric. This is waterproof, windproof and offers great breathability. It’s fabric properties are soft to the touch and very thin, so ideal for packing into a rear pocket.
Some days it might start to rain whilst you’re out riding. Or you might be going for a leisurely ride in bad weather and therefore not be operating at the right temperature for the Mossa. On days like these a thin rain cape comes in handy. Parentini’s K-Dry rain capes are thin, so roll up very easily, and are both windproof and waterproof. However these are no ‘boil-in-the-bag’ garments – the breathability is excellent. We have an in-depth review of the K-Dry rain cape here.
Roubaix bib shorts
Imagine your normal shorts, but with a nice brushed, fleece like inner lining. These are Roubaix bib shorts. They add great flexibility to your riding. Pair these warmer shorts with knee or leg warmers, and then if the temperature fluctuates during your ride, you can regulate your temperature easily. Cyclo cross riders should add a pair of these shorts to their kit bag.
Parentini have three thermal bibshorts in their range – the P.1000 features Thermo Roubaix, the Shark is made with Super Roubaix, a slightly warmer material. And new for 2015 is the Shark K-Dry. These feature an exclusive water-repellent treatment. Unlike other companies’ treatments, Parentini’s retains the core fabrics’ softness without any stiffness. All three shorts use Parentini’s premium carbon pads. The P1000 uses the C6 Flou (long distance specialist pad) and the Shark versions use the high-performance pad – the C6 HT.
Base layers are another staple item. During Autumn it’s wise to have a variety of weight and sleeve lengths to choose from in your kit collection. This way you can mix and match depending on the outside weather, to achieve your optimum riding temperature.
The most important thing is what material the base layer is made from. Parentini’s base layers are deliberately made from polypropolene. There is a good reason for this. This article goes into the reasons why in great depth.
Arm, leg and knee warmers are a superb choice for this time of year. They bring flexibility to your cycling kit – adding warmth when you need it. So if you’re heading out early morning in cool temperatures then the temperature goes up during your ride, you can remove and allow the cooling affect on your arms and legs to lower your body temperature.
These essential items usually come in two different weights – a thin lycra version and a warmer ‘roubaix’ type. If you get the size right, Parentini’s warmers fit very well, due to their silicon grippers. Their knee and leg warmers also feature an anatomic cut. They may look strange when held up, but that kink in the shape, coupled with the stretch material, results in a perfect fitting and comfortable warmer.
Parentini have introduced K-Dry versions of their warmers. These would make a perfect choice for Autumn. Taking 2 years to develop, with an exclusive treatment, Parentini aimed for water repellency without stiffness – the result is warmers that are super soft but tough in bad weather.
Depending on the outside temperature, you could still wear track mitts in the Autumn. But for me, a good choice in these months is a pair of Roubaix gloves. Parentini’s are long fingered, slim fitting gloves, that feature a Roubaix inner lining for warmth. The gloves aren’t bulky and with the silicone gripper pattern on the palm, dexterity on the bars and brake/gear shifters is very good. These are a great choice for cyclo cross riders.
Again, outside temperatures may dictate that you can carry on wearing thin summer socks. But with most people’s toes being the first to succumb to lower temperatures, wearing an oversock might be a good choice. However, I usually opt for Parentini’s thermal socks. These are a thin, anatomic sock, made with a weatherproof Windtex membrane and a Roubaix brushed inner lining for warmth. Like the previous gloves, these socks aren’t bulky, so you won’t suffer from your shoes pinching.
Autumn isn’t really cold enough for an under helmet skull cap. A traditional cycling cap (or biretta) is ideal. They fit under a helmet easily, add warmth and the peak not only keeps rain from your eyes but also shields your eyes from the low-lying sun at this time of year. You really should have a few cycling caps in your collection.