Summer seems like it lasted forever here in the Pacific Northwest, but now fall has hit us like a ton of rainy, blustery bricks. If you’re like me, you’re digging through your closet, frantically looking for something to wear on your bike these days. Something you can feel good in – and that means being dry AND looking good.
In the Northwest, fall means that cyclists must be simultaneously waterproof, windproof and prepared for sudden overheating from sunbreaks. Layering is more essential now than ever!
Here’s a roundup of fall cycling gear to keep you dry, warm, cool, safe, and looking your best.
Keep dry on training rides with a lightweight packable shell like the Pro Tech ST from Portland’s Showers Pass or Xenon 2.0 Windstopper from Gore. Both pack away to give you emergency rain coverage without taking up a ton of space.
For commuting and casual rides around town, a rain cape can be a great fall option. Capes from companies like Cleverhood and Seattle-based Iva Jean are a great way to keep yourself dry without overheating. A good cape will keep your legs dry, as well.
Speaking of legs, a good pair of rain gaiters or shoe booties is a great investment for fall. Something lightweight-yet-waterproof can mean the difference between soaking socks and an awesome ride.
LONG SLEEVE JERSEYS
Time to bust out the long sleeves. Ladies can find an inspired new look in this beautiful Mandarin Thermal Jersey from Terry. Ladies and gents both will find cool Western-inspired threads in Club Ride’s “Jack Tech” and “Jill Tech” flannel shirts. Made with technical quick-dry flannel, both men’s and women’s versions have a single rear zippered pocket.
Alternately, throw a bolero over a short sleeve jersey. Several companies make one, but the Infinity Shrug from Pearl Izumi stands out for its zippered front and sleek style.
Merino wool is a fantastic way to stay warm as the temperatures drop. Portland-based Wabi Woolens sell both lightweight and winter weight merino wool jerseys—all made in the USA, to boot.
I have great luck finding merino wool sweaters at thrift shops. For casual rides around town, they will keep you insulated, keep light rain out and hold the stink at bay.
We’re fans of wool here at ORbike and have written extensively about the merits of this fabric for cyclists. [more info]
Fall is also an important time to not only look good but be visible. Check all your lights. Do you need to replace batteries? If it’s time for new bike lights, customize your style with the Knog Blinder Lights, which are a fun square design available with different faceplates, from a heart or flower to a skull and crossbones. They’re bright, durable (totally waterproof) and USB charged for convenience. [Read our review]
My current favorite safety lights are from Infini—entirely because the Wukong and Amuse remind me of a ninja and an alien, respectively.
While you’re adding visibility to your bike, why not add some reflective flair to your own outfit? Spot Me reflective buttons, or reflective helmet bows from onetwothreespeed are both a fun way to be seen.
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS?
How are you staying dry, warm and stylish this fall?
Jessie Kwak is a writer who loves to type about the good life: travel, outdoor adventures, food and drink, and (of course) cycling. You can find her at Bictoro: Bikes and Crafts.