The days are becoming shorter, the air is getting cooler, and a new season has officially arrived. With autumn, comes the opportunity for some beautiful scenery and easier cycling rides thanks to the cooler, lighter air than the heavy, thick heat and humidity associated with summer. However, cycling in the fall season also comes with a few new hazards.
The squirrels and chipmunks are scurrying about the roadways much more frequently as they attempt to stock up food for the following season. Watch out, they can be very dangerous to cyclists riding on the road. It happens to also be called fall season, and for good reason because many other road cycling hazards happen to be falling. Walnuts, hedge apples, acorns, and of course, tree leaves are just some of the objects to be aware of when riding a bicycle on the roads.
is traffic. In beautifully landscaped areas that cyclists love to ride in, such as the Smoky and Appalachian mountains, Red River Gorge, Blue Ridge Parkway, and other similar places, many other folks love to see Mother Nature at work, but in a motor vehicle. As is always the case, they’re not always watching out for people on bikes, and many of these roads have plenty of blind corners and hills. So just be aware of the possibility for more than usual traffic.
Another hazard is the weather, of course. Trying to figure out what to wear as the temps are transitioning can be a true challenge, especially on days when you may plan to cycle longer routes. The air temperature can change up to 40 degrees over the course of a long ride in our area of the country, so it’s important to protect yourself from over-chilling or over-heating.
Some quick tips for autumn cycling: dress in layers, and don’t be afraid to take them off or put them on to maintain your comfort on the bicycle (you want your body to feel comfortably cool, not hot or cold); continue to eat and drink as much as you would on a summer ride, it’s always important to stay hydrated and keep your energy level up; stay dry, getting wet when temps are cooler will make any ride miserable and can lead to hypothermia, plus wet roads are much more dangerous with all the fallen debris and animals; use lighter or even clear sunglasses on rides when there is limited sunlight; use front and rear lights on your bicycle to help you to be seen in low-light times.
The autumn season can be a very beautiful and comfortable time of year to ride a bicycle, so get out and continue to ride as much as possible, just be aware of some of the changing hazards that come with the season. Watch out for these hazards and keep the bike upright. Don’t let yourself become the namesake of the season!
It’s been an up and down year for my cycling, no doubt. I started off ready, willing, and able but shortly into the spring season I found some obstacles that slowed me down. In early summer I overcame a few struggles and fully hoped to get going steady again, however as July passed, I only managed to ride once the entire month. Trying to get some momentum again in August, I resorted to a tactic that I’m comfortable with, and at this point, I’m not ashamed to admit that I was ready to do whatever it takes to get back on my bike for good. So I committed to return to Assault On Mt. Mitchell in 2016, and immediately, my passion has returned. And with it, came my motivation and renewed consistency.
Before I can move on mentally, I feel as though I owe a few folks an apology for missing in action (though I’m sure these folks don’t feel it’s owed to them). So without further ado and in no particular order …
First to Tim, the Renaissance Man, sorry I haven’t been there as much this year to support your continued transformation and the beginning of your triathlon career. I’ve certainly missed the great conversation on our rides! Next, to Chris Big Dawg Schmidty, I’m sorry it took me 9 months to get down for a ride with you. For the last 3 years you’ve showed up at nearly every ride I invited you to and I’ve missed riding with you for so many reasons.
To the mass of close friends that I ride with regularly, either at a club ride, century challenge event, small local group ride, or the occasional one on one rides with St. Onge, Madara, Allran, Linn, Toby or anyone else, I’m truly sorry we haven’t gotten to bond on the bike this year. And last but not least, I owe myself an apology for not staying committed to one of my life’s greatest passions.
It it feels great to have renewed energy and be back to regular cycling. I’m very excited to reconnect with all my close cycling friends as soon as possible, in fact I hope all of you can show up for our annual RAM Cycling Oktoberfest ride next month. I’m also very excited to make up ground on my training through the off-season and get back to the Appalachians next May for AOMM and I look to PR once again on the mountain! I don’t use any mirrors on my bicycle, so now that my apologies are out of the way, I’m not looking back any more. The only thing that matters is moving forward and that’s exactly what I’m doing on my bike! Again.
Sincerely, KP masher
RAM Cycling has announced our first official group ride of 2015 will be Oktoberfest! It will take place on Sunday October 18, departing and finishing at Masher’s house on a friendly, fun 65 mile route. The ride will venture into parts of Scott, Woodford, and Franklin counties. Any and all of our RAM Cycling friends and family are welcome to join us. There will only be one group and the pace will be a fun, adventurous 17+/- so if you’re a very fast rider, plan to experience a little more casual pace than usual. Likewise, if you’re a slower rider, plan to exert a little more effort than usual to keep up. If it’s mild and warm, it will be fast and if it’s cool and windy, it will be slower.
Planned rest stops will be at Canoe KY in Peaks Mill and at the grocery store in Stamping Ground. There will be a few small hills, nothing too long or steep and plenty of rolling terrain. There will again be refreshments following the ride at Masher’s. There will not be a segments race competition this year but there’s always a friendly county line race for bragging rights and we should cross at least 3. We hope you can make it!