All time, fall time

As the sun set on summer, we entered what is, for me, the best season for riding. All time, fall time may be a cliché, but it’s also completely accurate.

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Crisp mornings, mild temperatures, moist dirt, no vegetation to snare skin and obscure sightlines – those clear autumn rides are to be cherished.

Which means, of course, that winter is just around the corner. But far from being a depressing prospect, with the right frame of mind, this challenging season can actually be a really enjoyable and productive time to ride. All you need to do is approach it with a different perspective.

Rather than ride the same trails you ride during the summer, at half the speed, feeling like a shadow of your summer prime, mix up your riding spots. Try somewhere new. Explore those woods you always pass but have never bothered stopping and checking out. Go to a bike park and session the same sections over and over again, working on cornering technique or jumping skills.

Set yourself a goal, such as learning how to ride with flat pedals. If you’ve never got to grips with them before, quite literally, then now’s the ideal chance.

Why? Because they teach you so much about correct techniques, about body positioning, about weighting and unweighting the bike. Ironically, by detaching yourself from the pedals mechanically, you actually become far more connected with the bike. It might be a struggle at first, and there will be moments of frustration, but with perseverance you’ll emerge from winter a much better rider with a real sense of satisfaction.