I'm an autumn lover

Autumn tints, anyone?

The “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, Keats called it, and his opening line is surely enough to make any sensitive cyclist welcome autumn’s arrival. Mists, yes; lying low in the valley until mid-morning and occasionally thick enough to soak through clothing in moments. Mellow fruitfulness? The heat of high summer has waned, apples ripen alongside hops, leaves slowly change hue and unleash a feast of colour across the landscape – and it’s all best seen from the saddle.

Which is why autumn is the ideal time of year for a tour. Or for a reflective spin, the legs still supple, the form still good enough for a hill climb and the air warm enough to demand little more than knee and arm warmers with, early in the day, perhaps a gilet.

When it rains, the temperature remains pleasant and the wind, gusty though it may be, is not yet able to blast russet leaves from the boughs. That comes later, as autumn slides inexorably into winter and the cyclist’s lot takes a turn for the less comfortable. Until then, enjoy the season of easy pedalling and, well, agreeable pub stops while on tour.

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