Spring and Fall Riding Essentials

The key to riding comfortably in colder weather is having plenty of extra layers and accessories. Here is some of our favorite shoulder season cycling gear.

Shoulder Season: Spring and Fall Riding Essentials

Written by
Bruce Lin

Published on

Posted in

The cool shoulder season months are my favorite for tackling epic rides, but sometimes the weather will throw you a few curveballs. Don’t let brisk mornings, early sunsets, or surprise rain showers derail your spring or fall riding plans. Here are the shoulder season riding essentials you need to stay comfortable when the weather starts changing. 

[button]SHOP APPAREL[/button] | [button]SHOP ACCESSORIES[/button]

Arm, knee, and leg warmers

Cycling arm knee leg warmersMy warmers come out once it dips below 60 degrees. I prefer old-school Merino wool arm and knee warmers, but anything that covers your exposed skin and wicks away moisture will do the trick.

[product-block handle="giordana-light-weight-knitted-arm-warmer-black-xs-s"/]

They’re easy to slide off when you get too hot or you can add a vest when it gets colder. Mountain bikers will appreciate the abrasion-resistance provided by Fox Racing warmers. 

Arm warmers

Mavic Ksyrium Merino Arm Warmers - $35.99
POC Thermal Sleeves - $39.99 
Fox Racing Arm Warmer - $19.99 

Knee warmers

​​Mavic Ksyrium Merino Knee Warmers - $35.99
Mavic Cosmic H2O Knee Warmers - $39.99
Fox Racing Knee Warmer - $22.49

Leg warmers

Mavic Ksyrium Merino Leg Warmers - $49.99
POC Thermal Legs - $49.99
Fox Racing Leg Warmer - $29.99 

[button]SHOP ALL WARMERS[/button]


Cycling vestsA vest (or “gilet”) is an easy way to add a layer without the bulk of a full jacket. I like to keep one in my pocket/handlebar bag during the fall.

[product-block handle="mavic-sirocco-vest-red-orange"/]

Vests are easy to take off and pack away when you get too warm, but you’ll get some extra style points if you ride with your vest unzipped, flapping in the wind. Sure, it’s not aero, but it looks cool and feels like a cape. 

Mavic Essential Vest - $69.99 
POC Pure-Lite Splash Gilet - $89.99
Giordana FR-C Pro Wind Vest - $169.99 

[button]SHOP ALL VESTS[/button]


Mavic cycling glovesI use light-to-medium-weight thermal gloves that pack away easily, provide a lot of dexterity, and have just enough warmth to keep my delicate fingers happy.

[product-block handle="giordana-g-shield-thermal-gloves-black-small"/]

If you have sweaty palms like me, it’s nice to carry an extra pair so you can swap in dry gloves for cold descents. 

Mavic Ksyrium Merino Gloves - $31.99
Mavic Essential Wind Gloves - $43.99 
Mavic Mistral Gloves - $61.99 

[button]SHOP ALL GLOVES[/button]



I keep a simple Mucky Nutz butt fender mounted on my saddle and just leave it there until the summer.

[product-block handle="mucky-nutz-butt-fender"/]

It weighs nearly nothing and will protect your backside from puddles, damp roads, and light rain showers. For more coverage on really wet days, I ride with a simple clip-on fender from SKS. It’s easy to mount before a ride and then remove later for that perfect Instagram shot.   

[product-block handle="sks-x-tra-dry-quick-release-fender"/]

[button]SHOP ALL ACCESSORIES[/button]


Cycling bike head and tail lightsWhen the days are shorter it’s easy to get caught out by an early sunset. I keep a small set of lights on my bike just in case my plans go awry and I end up riding home in the dark. For years, Lezyne, NiteRider, and Light & Motion have been my go-to brands for quality lights but I recently started using a Garmin Varia radar tail light and love the extra awareness the radar gives me. 

[product-block handle="garmin-varia-rtl515-bike-radar-and-tail-light"/]

If you plan to spend lots of time riding in the dark, especially on mountain bike trails, check out our guide to night riding lights.

Light sets

NiteRider Swift 300 Headlight and Sabre 110 Taillight Set - $49.99 
Lezyne KTV Drive + KTV Pro Pair - $69.99 


NiteRider Swift 300 Headlight - $29.99
Light & Motion VIS 500 Onyx Headlight - $49.99 
Garmin Varia UT 800 Smart Headlight - $99.99 


Lezyne Pro Drive Taillight - $29.99
Light & Motion VIS 180 Pro Taillight - $69.99 

[button]SHOP ALL LIGHTS[/button]

Other bike essentials

Toe warmers and a good thermal sock let me ride comfortably into the low 40s. Like the Mucky Nutz fender on my saddle, I just leave the toe warmers on my shoes until summer returns.

[product-block handle="mavic-toe-warmers-black-small"/]

[product-block handle="poc-thermal-sock-sylvanite-grey-uranium-black"/]

For my head, a thermal headband covers my ears and forehead when temps are above 45 degrees. Any colder than that and I’ll use a skull cap or balaclava. 

Pearl Izumi Barrier Headband - $25.00 

Also, if you ride on the road year-round, fall is a good time to swap to a puncture-resistant tire. Rain, snow, and a lack of street sweeping mean all the nasty tire-killers start coming out to play. 

[product-block handle="nc_continental-gatorskin-black-edition-tire-700-x-27"/]

These essentials will let you add layers and mix and match gear to suit your needs. This combination of products keeps me riding outside until winter drives me into my trainer dungeon. But what works for me may not work for every rider or every place. So what did I miss? What would you add to your list of shoulder season essentials? Let me know in the comments!

[button]SHOP APPAREL[/button] | [button]SHOP ACCESSORIES[/button]

We meticulously (and independently) pick every product, and if you purchase through our links we may earn a commission.

New Arrivals


Newsletter Sign Up