While fall colours make Toronto a beautiful place to be outdoors this time of year, falling leaves can create slippery conditions for city cyclists. Turning, braking, and accelerating can become more challenging maneuvers that were previously done with ease, while other hazards can become hidden under damp orange foliage.
Here are a few tips for riding at this time of year:
We recognize that sometimes you just want to get where you’re going, especially if it’s wet out, but getting there safe is the most important thing. In addition to leaves, road paint can become slick and puddles create additional obstacles. Taking it a little slower than you usually would can make the difference.
Brake before you hit the leaves, and then ease off when you’re going over them
This means you should try to be more aware of what’s coming up ahead of you so you can apply your brakes in anticipation. Use your hand signals to tell potential cyclists behind you that you’re slowing down.
Widen the arc of your turn
This can help avoid any “lean-in” which can occur when taking a corner. Keeping more of the grooved part of your wheel in contact with the ground will keep the most traction with the road and avoid unexpected slipping.
Avoid riding over piles of leaves where possible
It’s perfectly acceptable to take the lane instead of riding through a pile of wet leaves. Just make sure you make a head check and indicate that you’re moving into the lane with your arm before you move across.
Contact 311 (online or via phone) to report piles of wet leaves caught in grates
You can also report potholes or road damage, faded road markings (like bike lanes!), and light signalling issues.
Stay tuned for our next series of fall riding tips: all about layering up and staying cozy. And tag us on social media @CycleToronto with your top tips for making the most of the fall splendour!