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Life & Style

Autumn Cycling Tips

cycling autumn tips

Do you need some tips on cycling in the autumn? Read on!

Autumn is a great time to be out and about on your bike. Whether you’re commuting to and from work, or just out for a leisurely cycle ride.  The air is cool and fresh, and you get to enjoy the autumnal landscape in all of its glory.  Right now the sun is still (mostly!) shining and the leaves are still on the trees. However, without wanting to be a harbinger of doom, sadly it won’t be long before the nights really start drawing in, the temperatures tumble and we’re awash in a sea of fallen leaves.

My Top Autumn Cycling Tips

autumn cycling tips

The good news is you don’t have to put your bike away in your shed or garage for the season though. I’m here with some handy autumn cycling hints to keep you cycling right through the autumn and beyond!

Lights

The first of my autumn cycling tips is the most important.  Good lights are the most essential things you can carry with you.  Even if you aren’t planning on cycling after dark, dark mornings and shorter days can catch you out if you’re not careful.  

As well as being incredibly dangerous, in the UK it’s illegal to cycle without lights in the dark.  You can get a £30 fixed penalty fine for even missing just one light.  So always carry some front and rear lights with you just in case.  It’s also worth carrying a spare set of lights and a set of batteries too, just in case your batteries run out, or you lose a light.

It doesn’t matter if your lights flash or shine a steady beam just as long as you have them. The law was changed in 2005 to allow for flashing lights, in case anyone says otherwise.  And if you’re going to be cycling in an area with poor street light provision then you will also need a bright fixed beam front light to light your way.  Your local bike shop can advise on the best light for you and your budget.

My top cycling tip this autumn is also to make sure all of your reflectors are in place too. This includes your back reflector, and your wheel and pedal reflectors.  It’s important to be seen by motorists and every little helps.

Mudguards

I am a strong proponent of fitting front and rear mudguards to your bike for any kind of road or pathway cycling in autumn.  Even if it hasn’t been raining, damp roads and paths can still throw up a lot of mud and water.  Mudguards will protect you from a mud-splattered face. This is never a good look if you’re on your way to work or into town to meet friends! It will also stop you from getting a not particularly sexy big brown muddy stripe up your back!

Fallen Leaves

It goes without saying that fallen leaves are synonymous with autumn. Whilst I don’t have a specific cycling tip to avoiding leaves in autumn, I would say you just have to learn to deal with them.  

Piles of fallen leaves on the road or cycle path can look innocuous enough. However, they can actually be hiding a whole host of nasties. From dog poo, to the very worst, a large pothole.   If you maintain a good road position, about one metre out from the kerb, then hopefully you should avoid most of the piles of fallen leaves.

On the off chance that you do come across any then the best advice is if in doubt, move out to avoid the hazard.  Look behind you first to be sure it’s safe to do so. Then signal before maneuvering so that motorists and other cyclists know your intentions.

If they’re wet then fallen leaves can also be slippery under your tyres.  The best way to avoid slipping on wet leaves is to keep a steady pace and not make any sudden movements.  So where possible avoid accelerating, braking, or making any sudden turns on wet leaves.  Brake before you reach the leaves. Then ease up on the brakes as you cycle over them.  If you are executing a turn, the key is to do it slowly without braking.

Tips for Autumn Cycling Clothing

Cold weather can make dressing for a bike ride or commute difficult.  One of my top autumn cycling tips is to layer up.  Instead of wearing one big jacket or jumper, it’s better to add or remove layers as you warm up or cool down.  

A good starting point is to dress so that you feel the cold for the first 10 minutes of your cycle.  If you are warm and cosy before setting off on a ride then chances are within 10 minutes you’ll be a hot and sweaty mess!  However, if you start off cold then there’s a high chance that within 10 minutes you’ll be at a good temperature.

There you have it: my top autumn cycling tips!  What are yours?  Leave them in the comments below! I’ve also some really handy tips on cycling for beginners. And I have a useful reminder on why cycling is good for you, in case you’re tempted to put your bike away in the shed for the autumn!

Happy autumnal cycling!  

Fashion, Life & Style

Ten eBay Buying Tips

ebay buying tips

Looking for tips on buying clothes on eBay? I’ve got ten of my best tips for you today!

This post contains affiliate links

Today I’m sharing my top ten eBay* buying tips!  I would love it if I could afford to shop from ethical brands all of the time. Sadly this is not the case.  This is where secondhand shopping comes in. It’s ethical, good for the environment, and cheap!  

And as a working mum, I don’t always have the time or patience to visit charity shops until I find something I want with a toddler in tow. Therefore, when I need new clothes, then more often than not I head straight to eBay from the comfort of my sofa.

I’ve been buying and selling on eBay for 15 years now. Therefore, I like to think I know a thing or two about shopping online on eBay and getting a good bargain.  So here are my top ten eBay buying tips:

ebay shopping tips clothes

Me in a bargain eBay outfit.  The cardigan (99p), dress (£4.71) and belt (came with another £2 dress) are all eBay finds.  

Ten eBay Buying Tips

I’ve split my guide into two main categories: searching and bidding.

Searching

With so many listings, it can be daunting trying to find exactly what you are looking for on eBay. Here are my top tips for finding what you want without the overwhelm.

eBay can be a bit daunting if you just type in say, size 12 dress.  A search like this will throw up thousands and thousands of results (557,498 at the time of writing!).  One of my best eBay buying tips is to use the advanced search function on the sidebar to narrow down what you are looking for. This saves you from scrolling through hundreds of pages.  

For example, say I want a green dress, in a size 12, that’s knee-length with long sleeves.  I can specify all of these things in the advanced search bar, rather than doing a generic search for a green dress. And I can even specify my budget and if I would prefer it to be secondhand or unworn. I can go further and specify if I want it to be from a specific brand, and if I want it to be located in the UK only.  I find this to be a much more effective search method that’s much quicker in narrowing down what I want.

To do this, search for “green dress”.  Select women’s clothing in the left-hand bar, and then select “women’s dresses”.  From here you can then specify a whole number of variables, as in my example below:

ebay search tips

I got 65 matches, which is a much more manageable number to view!

Look At The Seller’s Other Items

Another top eBay buying tip is if you find something you like then have a look at the seller’s other items.  They might be selling some other clothes that you also like in your size!  It’s often a lot cheaper to package several items together and post them than it is to post two separate parcels. Therefore a lot of sellers will offer a postage discount for multiple items.  If it’s not specified, email the seller to ask.

Buy Out of Season

One of my top eBay buying tips is to consider buying out of season.  For example, if you know you will need a new pair of winter boots then buy them in the summer.  Fewer people will be looking and bidding on them out of season, helping you to get them for the best price.

Create An Alert

If you are looking for something on eBay and are unable to find it you can set up an alert. This means you will be contacted when someone lists an item on eBay that matches your search criteria.

Buy Bundles

When it comes to buying baby clothes on eBay I tend to avoid buying individual items of clothing as postage costs don’t make it particularly cost-effective.  For best value stick to buying bundles of clothing. Just type in, for example, “boys bundle 9 12 months” to search for all the boys 9-12 month bundles.  I also find buying bundles of basics such as vests and sleepsuits very cost-effective – once I bought 15 vests for 99p and £3.00 postage.

Support Charities Whilst Shopping

If you normally shop in charity shops and still would like to support charities through your shopping habits then there is a special eBay for charity page.  Here you can search through all the items for sale, where the seller has specified that they will donate all or some of the final sale profits to charity.  You can also see items listed by charities themselves.  They’ll often list items on eBay that they think will achieve a higher selling price on eBay than in their shops.

tips-for-shopping-on-ebay

Some of my eBay finds from over the years.

Watching and Bidding

Set a Reminder on Your Phone

Add an item you like to your watch list, and set a reminder on your phone for a few minutes before the item ends – that way you won’t forget about it.

Don’t Show Your Hand Until the Last Few Seconds

Another of my best eBay buying tips is to bid in the last few seconds of the auction. That way you won’t push the price up unnecessarily.  This is known as sniping.  

I tend to bid in the last six seconds of the auction ending.  I type in the absolute maximum amount I’m willing to pay and hope for the best!  This way there is also less chance that you’ll get carried away and bid higher than your budget.  Seven times out of ten I win the item for much less than my top budget.  Of course, sometimes I’ve lost the auction, but such is life.  I knew my budget and didn’t go over it, so in the end, I’m a winner even if I didn’t get the item I wanted.

Consider The Auction End Day and Time

If you can, look out for items that end on weekdays during the day.  They tend to go for less than items that end at the weekend.  Of course, this is only effective if you are able to bid during these times.

Other Useful eBay Buying Advice

Charity Donations

If you’re substituting visiting charity shops with shopping on eBay, and not purchasing the eBay charity items, then it’s only right to include a donation, no matter how small to charity.  Thankfully eBay allows you to donate to a charity of your choosing at the checkout.

There you go – these eBay buying tips are how I keep my wardrobe stocked up without it costing the earth or a ton of money.  If you think I’ve missed anything then do let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear your eBay buying tips too!