Cycling in September and October is one of the nicest periods of the year. The weather is cooler and more stable plus the cycling paths are less busy. The best part is that everyone seems much less frantic now that the height of summer has passed.
Your packing needs a little more thought as the mornings can be cool and with dew on the ground, you can get a little damp. A few more layers are a good idea and take a rain jacket just in case. Temperatures can plummet from the high 20’s into the early teens once the sun slips behind a cloud or a mountain. It can mean you are stopping and starting a bit to put on or take off layers, but it is worth it. Just remember to pack your layers at the top of your pannier.
Favourite spots for me in late summer are Slovenia, Tuscany in Italy and Southern Austria. With less people and cars on the roads it increases the areas to cycle. In these areas, you can stop for long leisurely lunches at a Agriturismo (Italy & Slovenia) or Buschenschank (Austria). This is normally a vineyard or specialist farm where they only sell what they produce. This means platters of meats and cheese washed down with homemade juices or their own wine, it really is a highlight and one to experience. Just don’t drink and cycle!
One of the special events across the Alps during late summer is ‘Almabtrieb’. Which is when the farmers bring the cows down from the mountain pastures for the winter season. The farmers make colourful headdresses for the cows and the matriarch of the herd will have the biggest and most colourful headdress of all. The noise of the bells and yodeling of the farmers, their offers of Schnapps that has been locally distilled and could possibly fuel a car, make it a sight to see.
Other points to consider in late summer, is hydration. When the temperatures are cooler you can forget to keep drinking. You don’t feel so hot and therefore you don’t consider dehydration. It is a good habit to just focus on drinking at least 500ml per hour even when the weather is cooler.
Another benefit to cycling in late summer is the glut of fruit in the hedgerows that you can help yourself to. Just make sure they are not in a private garden. Blackberries and apples are everywhere at this time of year. Foraging for your own dessert is always a bit of fun and tastes much better than anything you can buy.