There is major setback to my favourite season: autumn is a time of beautiful colours, crisp days and conkers, but also creeping darkness at both ends of the day.

Depressing though it is, you’ll need extra motivation to get through to the other side – around March – when the good times will roll again.

So what is my plan? Since June I have tried to go out on my bike at least twice during the week. Up until September this hasn’t been a struggle; I’ve only had to battle willpower. But now, I have the darkness and a list of excuses: ‘stay in’, ‘snuggle up on the sofa’, ‘why do you want to go out in the cold/wind/ rain/ snow’? (Fyi, today, it’s all that minus the snow).

The chance to go out at night when the kids are safely tucked up in bed have gone. I need to make the most of the weekends. Sunset tonight is 17.58, sunrise tomorrow 7.48, and this weekend the clocks go back an hour – game over. So night rides and the turbo trainer it is.

I went shopping for fluorescent clothing the other day. Bright, bright, oh so bright. I came away with an orange zip-up jacket, bright enough to be seen 20 miles away. I also have good lights on my bike. Do I really need those funny strap things to go around my ankles or helmet lights, I wonder?

My plan is to ride up and down a nearby bypass on the night rides, it’s quieter than most of the other roads near me and there is a cycle path. It’s 5km each way, and then the short ride to and from home: a short but effective, spin-your-legs-out route. And until spring time it will do for my mid week ride.

The other option for a stay-at-home bit of exercise is the turbo trainer. My husband bought it years ago and it (along with my bike) had been sat in the garage for at least a year untouched: in fact, it was next on the list to eBay but has had a reprieve. I’ll give it a go for the exercise fix; the fresh air and beautiful scenery may have to be put on hold.

Tips for night-rides? I’d be grateful to hear them. Please leave a comment!

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