Cycling in autumn days, you notice a distinct chill in the air, writes Calum Corral.
Some warmer cycling gear, while trying to get home before it gets dark is a bit more challenging, specially now that the clocks have gone back.
Making sure that you, yourself, are well lit, and wearing fluorescent clothing, with good lights on your bike, are all important aspects, but there are plenty of nice autumn days, so there is no excuse not to get out on your bike.
I feel you notice the change in the seasons a lot more when out cycling. For instance in 2013, I cycled in for the Remembrance Parade, and was struck by the frost at Douglas Park which was almost sheet white. It was an idyllic sight.
However, in 2014, the heavy morning frost did not arrive until well into mid-December - I remember I was heading on the top deck of the A1 bus to Kilmarnock, and it resembled a winter wonderland through the Irvine Valley. Given some of the bitter winters we have experienced, perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised, as Glasgow and Moscow share similar latitudes!
There is no doubting that autumn produces some wondrous countryside colours, and even the odd opportunity to catch the aurora and northern lights. With the clearer nights, there are sometimes good opportunities for stargazing. Early morning this week until Thursday, it is possible to see the rare sight of Venus, Jupiter and Mars crossing paths in 'planetary trio' spectacle. You have to be an early riser though, the best time to see it is around an hour before sunrise.
Speaking of unusual sights, I was amazing by the thick fog we had on our shores a few weeks ago. I had cycled down to Hunterston cycle track, and upon leaving the Estate, could barely see a few inches in front of me. It was a bit frightening as a ghostly grey aura was coming out of the forest and all around me, and even the towering turbines disappeared in the mist.
As it was getting dark, and the visibility conditions were not good, I was delighted to use the cycle path back to Fairlie with the new lighting in place along the sightlines at either side of the path. This is of great benefit, particularly at nightfall, as the lights show the perimeter of the track and generally makes for an easier ride back home.
During the autumn and winter months, the cycle path from Fairlie to Hunterston is an excellent area to truly enjoy the changing colours of autumn, before you delve further in to the forests as Hunterston. Cycling onwards to Portencross and who knows what treasures might be lying down by the oceans, after the surprise revelations about El Espiritu Santo - the Armada ship which sank off Portencross on 8 August 1588 -  in Stephen Brown's exciting new book 'The Portencross Armada Conspiracy'.
One thing for sure, there are plenty of treasures in the Ayrshire countryside to enjoy at this time of year.