It’s getting hot out there
The weather has been unusually cooler than normal with all the rain we had this spring, but summer is upon us. Just as we need to be prepared to ride in the rain, we also need to prepare to ride in the heat.
I went on my first long ride in 90 degree weather last week. About mile 15, I questioned my sanity. I didn’t bring enough water, and I was over heated from pedaling too hard. Being an experienced cyclist, I should have known better, but I underestimated the temps.
First rule of surviving a hot ride, be PREPARED.
Give your body time to acclimate to riding in different weather conditions. Ride a couple of short rides in the heat before heading out for on all day adventure. Some days you aren’t going to be able to go as hard as you could on a cool day. Let go of your ego, and do your best without passing out.
Bring more hydration than you think you’ll need. If you prefer using water bottles fill 1 bottle 3/4 of the way full and freeze it overnight. The 2nd bottle, fill half way and freeze. This is the bottle I use for my electrolyte mix. You can either freeze the mix or freeze water and add the mix to the other half of the bottle. The frozen water will act like a giant ice-cube and keep it cool for a few hours. Insulated water bottles are awesome for keeping drinks colder longer. If you use a hydration back pack, add ice.
Less clothing doesn’t necessarily mean you will be cooler. Road cyclist wear lycra for a good reason…it absorbs your sweat to cool your body. Opt for a lightweight option when selecting a summer riding kit or wear lightweight clothing if commuting. You are going to sweat, there’s no getting around it. If you sweat a lot, pack some dry clothes and baby wipes in a pannier. Backpacks tend to make you sweat more and I always opt for a pannier when riding in the heat. Cycling caps are great for keep the sweat out of your eyes and a good way to keep your head from burning.
Protect your skin from the sun. While I joke about having a nice cyclist tan, skin cancer is a real thing and 1 in 50 Americans will develop Melanoma in their lifetime. Lather up with your favorite sunscreen or sunblock before heading out the door, even if you don’t think you’ll be in the sun for that long.
Try to ride at the coolest times during the day. Morning rides are your best bet. If you aren’t a morning person opt for a late afternoon ride after the sun goes down and there’s more shade. If you are commuting to work and want to keep sweating to a minimum, ride slower and avoid hills.
Riding during the summer can be really fun, but it is going to be hot and you are going to sweat. Just bring along some good buddies to commiserate the experience and end your ride somewhere you can cool off.