Summer is here! This is the best time to cruise around beautiful lakes with your very own bike and enjoy the charming beauty of nature. Riding in the heat is much more appealing and it can’t get much better during winter. But, of course, the one challenging thing is how your body reacts to high temperatures and deals with it.
A cyclist must adjust to the heat in summer. The preparation has to cover surviving in all kinds of hot weather from the scouring heat to the wilting humidity. Severe illness like heat stress due to radiant heat, high humidity and elevated air temperature may occur during bike riding. It will test your ability to dissipate heat and body’s control mechanism. So, necessary precautions or a few basic knowledge is a prerequisite before going for hot weather/summer cycling.
To enjoy the best summer cycling experience, it is better to train your body how to keep cool and cope with heat. Below you’ll find some simple tips on hot weather riding.
Be Hydrated & Fresh
Staying properly hydrated is mostly important for the body. But, maintaining hydration is one of the biggest challenge when it comes to cycling in hot weather. It becomes hard for you to measure how much fluid your body is losing because you sweat more in summer and they evaporate quickly trying to cool your body down naturally. If you aren’t careful enough you might end up losing excessive water from your body and get early stage of hyperthermia. Sometimes, hyperthermia can be patient. ‘Drink when you are thirsty’- It’s not the best possible method when you are riding.
Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day, so that there will be water inside when you ride back tomorrow. Amazingly in a hot day you can drink as much as 2 bottles during a long ride. You must start sipping from the very start of your ride till the end. Electrolytic drinks help recovering from cramping, so it’s a great thing to keep while riding. Eating is another important criterion. You must maintain a diet that has a lot of carbs and proteins while riding. Insufficient eating might make you feel sick and won’t get the required energy to ride along.
Dressing Tips for Summer Riding:
- Wear Lightweight materials with wicking properties
- Wear well-fitting pair of shorts
- Apply chamois cream on your delicate parts to prevent aggravated rubbing
- Wear 100% UV /polarized cycling sunglasses
- Use fingerless track mitts and lightweight cycling socks
- Wear Bandana/scarf under your helmet or around your head to wipe the sweat off your eye-brow. In order to cool yourself up, wet them with bottled water at regular intervals.
Cycle clothing has evolved tremendously along with all other types of cycle accessories. Nowadays, good quality and cheap clothing are available in abundances. Choose lightweight clothes if you are going for a long summer ride and check the material of the jersey before wearing it. Try full zipped up jerseys and make sure the material has wicking properties. Stopping is much more painful when riding in the heat because stagnant air makes you sweat faster.
Have A Better Idea of Your Route
Riding in summer days is not like dealing with snow, rain or potholes during winter. Summer brings a different set of road conditions. Situations can worsen and you have to be ready for that. Slippery patches and sticky tar is often found on road surfaces because of the melting of tarmac. The tar gets stuck to the tires sometimes and attracts dirt and grit causing an unstable ride.
Know your route! Roads under dense trees become slippery during summer, at the side of the road and at different junctions you may find a lot of loose patches and tractions, watch out for them, also watch out for wet roads after rains and storms.
Take shorter rides with a lot of rest periods in between. Take it easy; do as slow as you can rather than just rushing with your bike without even considering the imminent climate. Yes! It is easier than you think. As time flies, your body will start adjusting to heat changes and riding will be more fun then. The whole process is similar to the one pro-cyclists do before a cross-terrain race.
Use Sun cream
It is not temporary cycling tan marks or lines that should be your concern, but the damaging sunburn! Excessive ultraviolet exposure and damaging sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer. So, use sunscreen lotions on your exposed body parts before going out on a ride. Areas like legs, face, arms, back of the neck, calves and front of your legs above the knees should be covered with sunblock for protections.
Choose Your Riding Time Wisely
It is wise to avoid cycling during the hottest period of the day when sun’s rays are severe than ever. Drivers may start their cycling journey with pleasant weather, but as the day goes on, it will get hotter and is tremendously difficult to carry on. Driving more erratically begins at this point. It has been observed that a difference of only 15 minutes can definitely break your journey.
As there is plenty of sunlight in summers, you can either start very early or at the end of the day to avoid weather hazards. In the very early mornings you can get fresh air, quieter roads and enjoyable nature, at that time, the sun is mostly hidden and the rays are not severe. Another suitable time is evening time, if you are equipped with lights, you won’t be bothered much if the sun goes down. You may come across a bunch of raging drivers trying to reach their destination if you came out too late from your house for summer bike riding. Keeping gilet or lightweight windproof with you on an evening ride is another good idea.