It hard to enjoy summer cycling without dealing with summer heat. With daytime highs in central Indiana likely average above the 80℉ mark, you must exercise with care to avoid heat related injuries. Here are the basics for comfortable and safe hot weather cycling.
Ride with water. You don’t realize how much you are sweating on a moving bicycle. That makes it critical to be drinking 18 to 24 oz. of fluid for every hour of exercise. Mount a bottle cage or 2 on your bicycle, and always ride with one or two bottles on any ride over an hour. Learn to drink while riding, or ride with one of the many hydration packs available, which allow you to drink almost hands free. It is also a good idea to find an energy/electrolyte drink or drink mix that tastes good to you. It is easier to drink when you enjoy the taste!
Wear the right clothes. The wrong materials will leave you wet and clammy. Wear a dry tech fabric like CoolMax™ shirt or cycling jersey to wick moisture away from your body to cool you faster. Cycling shorts, while valuable for their padding, are also designed to wick away perspiration that will irritate, keeping you more comfortable.
Helmets can be cooler! Today’s cycling helmets have been found to be cooler, due to their updated venting designs. You can also were a fabric helmet liner that can be dampened with water to aid in cooling your head.
When you ride. Beat the heat by riding either early in the morning, or later in the evening, if your schedule allows. Be sure to wear bright clothing, and ride with the appropriate lighting for the conditions.
Where you ride. When the days are hottest, don’t ride in the middle of an open field! Choose rides that provide shade, even if for just part of the ride. Or take advantage of the shaded parks and trails, even it means you have to adjust your riding style. And when you are hottest, be sure to use the shade to stop and cool yourself.
Protect your skin. As with any summer activity, be sure to apply proper sun screen to you arms, legs and face, and protect your lips, the back of your neck, and maybe, the top of your head. While it doesn’t keep you cooler, avoiding sun burn will have you cooler after your ride.
So don’t let hot weather stop your riding. Just like rain, cold or wind, it just takes a little planning and preparation to keep your riding comfortable in any kind of weather.
Water on your bike
When riding in hot weather, your body needs at least 20 oz. of fluid per hour of riding to replace your losses due to perspiration, so two bottles are essential for your longer rides.
Other Hydration options
Insulated water bottles and hydration packs help make it easier to stay hydrated on your hot weather rides. A hydration pack also allows for “hands-free” drinking while rolling.
Helmets are cooler!
The vents in the latest helmets designs will have you cooler than riding with no helmet at all! You can also use a helmet liner, moistened with water, to keep even cooler.
Where You Ride
Take advantage of area trails and parks to ride in the shade, rather than riding exposed on open country roads. They also offer shelters and water cooling spots along the way.