Riding in the summer heat can really take it out of you. But if you’re like us, it can feel like a real shame to waste all those beautiful warm days sitting inside. While riding in high temps can present its own unique challenges, with the right mix of knowledge, positive attitude and equipment riding you can get the most out of your summer, no matter what the weather report says.
Here are some tips to stay cool and properly hydrated during the summer months:
- Ride Early or Late: Skip the lunch ride when the sun is its most intense, and instead ride in the morning or evening. Also remember that the temperature can be much higher when you’re pedaling on pavement, especially in the heat of the day. If there’s a route that has more shade than others, pedal in that direction.
- Drink Lots of Liquids: Start drinking before your ride, and keep replenishing fluids long after your ride is done. While on the bike, aim to consume one 20-ounce bottle every 30-45 minutes. Also, make sure to mix water intake with a well-fortified sports drink that will help replace electrolytes, carbohydrates and sodium lost via sweat and exertion. Remember, proper hydration starts before you’re thirsty.
- Keep Moving: Movement will keep you more comfortable because sweat naturally cools and dissipates when the wind blows. If you have enough extra water, splash your legs, arms and head to increase evaporative cooling. A jersey with a full front zipper is also a good idea, as it can be unzipped to allow air to pass over your skin. When you stop for a break, don’t stand in the sun. Find some shade.
- Wear a Helmet: Helmets not only protect your brain and make you more visible to motorists, they also help keep you cool. Most helmets include several vents that facilitate air movement across your head. They also offer shade from the sun’s rays. Just remember that the vents will let some sun in, so make sure to abide by our next tip.
- Use Sunscreen: Sunburns hurt and skin cancer is bad. Avoid both by liberally applying sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) before your ride. Use a waterproof version since you’ll be sweating and re-apply if possible.
- Check out more tips and tricks in our in-depth Beat The Heat article in the Learning Center.