Summer may seem like the perfect time to ride and explore on your bike. But with much of the country sweltering under a roasting sun, riding in summer can be quite a challenge. But with proper preparation and providing attention to your body’s needs, hot weather cycling can be fun and exciting.
Keep these tips in mind to stay cool and ride strong in a hot, humid weather.
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Plan your route
Spontaineity is what I like most about cycling. You can just grab your bike, put on your helmet, and then hit the road. You can go just about anywhere, and plan your route depending on how you feel. But for weather cycling, it is best to have a specific destination in mind and plan your route in advance. Putting some thought into your route can help improve safety, avoid frustrating delays, and maximize training gains.
You can use a cycle map when planning your route. If you can get your hands on a local bike map that highlights lower traffic roads, bike lanes, and trails, the better. If not, you may also use Google maps or some apps to map out a bike route. Bike Hub, BikeBrain, BikeMap.net, and MapMyRide are some of our top picks for the best route mapping apps. Use these apps to map your route and track your cycling fitness. These apps include features that will calculate the calories you burned, distance, and pace.
Avoid the hottest parts of the day
During the summer months, the temperatures rise up to 3-digits in some parts of the country. Heat exhaustion and dehydration can creep up.
An early morning ride is great, especially for hot weather cycling. It may be difficult to ignore the warm and cozy feeling of your bed, but getting out on the road early has its benefits. It provides quieter trails and roads and cooler conditions. You’ll be almost done before the sun rises high to scorch the earth. This, along with the beauty of the sun peeking above the horizon is enough of a reason to cycle at dawn. If you’re not a morning person and you can’t get yourself to wake up early, cycling in the evening would be a great alternative.
Don’t let the summer heat stop you from riding your bike. Make summer the season you get out of on your bike more often than ever.
Wear lightweight clothing for hot weather cycling
If you are considering riding throughout the hottest months of the year, then you’ll need some gears that are designed for the warmer weather. As such, we highly recommend that you invest on good quality cycling jerseys and arm coolers. These items are designed not just to make warm weather cycling bearable, but they will keep you feeling cool, sweat-free, and comfortable throughout the summer.
When shopping for cycling jerseys, opt for something that is made from man-made synthetic fabrics. They wick sweat away from your skin to the outer side of the fabric, where it can evaporate. Its lightweight, sweat-wicking properties will keep you dry, cool, and comfortable on the bike, even on the hottest days of summer.
Whether you’re training or just doing some leisure rides, chances are you’ll be riding on your bike for an extended period of time. You’ll be exposing your back to the sun. Some jerseys are lightweight and can help keep you cool. However, they can also let a lot of harmful UV rays through. That said, you need a cycling jersey that provides some amount of sun protection for hot weather cycling.
Take it easy
Summer is often associated with outdoor activities. During this time of the year, people usually spend most of their time outdoors. They would hang out on the beach, lounge by the pool or organize a barbecue party for their family and friends. For avid cyclist, the summer months provide a great opportunity to explore the great outdoors. But with the sweltering heat, you may notice that you’re feeling more tired than usual during the summer months. This can be quite frustrating, especially since many of you have put your bikes on storage during the winter.
You will expend more energy when riding during the hottest parts of the day. Don’t make the mistake of riding as far or as fast as you usually do in spring or fall. Try riding at a slightly lower power or reduce the length of your ride. Not only will it make your ride more enjoyable, it also reduces the risk of heat stroke.
Nothing tells people that you’ve had a great summer like a good tanline. However, that tan line means there has been some sort of damage to your skin.
With most of the country in the sweaty grips of the heatwave, it is important now more than ever to protect yourselves from the sun’s harmful rays. Before you toss a leg over your saddle and roll out for a few hours, make sure that you apply a few blobs of sunscreen on your face, arms, and legs. Sunscreen will not only protect you from sunburn and skin damage; it will also help reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Hot weather cycling will leave you sweating profusely. When shopping for sunscreen, make sure that you choose a product that is water resistant. This way, you can be sure that it will stay even if you’re drenched in sweat. Also, avoid thick and greasy creams as they can prevent your skin’s pores from expelling sweat. Instead, opt for less viscous cream.
Hydration is not just important on the day of the ride. To ensure a smoother, safer, and a more comfortable ride, you need to increase your fluid consumption in the days leading up to the big ride. Aim to drink 2 to 3 liters of water a day.
Drink water before, during, and after the ride. Make sure that you bring water or electrolyte drink, even if your journey is short. Take a few sips of fluid every now and then to stay on top of your hydration needs. Avoid drinking too much at one time as it can cause cramping.
Don’t wait until you’re thirsty before drinking. You will only feel thirsty when your body has already lost about 2% of its total water volume. By the time you feel thirsty, it means you’re mildly dehydrated. Dehydration means your body doesn’t have enough fluids to carry on some tasks.
Your cycling performance will decline with just the tiniest bit of dehydration. Not only that, you may also experience symptoms such as nausea, drowsiness, loss of concentration, muscle cramps, disorientation, and headaches – all of which can lead to crashes. Remember, staying hydrated is essential for hot weather cycling.