Keeping Cool On Those Summer Bike Outings
High temperatures mean you have to be well prepared to deal with the heat. There’s sunburn to worry about, dehydration and, worst of all, sunstroke. These are potential headaches that come with the season, but there are things you can do to cope with them and still get out there and bike!
Here are some tips for staying cool and healthy if you’re bike touring in hot weather.
1 – Water, water, water
Think about how much you normally drink during the day and then add an extra 1-2 liters. Sip on your water supply during the day, rather than taking in a lot of water all at once. Doing this will help you stay well hydrated and that is a huge factor in coping with the heat. It will also help you not to get cramps while your biking. A great addition to your biking gear that does not take up much room or weight is the Avex Brazos Stainless Steel AutoSeal Water Bottle 24 oz. This Insulated stainless steel water bottle with a double wall, and vacuum insulation to keep your water cold for hours and eliminate external sweating. Whether you're or biking, hiking a desert trail or scaling a mountain, it has the capacity to quench your thirst! It also has a spout shield to protect against dirt and an ergonomic clip-on handle that attaches to backpacks and other gear
Sometimes it’s hard to drink a lot of just plain water, so you can add some flavorings. We suggest adding a little iced tea powder, with a squeeze of lemon juice or about 20% orange juice to the mix. Clean your bottles well afterward to stop mold from growing in them. Having an insulated bottle to take along with you is a must in the hot weather.
2 – Find A Water Tap And Get Soaked
While it may not be the most comfortable way to travel, you really won't mind being a little wet when the temperature climbs over 85 degress Cycling with a wet shirt is like instant air conditioning. When it’s really hot, you can stop at any water source you can find (streams are great, or water taps at places like cemeteries and gas stations) and soak your shirt in the water. Try soaking a bandana that you should have with you as a help in sunburn protection around your neck. It’s a little chilly putting the wet shirt back on, but it feels so good and keeps you really nice and cool for about 1/2 an hour. The bonus is that you also wash a bit of sweat out of your shirt, so it’s not so grungy after a long, hot day of riding.
3 – Pick Your Time Of Day
Start early, it really is the best time of day for getting physical and the coolness of the early morning can help you keep a positive attitude as miles fly by under your bike tires. Have a lunchtime siesta and finish your ride in the evening, after the sun starts to set. Riding through the midday heat is the surest way to fry your brain and body during a bike tour. If the temperatures are set to rise above 30°C, (that’s 86 degrees for you Fahrenheit people). Then you can start riding at first light and plan for a lunch break in about 2-3 hours.
4 – Carry Shade With You
A tarp comes in handy on hot days, of course, you want to rest in the shade when at all possible, but what if there isn’t any? Carry a tarp and you can create instant shade, just about anywhere. You can string your tarp between telephone poles and power pylons in sparsely populated areas, making the perfect spot to wait out the heat of the day. When you set up camp, a tarp can also protect your tent from UV damage. So any way you look at it, that tarp can go a long way to making your day better and a little cooler.
5 – Cover Up With Clothing
Look at people who live constantly in a hot climate and you’ll see they almost always cover up with long sleeves and trousers. Why? It’s the best way to protect your body. Wear longer clothing and you also use less sunscreen. As you know from articles hitting the news, some if not all sunscreens do not really measure up to what they say they will do. Aside from the cost and the fact it leaves a film on your skin, people sweat too much for the sunscreen to do its job properly and they never remember to re-apply it often enough during the day. Whether your biking, hiking or running, a good quality shirt that helps keep you dry and wicks away moisture is a good choice. A high visibility top makes just good sense when your biking so that others can see you coming. The Proviz line of high visible clothing like the Proviz Reflect360 Men's High Visibility Running Jacket
The reflective detailing is designed to help you stand out when on the roads during hours of darkness or poor light.
By using long-sleeved shirts that cover your arms and 3/4 length trousers, you only have to worry about the sunscreen on your faces and small sections of our arms and legs. As long as you get lightweight clothing, it’s not as hot as you might imagine. Remember, cotton clothing is the best-recommended fabric for helping you stay cooler during the hot summer months.
6 – Use A Hydration Pack
A hydration pack is the kind of thing you’d expect to carry on a mountain hike, but it can be handy for bike riders, especially on hot days too, to keep your water or drink of your choice, nice and cold. The Camelbak MULE NV is our choice to carry. It has a narrow-gauge design and is stable for all-terrain action in any weather condition. The CamelBak M.U.L.E. NV Hydration Pack provides plenty of gear storage and water capacity to let you enjoy the riding the trails all day long
We hope the above tips and suggestions will help you to maintain your cycling adventures during the hot summer months. And before we go, we want to remind you that to keep on track with where you're going this Summer, Fall, and yes even the Winter, on your extended bike rides, why not take along a Cycling Computer, like the Garmin Garmin Explorer 820 The Edge Explore 820 also keeps you connected to the rest of the world with smart notifications, live tracking, social media sharing and automatic uploads to Garmin Connect.
So now that you have the tips, tricks, and tools to help you beat the summer heat, go ahead and put the pedal (Bike Pedal) to the trail and have some summer fun!