Keep your cool while commuting by bike through the hot, humid days of summer.
Go slow. Give your body a chance to adapt to the heat stress. If you commute by bike, give yourself more time so you can pedal at a relaxed pace. Gradually add more time and distance as your body adjusts. If possible, ride early or late in the day as your body acclimates.
Drink up. Hard efforts can cause your body to lose up to one or two quarts of fluid an hour through perspiration. It’s important to drink often, even when you’re not on the bike. Drink eight ounces of water before you head out the door and then keep sipping from a water bottle every 20 minutes or so as you ride.
Avoid dehydration. For longer rides, take in electrolytes through an energy drink and add ice to your bottle if it makes it more palatable. Generally when you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated, so drink early and often. Not sure you’re hydrating enough? For starters, your urine should appear clear to light yellow if you’re well hydrated. You can also weigh yourself before and after you ride. If your body weight is down more than three or four percent after the ride, you’re not drinking enough. Summer cycling can be tough on the body, listen to it!
Get in gear. Technical fabrics have come a long way. Look for jerseys rated for a certain SPF and others that are designed specifically for cooling purposes. Wear moisture-wicking socks, too. If you’re riding often, invest in a well-vented helmet. Apply sunscreen, specifically one that is sweat-proof, since most road surfaces intensify the effects of the sun.
Blaze a new trail. Switching up your usual bike route won’t just keep boredom at bay, but it could also keep you cooler. Choose routes that are less exposed and offer more tree cover. Avoid hill if possible. To ease hill climbing pain, read our blog: Bicycle Hill Climbing Tips. Pick a road that goes by water or has a cooling descent halfway through. If all else fails, reward yourself with a ride that ends with an ice cream stand.
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