As the weather warms up, it is important to adjust the way you ride so you can stay healthy and continue to enjoy your passion. Without proper preparation, the summer heat can sap the fun. With some simple steps you can beat the heat and enjoy the ride.
We’ll start with the essential basics.
An obvious basic, but riders often go out with less water than they should. Nothing will cripple your strength, or your fun, like being dehydrated. Plan ahead when riding in the heat. Either take enough water (approx. 750 ml per hour of riding) or identify places you can stop and refill. Drink steadily throughout the ride, so you have a nice flow of liquids in your body. If you are going on very long rides, plan on drinks with high electrolyte counts or special powder-drink mixes to replenish other vital chemicals your body is loosing through sweat.
A high SPF is going to be your best friend on hot sunny days. Sunburned knees and calves make riding very painful. Make sure to get a waterproof lotion or your body will just sweat it off, and you’ll be left unprotected.
The important factors here are ventilation and wicking properties. Technical clothing that offers these features, such as mesh panels or long zippers, allow you to get as much air flowing over your body as possible, which will help you feel cool no matter the temperature. Don’t forget the importance of good shoes and socks either. Thin sports socks and ventilated shoes keep you from getting clammy and soggy feet.
Your best bet for beating the hot weather is planning well in advance. Knowing where you will stop in an emergency or for more water will allow you to enjoy the ride more. You can also plan a short cut home in case you are struggling, or know a friend with a truck or bike rack and have their number handy. Police also recommend carrying ID whenever you ride, so if something does happen they can help more quickly, even if you can’t communicate.
You can wet a bandana and wrap it around your neck, or even take it one step further and pack it full of ice or freeze it when its wet. This will both protect your neck from the sun, and give you a nice chill that can be easily replenished.
Ice your legs
The Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise journal found that cyclists that soaked their lower bodies in cold water fro 20 minutes before races generated more power than when they didn’t. And soaking in an ice bath has got to make you feel cooler, right?
Get a race slushie
Researchers last year concluded that drinking a icy beverage right before a race helped contestants last 20 percent longer than just cold water. Try blending 1 cup ice +1 cup water + 1/4 cup sports drink and drink it about half an hour before you roll.
Each tip listed above should be used among others not on this list. Do your research before you go out for a ride in the hot summer sun, and don’t forget to have fun!
Image courtesy of Frank Kovalchek