6 Ways To Stay Cool and Have Fun
Hot weather riding is its own kind of animal, and demands special considerations to get the most of your bike ride. Is it possible to still have fun on the bike while avoiding dangers like overheating and dehydration?
Sure is. You just have to ride smart, and plan for a different kind of riding when the mercury spikes.
1. Ride Early Or Late
Avoid riding during the hottest times of the day. Riding earlier in the morning or later in the evening (or even at night if you have the right bike lights) when temperatures are lower will help you stay cool and avoid overheating.
2. Knock Off The Pace
The 90 degree day with 95% humidity is not the day to go out and dry and grab that Strava KOM. On hot days it’s advisable to go a little easier to avoid overheating. On hot days, sometimes we like to ride with a heart rate monitor, and make sure we go no harder than 70% max heart rate.
And nobody says rides can’t be fun. See #6 for more ideas.
3. Wear Lighter Clothing
Wearing lightweight, light colored cycling clothing can help you stay cool on warm days. Lightweight cycling clothing will hold in less heat and allow more airflow, while lighter colors will reflect sunlight and prevent stop your clothing from absorbing heat. Some cycling clothing is also treated with coldblack®, which keeps black colored clothing from getting too hot.
4. Unzip Your Jersey
If you’re still feeling really hot, you can unzip your jersey to get more air flowing across your body. Airflow helps evaporate sweat off of your body, which is what helps you stay cool. Full zip jerseys are best for really hot days, since you can open them all the way up.
Another tip is to wear bib shorts that don’t come up as high. Some brands of shorts come up very high on the torso, which can hold in heat. Choose shorts that come up to around the navel for maximum cooling.
5. Use Insulated Bottles
Insulated bottles will stay cooler for longer. Try filling them with ice and cold fluids* to help you stay cool from the inside out.
*1) Hot days may require you to drink as much as (but not more than) 2 bottles per hour to avoid dehydration
2) Beware of overhydrating (see above). Overhydration with water can lead to hyponatremia (aka water poisoning) which occurs when the salts in the blood become too diluted. Hyponatremia is harder to treat than dehydration, and can be fatal.
3) To avoid both dehydration and overhydration, use a hydration mix with plenty of sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium to replace the vital electrolytes you sweat out.
6. Take Breaks
Nobody says you have to stay on the bike the whole time. On hot days stop frequently at gas stations, restaurants, etc… to top up your bottles and get off the road for a bit.
This is also a great chance to inject some fun into your rides.
Why not stop at that ice cream shack you’ve always passed? Or better yet, make that the destination of the ride.
You can hit up that roadside stand for some lemonade, or just take a break in the shade.
Do you ride near a river or lake? Why not stop and go for a swim on your ride. There’s plenty of ways to stay cool and get creative on your ride.
Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments section.