As the weather is turning (finally) cycling becomes more difficult in the heat for some. While it is better than riding in the wet windy or cold, there are some things you need to consider. Cycling can be so enjoyable on a hot summer’s day, but your body needs to be prepared for it. Preparation is key. Here are the most important things for you to remember when going out in the (rare) lovely sunshine for your permitted exercise.
1 – Wear appropriate clothing
There are so many different fabrics available to cyclists to buy which will make riding that much more pleasant in the heat. Firstly, make sure you get a breathable fabric which will let air pass through to cool you down as you ride and to stop that very unpleasant build up of sweat.
A long zip going down your front is also very beneficial – giving you the freedom to quickly adjust how much air comes in. A steady ride is enjoyable with a bit of a breeze going into your clothes and it is not until you stop riding how much of a difference it makes.
2 – Sun cream!
Would this be a post about hot weather without talking about sun cream? Many of us love to get a nice tan, riding in the sun will ensure that! Cycling tans can be slightly more obvious, some are proud, some are a little embarrassed to have a ‘white t-shirt’ tan, but it is important to prevent sunburn as it can be dangerous, especially after being exposed for a long ride.
Make sure you apply the sun cream to the most exposed areas, so your neck, face, arms and legs as these will be directly affected. If you are planning an extensive ride, make sure to bring some along with you and top it up as you go!
One of the most obvious ways to keep out of the dangerous sun is to go out in the mornings or the evenings. In summer, there is lots of light during the day, so you are still getting the warm temperature but with a slightly less damaging sun on you.
But also riding at these times of day can be highly pleasant in other ways, you may see wildlife that do not come out in daytime and also the traffic will be hugely better on the roads. Make sure you are always prepared for different things, maybe going a bit further and it gets dark – make sure you have some lights.
When you cycle, your body loses so much fluid, so it is vital for you to stay hydrated and keep drinking. Drinking a litre in one go every 2 hours is not healthy and will not benefit you as much. You need to drink little and often and don’t leave it until you’re thirsty to stop for a quick drink.
The harder you ride, the more you will sweat. Even standing in the sun on a hot day can make you sweat so imagine intensive exercise on top of that. Drinking two bottles of water during on a long ride is normal, if not more.
Before you set off, make sure you have enough water to last for the duration or possibly plan a break at a local café – cool down and get hydrated.
The summer is often used to re-lay many roads with the more reliable weather, so be careful of loose gravel, this can cause you to skid but also can wear cause your tyres to lose traction. Also, on a very hot day, sometimes tarmac can melt, becoming sticky and more importantly can stick to your tyres and attract dirt and grit.
Potholes. The UK roads are covered with them. While this is not necessarily a direct correlation to summer as they are there all year round – you need to watch out for them. Frequently they are caused by the brutal winter months so on roads you know well, surprise potholes may appear.