How to Survive Cycling in Summer Heat
Hot summer weather could be a disaster for bicycle commuters as well as travelers. Under the heat, riders are likely to dehydrate very quickly, sweat uncontrollably and can even smell bad from sweating. However, there are certain ways riders can apply to avoid these irritants. Keep reading to find out how to stay cool and pleasing during a summer ride.
Consider suitable clothing materials
There are two strands of thought on what should be worn for a summer ride. While some people prefer to dress as little as possible, others tend to cover up as much as possible to avoid the effect of sunlight damages.
Personally I prefer to wear long sleeves because my upper body tends to be more sensitive with getting sun-burnt while my legs can totally survive the sunbeam with shorts and some sun lotion.
The choice is really up to what style of wearing you prefer. However, the most important key here is choosing the right material of your clothing - which needs to absorb sweats efficiently and stay dry quick. So what kind of fabric material should you choose?
1) Say no to cotton. This material should be avoided for summer, because it soaks up sweat like a towel and retains the moisture on your skin.
2) Utilize lightweight synthetic materials (polyester). There are two commonly used types of synthetic fabric, but polyester is the most suitable for summer due to its UV resistance. It is also porous thus being efficient in absorbing moisture and leaving the dry feeling on a user's skin. More importantly, it is exceedingly durable, so once buying it, you certainly keep it for use for a long time.
Keep a bottle of water
There is no doubt that water is good for body. In addition, it keeps your body stay hydrated in high temperature and reduces the chance of a heat stroke. Especially when you travel long distance, it is every necessary to carry enough water with you, because it might be difficult to find a clean source of water along the way.
Stay away from caffeine, soda or juice because they require much more energy from your body to process. As a result, you will feel even much thirstier afterwards.
If you are not in a hurry, don't ride too fast so your body doesn't get dehydrated quickly.
In addition, water can be also used for wiping or washing your face in order to cool down the body heat. The way I usually do is soak up some water into a light hand towel and tap on my forehead and face. It pretty much cools down the whole body instantly.
Avoid riding at the hottest time of a day
It's highly recommended to cycle in the morning or in the late afternoon when the sun's ray is not too powerful. As a result, you can still enjoy a breezy summer ride and avoid effects of intense heat.
In case you have to ride under the harsh sunlight, remember above tips. Also apply lots of sun lotion to protect your skin. Wear sunglasses that have 100% UV filtering lenses for optimum efficiency.
Pack extra clothes for changing if necessary
You might want to consider carrying a change of clothes if the commute is too long to avoid perspiring. This mostly applies for those who cycle to work and must dress appropriately afterwards. If your workplace has places for showering, it would be also a good idea to wash up and change your clothes.
Don't push yourself so hard. If you need to take break in between the ride, just do it! This is also one of the reasons why I love riding my folding bike. If my body doesn't retain enough energy to cope with the heat, I will just fold it up and take a bus instead. Of course if you don't live in urban areas, this tactic is impractical. But as I said, leave some time for your body to cool down and regain more strength before hopping on your bike again.
Summer is actually my most favorite time of the year for cycling. With a bit of preparation and training, a cyclist can easily survive the heat and enjoy his/her ride to the fullest.