Summer has arrived in the Southern Hemisphere and from the feeling of things; it’s gonna be a scorcher! You might be wondering how you’re going to keep up your love for cycling when you feel like you could melt away into your handle bars. Here’s our Top 10 Tips for keeping cool and staying solid on your bike this summer….
Try and schedule your rides to be either bright and early in the morning, or later in the evening. The aim is so avoid the midday “heat peak” and have a more effective ride with less risk of injury. Watching the sun rise on your bike is one of the best ways to start your day! However, if you simply aren’t a morning person, then swap your lunch time rides for a late night spin and discover your inner werewolf…
Slip, Slop, Slap! You heard it here first! If there is anything we are experts at it is slapping on the sunscreen to avoid those pesky ozone holes. But it shouldn’t end there; Try and actually cover any exposed skin with lightweight clothing, and wear a cap under your helmet. Okay, so your look might not make it to the front cover of vogue; but at least you won’t have panda eyes for those lifelong summer wedding shots.
You may need to take a new approach to your usual route as it might be too long or too open for direct exposure to heat/sunlight. Explore new routes to ensure you can find shade, shelter and water and aren’t riding on radiating tarmack for two straight hours. Use it as an opportunity to explore new turf, a new route can inject a whole new lease of life into your everyday bike ride.
On an average day we are expected to drink at least 2 litres of water; but these are no average days. The sun/ heat is additional sweat on top of your exercise so you should double your average litres to 4 in order to eliminate your chances of dehydration. If lukewarm water ain’t your thang, try freezing a few bottles the night before so you can enjoy a nice cold hit during your ride! It is advised that you load up on plenty of H20 BEFORE you feel thirsty, and eat plenty of watery fruits and vegetables for additional hydration.
5. LIGHTEN UP
Try and lighten up your load to make your ride a little easier. The sun/ heat can weigh you down mentally and physically, so you want to make sure you are as light as you possibly can be before you start your ride. Wear lightweight clothing, put on your lightest shoes, and try and practice a minimalists outlook when you pack your bag. Take only the essentials! Do you really need that heavy wallet and all of its change? Swap cash for cards, full key rings for single keys, leather for cotton – anything to lighten up!
Pace yourself, it’s hot, and although you want to be better than you were yesterday, yesterday was spring and the sun wasn’t trying to smoke you out of the earth. Our bodies are designed to slow down to adapt to the heat; don’t deny your body it’s primal instincts just because you want to reach a new Personal Best. Your body is smarter than you, if it starts feeling heavy and giving you the first signs of a headache, listen to it’s wise advice and take a break. Remember, in summer, slow and steady wins the race!
It’s hot, your appetite is going to be smaller than usual; but that isn’t an opportunity for you to embark on a fasted cardio burn. Try and eat as many calories as you usually do; even if you consume them all in little nibbles and snacks. It is important to fuel and comfort your body during this confusing change in climate.
Your newly acquired “sweaty rouge” look might repel a summer sweetheart or two; but that’s not the kind of repellent we’re referring to. Insects, especially flies, love a good sticky face and body to latch onto. Try and cover yourself in insect repellent before you leave the house to avoid attracting the wrong crowd this summer.
The heat doesn’t just affect you, it affects your bike too! Make sure you show it a little TLC and do some everyday maintenance to ensure stays healthy and safe to ride. Top up the tire pressure, grease up the chains and adjust the gears. And why not treat yourself to a little bath or massage whilst your at it? There is no harm in giving yourself a little maintenance too!
As the old saying goes: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. All of these tips require a good amount of planning and preparation in order to survive cycling in the hot weather. Factoring in all of the above: Prepare your route/ journey; Prepare some frozen water, hot-weather nibbles and post-cycle recovery drinks; Prepare your outfit and bag, keeping an eye on weight; Prepare to be a little slower than usual, but keep track of your pace each ride and watch yourself acclimatize; Prepare and maintain your bike and your body. And prepare to enjoy the rest of your summer rides!
Happy Cycling Everyone!