Cycling in summer can present challenges that we quite often forget about. We all see the sun and blue skies and just want to get out and ride. That though can be a disaster for your health, so we’ve created a nice list of the 8 top summer cycling tips.
After the list, we’ve created a nice little shopping list of items you may want to look at getting for helping you ride in the heat. If you follow our list and ride with care, you should enjoy your summer riding.
1. Stay hydrated. Make sure you have a hydration plan. If you can’t carry enough water for the length of time, you’ll out make sure you know where along the road you can buy/acquire more water.
You’ll also need to make sure that you are replacing the electrolytes that you’re losing through sweat. You might then need to carry some electrolyte tablets to drop into water that you’re collecting on the road.
2. Stay wet. When you’re sweating, your body is using the evaporation process to keep cool. Exercise will be heating your body up, and you need to lower your body temperature.
Pour water over your head, and you’ll help to lower your temperature, you’ll also want to splash water on your neck, chest, and back. You’ll feel much comfier when you’re out on the bike if you do this.
3. Sunscreen. Getting sunburnt is not a great thing to do. Given that you’ll be sweating and perhaps pouring water over yourself make sure your sunscreen is waterproof. Not only will sunburn increase your chances of skin cancer, but you’ll find yourself more fatigued, and you’ll not be able to get comfortable when you get home.
4. Clothing. Think about what you’ll be wearing. Jerseys with a full zip will be great for letting more air into your skin.
Grab your helmet with the best vents, and you probably don’t want to grab an aero helmet during the summer months. A good lightweight base layer can also help with the cooling process, so don’t overlook a good baselayer.
5. Go early in the day. Not only will this be the coolest part of the day, but you’ll also find that between 4 am and 7 am the UV index will be at its lowest.
You should also not need to use your lights at these times. You might think about the evening, but it is worth noting that for many us our commute home may be at the hottest part of the day.
6. Go slow. If it is really warm, don’t try and beat your Strave times. The heat can make you expend more energy to maintain a speed that you’ll find comfortable in cooler temperatures.
If you’re out training, think about your interval training. If you ride too hard in hot weather, you can easily be looking at getting heatstroke.
7. Pay attention to the road. During the summer, tarmac can melt. The patches where it melts can be sticky or slippery. These can not only cause you to crash, but sticky tar can cause debris to stick to your tires and bring you the inevitable puncture.
8. Make sure you drink and eat when you get home. It can be hard to eat in the heat, but you’ll need to restock your body. You’ll also want to put a recovery drink in the fridge before you leave so that you can have a nice and refreshing drink waiting for you when you get home.
What do I need for summer cycling?
As you sweat, you’ll lose electrolytes. As you lose electrolytes, your performance will go downhill. You also risk making yourself feel awful and fatigued for hours after a ride. Restoring your electrolytes will help to keep your performance up and will stop you from feeling sluggish.
We like Nuun electrolyte tablets. They taste great, and they have all the electrolytes you need. You’ll also find that the little cylinder they come in can easily be fitted in your jersey pocket and you can take them with you to add into any extra water you have to get when you’re out on a long ride in hot weather.
You might be thinking that adding more clothes is a crazy idea, but a good quality base layer will help with the evaporative process and keep you cool. At this point, the Craft Mesh Base Layer can step in. It is lightweight and helps to flow the air around your body.
The Craft base layer will help your body thermo-regulate. You’ll find that you’ve put extra clothes on, but you’ll feel a lot cooler as you pedal up some mountain slope. It will help to keep your body around 6 degrees colder than if you were wearing no base layer.
CamelBak Podium Chill
Having your drink heat up on a hot day is never great. No matter how thirsty you get, a lukewarm drink is never that great to drink. The CamelBak Podium Chill will help to make sure that your drink stays at a nice cool temperature.
Like all CamelBak bottles, it is easy to fit into your bottle cage, great for drinking during descents, and it comes with a high flow, self-sealing bottle cap. It’ll stop you losing any of that vital liquid from splashes and spills. The bottle also comes with a lifetime warranty against breakage.
Mission On The Go Cooling Towel
The Mission On The Go Cooling Towel, when activated by water, can cool to 30 degrees below your body temperature. If you’ve stopped for water wrap around your neck and you’ll feel instantly much cooler, and you’ll be more refreshed for when you jump back on your bike.
The good news is that the On The Go towel should easily fold up and fit in your back jersey pocket. It should also help to safely lower your core temperature and get your body back to firing in its optimal zone.
I’ve spent way more time in the bike trade than anyone should reasonably want to. In that time I’ve wanted to make cycling jargon and marketing easier to cut through to help people get the bike of their dreams.
When I’m not writing about bikes, I can be seen out bikepacking on single speed bikes or teaching kids how to ride.