For the last few weeks, here in the UK it has been very sunny. We have been having our annual “summer”.
The time of year when we have a few weeks of very hot weather and the headline in the newspapers is ‘What a Scorcher…!’
It lasts about 3 weeks and then we are back to our usual wind, rain and cloudy days.
The good weather is never around for very long, but when it is hot and sunny, cycling can be fantastic. However, it can also bring on a few problems.
Here are 5 simple tips for avoiding any problems when riding in hot weather.
It is appreciated that we have a very short summer period, however, if you can, try and slowly acclimatise to the heat. Don’t go all out on Day 1.
1 Stay Hydrated.
OK, the first tip is simple… keeping drinking!
Drink little and often, and make sure you take plenty of drink with you, or you know where you can get top-ups for your water bottles / bidons.
Don’t just drink when you feel thirsty – it is already too late, start taking a small mouthful as soon as you start to ride.
Add some electrolytes to you bottle, and they will replace those lost through sweating. There are plenty of powders on the market – try a few different ones and find the one
2 Dress for the Weather.
Don’t wear your long-sleeve winter jersey. Lightweight jerseys and shorts with good wicking properties are plenty available.
Add a lightweight base layer, can help the build up of sweat.
Good fitting shorts are important, you don’t want chaffing.
Don’t forget the finger-less gloves, and while you should be wearing a helmet, the sun will get through the air vents, so a thin beanie or cap is recommended.
And finally the shade – sunglasses are a must. If you were prescription glasses, you can get prescription sunglasses. Expensive I know, but well worth the investment.
3 Wear Sunscreen.
Face, neck, arms, hands, legs. Slap on plenty of Factor 50.
Damaging sunburn and the risk of skin cancer due to excessive ultraviolet light are a problem, and one you don’t want to encounter.
You neck is possibly the most important area, and taking a small tube of sunscreen out with you, and liberally applying it, can make all the difference.
4 Ride Early.
Avoid the hottest part of the day – 11am to 2pm. Riding early in the morning, will mean riding in the warm, but avoiding all the hazards.
Often quieter roads help as well, not so much traffic or smog.
5 Take it Easy.
Riding is hot weather is fatiguing. Is it necessary to go on that 100 miler at a fast pace, or would a more gentle 30 miler be better for you?
Cut down the speed, and the distance. You will feel a lot better for it. And more importantly, you will do no damage to yourself.
Riding in warm weather is much better for your mental and physical health than miserable cold weather, but it can bring its own problems. These simple steps will help you enjoy it and be safe.