How to Cycle in Hot Weather

By | 12 July, 2013

With the recent spell of warm weather there’s never been a better time to get out on the bike, but how do we all stay cool in the sun?

For the last couple of weeks we’ve had some unseasonably sunny weather here in Ireland, and lots of people have been making the most of it by getting out on their bikes.

I went on a very pleasant ride down to Dun Laoghaire last Sunday, which included a stop-off at Seapoint on the way where my better half took a refreshing dip in the sea! And wherever you looked, the south Dublin roads were jam packed with bikes.

It’s a great feeling to be out for a ride in the nice weather, but if you’re not careful you can fall foul of the sun’s seductive glare. There’s it’s best to take a few precautions before setting out for a cycle:

  1. Apply plenty of sunscreen. The chances are that you’re going to have bits of flesh on show when you ride during the good weather, and the pleasant breeze from cycling can disguise the fact that you’re getting burnt. So make sure to apply plenty of sunscreen to exposed areas – and bear in mind too that you’re probably going to sweat a certain amount, so either take the bottle to reapply regularly, or invest in waterproof creams or sprays.
  2. Think carefully about clothing. If you’re like me, then you may feel that lycra cycle shorts may be a step too far – but you can still plan your wardrobe around your ride. You want to be as comfortable as possible on your ride, and so plan around the fact that you might get hot and sweaty. Be careful if you normally wear cotton, as it will soak up any sweat and keep it next to your skin, which can cause nasty chaffing. There’s all kinds of modern fabrics that allow the wicking of moisture away from the skin, and there’s also merino garments the stop you getting too smelly!
  3. Protect your head. I always wear a baseball cap or hat in this weather, which helps keep the sun off my eyes, and also protects my baldy head from getting burnt! A good pair of sunglasses will also protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful glare. You’re already wearing sunscreen on your face, but you might also want to get some lip balm with inbuilt sunscreen to protect that winning smile of yours.
  4. Keep hydrated. It’s easy to under-estimate the amount of water you’ll lose from your body in hot weather, and so always pack a water bottle, or even two for a longer ride. Some people estimate you lose about half a litre or more an hour. My lovely lady has a top tip of loading up a water bottle with loads of ice cubes before setting out, so that the drink remains refreshingly cool.
  5. Be tolerant of fair-weather cyclists. Sometimes the year-round cyclists get a bit irate when the bike paths are suddenly swamped with fair-weather cyclists on bikes that spend 11 months of the year rusting in the garage. But instead of getting hot under the collar, it’s much better to embrace the upsurge of cycling.

Happy cycling, and enjoy the weather while it lasts!

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Author: Richard Bloomfield

Richard is the founder of Dublin Bike Blog. He commutes to work every day by bike, come rain or shine, on his Dutch city bike. You can read more from Richard on his blog richardbloomfield.ie.

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