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How to Cycle in the Hot, Sunny Weather

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How to Cycle in the Hot, Sunny Weather

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Hot weather cycling

May 13th, 2016

Scorching temperatures around the UK have got the tabloid press in a frenzy. “HOTTEST MAY in FOUR YEARS”, exclaims the Express. Groundbreaking news, we’re sure you’ll agree.

So although today the weather seems to be back to its grey, drizzly usual, we thought we’d write a guide on how to ride safely and comfortably in hot weather.

We spoke to our good friend Gary, one of the Ride25 Pioneers, after a particularly sweaty training ride for the upcoming Rome to Bari ride. Being fried on the saddle got him thinking about the best ways to minimise damage and so, without further delay, here are Gary’s top tips for cycling in hot weather:

Gary Ride25 Pioneer

#1 Cover up your head with a cap
This is especially important if you’re bald or have thinning hair: a roasted scalp is no fun. Don’t be tricked into thinking that your helmet will prevent burning either – those ventilation holes will let beams of sunlight straight through. Note: a buff works well too.

#2 – Wear sunscreen. All day.
Factor 50 or above. Sweat and water resistant products will help you have a nicer time, and prevent you from becoming a slippery mess.

#3 – Drink, drink, drink.
Especially up hills when easy to ignore (note: he means water!). You’ll sweat buckets (literally) on a long ride in the sun, so make sure you replenish your body’s water reserves. Don’t be surprised if you don’t need to expel water through any means other than sweating on a hot day!

#4 – Eat, eat, eat
(Flapjacks and salty nuts) especially up hills…. Staying well fed is important on any bike ride, but don’t get distracted by staying hydrated and forget to eat. Read our guide on how to prevent bonking to remind you on why eating enough is vital.

#5 – Put at least 2 tablets in drinks
Electrolyte tablets or energy powders are crucial: these will replenish your body’s essential salts and nutrients that are lost to sweating, keeping your body working properly (and reducing the risk of cramp!)

#6 – Set out with 2 full bottles from each stop
This is self explanatory: there’s nothing more demoralising (and potentially dangerous) than being caught short without water. Make sure you refill your bottles at every chance you get. Don’t be tempted to push on without water.

#7 – Get fit enough before you go
“This trip is no holiday!!!”, says Gary. He’s right to advise this – the Rome to Bari leg will see riders tackle 400 miles and 34000 feet of elevation in four days!

A few bonus tips from us:

#8 – Bring sunglasses!
Even if you don’t end up wearing them, having them on standby is helpful. If you do wear them the benefits are threefold: you’ll be able to see where you’re going, you’ll keep harmful UV rays out of your eyes (if your lenses are good) and you’ll look really cool. Which, when it comes down to it, is what matters most.

#9 – Time your ride well
If you can hit the road early and get the bulk of the miles out of the way before the hottest part of the day (early afternoon), you’ll be able to take a well-earned break when the sun is at its most brutal. Then you can finish off the rest of the miles toward the end of the day, as it starts to cool down again.

#10 – Get an ice-cream
Treat yourself to a delicious ice-cream at the earliest possible opportunity. This is great for morale and it’s a good way to replenish some of those calories that you burn through while cycling (that’s what we tell ourselves anyway).

So there you are. Now it’s up to you to seek that hot weather out – you could take your chances in the UK, or you could always book onto one of our cycling holidays somewhere with warmer climes!

3 Responses to “How to Cycle in the Hot, Sunny Weather”

  1. Gary Mitchell Says:

    Nice one – I only learned last year when I got it all wrong. It felt awful. So wanted to save others the same fate. PS: could you not have found a better photo of me? I have my sunglasses on but look anything but cool !!!

  2. Chris Mumma Says:

    Good tips! Hydrate well before you ride. In California it is not uncommon for us to ride in 100* F weather.

  3. Lesley Allen-Dring Says:

    Totally agree – I would definitely urge anyone doing this in Europe to ensure they have 2 water bottles and use electrolytes…I learnt the hard way in Geneva (35C) getting heat exhaustion on day 1 …it’s not fun!
    Force yourself to drink frequently , even if you don’t think you need to- riding in a virtual oven is not an experience us Brits are used to!

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