High humidity can affect how your body manages the heat. Since you feel hotter as the heat index rises, your body works harder to cool you down, and your sweat takes longer to evaporate when the atmosphere is already saturated with moisture. It pays to keep track of the humidity levels as well as the temperature when you’re planning a ride, and know that mornings are typically more humid than later in the day.
While it is futile to complain about the rise in temperatures, that doesn’t mean that riding in the heat is something you should not do it, it just poses some challenges. So as the temperatures rise and the heat and humidity take their toll, keep these tips in mind to stay safe and ride smart.
1. Plan and Prepare:
Think about planning a route ahead of time and let at least one other person know where you’re going. Wear your Road ID. If you can, try and pick routes with some shade and a few convenient places to stop for hydration. Be sure to carry a cell phone and some cash for extra fluids for potential emergency scenarios.
2. Use your Head:
Consider getting up before the sun to get an earlier start than normal so that you are not riding during the hottest parts of the day if possible. This is usually between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wear appropriate microfiber clothing that will stay cooler and wick sweat away! And absolutely do not forget to apply sunscreen! Should you experience a flat or mechanical, try to find a shady spot to work on the bike instead of staying out in sun.
Begin with rides that are shorter in length and be sure to maintain a moderate pace. Increase your mileage as your body becomes used to riding in the heat. Then you will be able to increase your rides in length as well as intensity.
Drink water before you even get started on your ride. During your ride be sure to replace electrolytes drinking well before you are even thirsty. Don’t forget to carry plenty of fluids, even if you’re only planning for a short ride. It’s always better to have too much than too little.
5. Replace Electrolytes:
For any rides in in hot temperature, you got to drink fluids with an electrolyte replacement in addition to water.
Recovery becomes even more critical when riding in the heat. Failing to do this will result in severe cramping and fatigue.
The extreme heat and humidity can make cycling in the summer a potentially hazardous environment. But with the proper preparation and attention to the body’s nutritional needs, the long days of summer make them ideal times to be on a bike. So, get out there, have fun, be safe and PEDAL ON!
Consider how long you’ll be riding and reapply every two hours—sunscreen even helps prevent heat illness, as it keeps your skin cool. And don’t forget areas like the backs of your calves and neck, your lips, and your ears!
If you can walk without dying from the heat, then you can ride at a pace that doesn’t make you sweat any more than walking does. And you will probably be dryer because of the cooling effect of the air movement.
Switch to Panniers
The point of sweating is to keep you cool by evaporation, and it can’t evaporate if it is trapped under a pack.