Top Tips for Cycling in Hot Weather
Ah, summertime. For most people, this means sun, holidays and fantastic weather. For many cyclists, this means cycling adventures are back on the agenda as we make the most of these warm days and long nights. But with that comes the issue of cycling in hotter climates and it’s something that even the more experienced cyclist can’t seem to crack. So, here are some top tips to help you make sure your next cycle ride doesn't end in a meltdown.
The first step is to dress appropriately for the weather. Wear technical clothing with sweat-wicking properties and offers plenty of areas of ventilation (i.e. mesh panels, ventilation pockets, etc..) so you can get as much cool air flowing through as possible. In addition, we recommend wearing a summer base layer to regulate your temperature and keep you cool. Shop our 5-star rated summer base layer. If you're going out in the evening or at night, pack some extra layers to put on as the sun goes down.
Suncream is essential - even when there’s not much sun. UV rays still penetrate clouds and fog, so don't wait until you get burnt to apply it! Reapply your suncream at your pit stops to ensure you’re fully protected throughout the day. Even if you're riding at dawn or dusk, make sure that you’ve applied it before leaving home.
Don’t cycle when it’s the hottest time of day (usually between 11am and 3pm). The best time to cycle is early morning when it's still cool, or late evening when temperatures have dropped but there are still long hours of daylight left ahead of you!
Hydration is key. Carry water with you and drink regularly while cycling to avoid dehydration, as well as drinking plenty of water before and after your ride to get your hydration levels up. Dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, weakness and tiredness. If these symptoms happen when you're out on your bike, stop for a drink as soon as possible. When planning your cycle route, make sure there are enough break stops for you to fill up your water bottle.
The faster and harder you ride in hot weather, the harder on your body it’s going to be. Take it slow, don’t charge up all the hills, don’t out pedal your mates, just take your time and if it's a gorgeous day, admire the views around you. Taking regular breaks in the shade (or pub/café if you prefer) will help you from overheating and be a good excuse to have a scoop of ice cream.
Our body temperature heats up more than usual when it’s hot and temperatures can reach super high when exercising in warmer climates. So pouring water over your head, down your legs, arms or back, is completely normal and we strongly recommend it. Plus you can live out that movie slow-mo fantasy. In addition to cooling your body down on the outside, you can also lower your core temperature from the inside. Obviously cold water works, but if you want a variety, any sort of iced drink like iced coffee, smoothies, or slushies work well too along with ice cream and ice lollies work great for lowering your body temperature and they taste yummy too!
Post-ride recovery is just as important as looking after yourself whilst out. A lot of problems after spending many hours under a scorching sun–like dehydration, sunstroke and fatigue–occur later. Drink plenty of water and eat fruits and vegetables that contain water to rehydrate the body, regain strength and replenish salts and minerals you lost through sweating.