Best Tips for a Safer Summer Bike Rides: Ways to Stay Healthy and Clothing to Wear

Safe Summer Biking Tips: Get Out on Two Wheels This Summer! 

As the summer season gets around the corner, many cycling enthusiasts are also now preparing for summer bike rides. They must be excited to catch up from not being able to do this enjoyable activity during less favorable weather.

Going to the sun bike ride after winter may not be a serious issue for some, but that doesn’t mean that biking in heat doesn’t pose any health challenges. These threats may include dehydration, bonking, and poor performance and focus while biking which may also lead to vehicular accidents and traffic jams. 

Apparently, biking in heat can also trigger serious heat-related dangers and illnesses like hypertension which may lead to death. Take the case of two cyclists in France who died when the temperature hit about 114 degrees Fahrenheit. Though some cyclists may endure the heat more than others, it is important to bear in mind that these risks are real and can happen to anyone who rides a bike on a summer hot day.

Of course, though there are risks when riding bikes under the sun, it does not mean that we need to stop going into summer bike rides. Instead, you may want to be prepared to avoid the risks that can come up when riding on summer hot days.

Strategies for Riding Your Bike Safely 

Of course, though there are risks when riding bikes under the sun, it does not mean that we need to stop going into summer bike rides. In any season, as long as it is not too dangerous shouldn’t keep you from riding your bike when you want to. Instead, you may want to be prepared to avoid the risks that can come up when riding on summer hot days. 

To start off, here are the eight best ways to keep in mind so you can keep your cool in the sun when riding a bike.

Stay hydrated

First and foremost, you need to refuel yourself before going into another strenuous activity. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your ride is an important task to do before anything else. Even if you’re only going for a short ride, always bring lots of fluids with you. You should also take note that drinking too much cold water at once might also induce cramps. 

If you are not fond of drinking too much at the same time, you can drink small amounts of fluids frequently (say, every 5 to 10 minutes) to catch up with your hydration needs. You must avoid feeling extremely thirsty first before you drink your fluids; else, this can trigger heat exhaustion.

Consider your weight as well to know how much fluid you should take during your ride. A 150-pound rider, for example, should aim to drink at a rate of 10 to 12 milliliters per kilogram of body weight. This would amount to about a 20-ounce bottle every hour.

According to some health experts, you need to increase your consumption of watery fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and grapes to compensate for the lost fluid you had while riding a bike. Also, with the right balance, you need to increase sodium intake by sipping beverages rich in electrolytes during your ride. 

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    Health experts also suggest intaking a protein-based recovery drink helps you rehydrate faster than drinking one which is carbohydrate-based only. The good thing about taking protein-based drinks is that it pulls water with it when it travels to muscles. However, if you prefer to drink plain water only after your summer hot ride, it would be better to pair it with a snack or meal rich in protein, carbohydrates, and sodium so you can replenish it faster.

    Cover-up

    Exposing yourself under the sun during summer may sound refreshing, but given the status of our environment today, one should take precautions when doing so. Too much exposure to the sun can also increase your risk of skin cancer. Apparently, you will also get exhausted sooner than you can manage and risk your safety on the road. 

    While sunscreen can help block the sun’s harmful rays, it’s important to know what to wear in 90-degree weather. You may consider covering up with loose-fitting, light clothing cycling clothes for hot weather, and ones that will allow your skin to breathe while you ride. 

    Nevertheless, make sure that the fabric around your legs isn’t so loose so it won’t be caught in your bike gears or chain though.

    Be prepared for sweat

    Meeting your friends or going to work in your sweaty cycling clothes is fine but may be inappropriate. Thus, you need to bring backup clothes or your “real” outfit in a backpack or saddlebags. Do not forget to pack along anything you’ll need to freshen up like a hairbrush, cologne, or clean towel. You might dislike planning, but spending a couple of minutes packing your things is better than stressing about every bead of sweat on your forehead.

    Slow down for pets and kids

    Summer bike rides are often more pleasant than the year-round “getting to work/school” rides. If you’re going for a leisurely ride, you might be considering bringing along a child or a pet.

    While this can make cycling more enjoyable, keep in mind that pets and toddlers have a lesser tolerance for heat than you do. Don’t assume that because your dog is running beside you the entire time, they aren’t really in pain; dogs will run until they have been exhausted in order to keep up with you, which you might not want. 

    Little kids who are pressured to run too far or too fast are more likely to experience tiredness and thirst than you. If you bring a little companion on your ride, make sure you slow down a little, have them hydrated, and check-in with them on a frequent basis.

    Looking from another perspective, riding a bike in traffic is analogous to driving a car. You must still signal when changing lanes or turning, allow pedestrians, pass on the left, and obey all posted signs. In cities providing bike lanes, there may be special signage for bikers, so pay attention to those.

    Ease into bigger rides

    A ride that feels like a breeze during the fall might be a little (or a lot) harder on your system if the temperature is above 80 degrees with the sun beating down on you. If you’re going for a challenging ride on your favorite bike route, plan for it to take extra time and bulk up on the supplies you bring with you. Packing snacks and extra water, and taking it slowly — especially on hills and tricky parts — will help ensure you don’t burn out far from home.

    “The biggest hot-weather mistake cyclists make is riding in the heat without preparation,” says Stacy Sims, Ph.D., founder of Osmo Nutrition. If you don’t acclimate to hot-weather riding, you won’t reap as many benefits from your workout, and you’ll increase both perceived effort and the potential for injury. 

    Keep an Eye on The Road Surface

    While you’re probably moving slower on your bike than you are in your car, this does not mean that you’re also far more exposed to risk. Actually, it may be the other way around. You also need to watch out for pedestrians crossing the street, cars turning towards bike lanes, or pulling out of street parking spots, and other dangers.

    Roads in rural locations may not be as well maintained or as those in larger cities, so you may experience more hassles due to branches, greater potholes, or gravel. You might also have to navigate around slow-moving farm equipment. Watch out also for deer crossings and light rails in larger cities which are infamous for grabbing cyclists’ wheels.

    Wear Sun cream

    Sunburn does not just leave dark marks on your skin. It makes one experience severe fatigue and increases in metabolism. Though the second effect may sound more of a benefit, it may pose more harm during summer bike rides. 

    There are ways to prevent or lessen your chance to get sunburn. Start with wearing sunscreen with a good amount of SPF. Wear jerseys, shorts, and arm skins with built-in sun protection to keep your body cool in hot summer. Some may find it inconvenient but wear a cap under your helmet to shield your head when going on a hot bike ride. Do not forget to cover with fabric the back of your neck which is exposed to the sun in the riding position.

    Ride in the morning or evening

    The first thing you can do is modify your riding schedule. Since the early morning hours are the coolest of the day, you may consider doing your summer ride during this part of the day. For those who are busy in the morning and prefer to pedal at night, evenings are a reasonable alternative as well to bike.

    When riding a bike at night, make sure to use flashlights to make sure you are staying along the right lane and for drivers to notice you as well. 

    What cycle clothing to wear when it’s hot and sunny

    The United Nations declared June 3 as World’s Cycling Day while the 8th to 19th of June is considered as bike week by many cycling enthusiasts. This season is also warmer in most parts of the country. Indeed, it is the perfect weather for a bike ride. If you’re going for a long summer bike ride, wearing the right kit cycling clothes for hot weather will for sure make your day. 

    To keep your cool in the sun, wear clothes that are comfortable, breathable, and that offer protection against sunburn and extreme exhaustion. 

    Nothing special

    If the weather is nice, you don’t need to dress up with full gear and shoes to go for a bike ride, especially if you’re only going for a short distance. 

    However, if the weather is warm, we recommend that you wear shorts rather than pants and avoid riding in jeans because they can rub harder. Then, on your upper half, a light, airy t-shirt will suffice.

    Base layers

    Assume you’re going for a “real” long summer day bike ride to reap the benefits of the weather and daylight. The first step is to apply an effective base layer. When you sweat, this will wick sweat away from your skin, making you feel dry and comfortable.

    This will also help keep the cold away. A short-sleeved or vest-type base layer serves well for summer bike rides.

    Padded shorts

    Padded baggies are excellent for leisure rides and mountain biking, while bib-shorts are certainly the best choice for road rides. Shoulder straps on bib-shorts are often more comfortable than a waistline that just might dig into your tummy when biking over long distances.

    On hot summer days, the straps and back panel of bib-shorts may be soggy with sweat, so look for products with well-ventilated parts or quick-drying material with some touch of breathability.

    Jersey

    Nothing beats knowing that all you need for a ride is a pair of shorts and a jersey — that’s when riding is at its most beautifully simple. Breathability should be at the top of your priority list when choosing a jersey — there’s no point in having a superb base layer if sweating gets caught in the next layer.

    In addition, check for a jersey with many pockets. Because you won’t be carrying a more multipurpose jacket, your jersey will have to do the majority of the heavy lifting when it comes to carrying food, cash, a mini-pump, and etc. Finally, don’t be afraid to be creative and choose a design that stands out and promotes summer riding.

    Rain cape

    A “rain cape” generally refers to an ultra-packable, lightweight, waterproof jacket that can be stored in the back pocket of your jersey. From the name itself, you can use it when it rains. Although you might not use your rain cape during summer, it’s better to get ready so buy one wisely and you’ll certainly appreciate it when the unexpected time comes.

    Arm and leg warmers

    Arm and leg warmers are essential for an early morning start because they allow you to keep the coldness off your most vulnerable parts – your limbs. If you do not want to use full leg warmers, you may opt to wear knee warmers instead.

    Neck warmer – multi-scarf

    To keep sweat out of your eyes on cool morning rides, you can use modern Buff-style tube or tunnel neck warmers. You can also transform this important piece from bandana to helmet liners. 

    Cycling sunglasses

    Not only to look cool and summerish but wearing cycling sunglasses is significant for your eye health.  Prevent macular degeneration and invest in your future eyesight by wearing cycling sunglasses that block out UV.

    Cycling mitts

    On a warm-weather ride, you won’t want to wear full gloves, but a pair of light cycling mitts will keep your hands comfortable on the handles. They’ll provide protection in the event of an accident, and their terry-cloth portions will allow you to wipe the sweat away from your face. Just bear in mind that open-backed mitts may leave you with some strange tan marks.

    Key Takeaways 

    Whether you’re riding for fun or for work, remember to study up on the rules of the road before taking a bike ride in the sun. This summer, drivers should remember to examine their surroundings. That extra second could save many lives.

    More importantly, summer is one of the best times to ride a bike if you plan ahead and give heed to your body’s nutritional requirements. So go outside, have some fun, and keep safe. Enjoy biking!

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    Best Tips for a Safer Summer Bike Rides: Ways to Stay Healthy and Clothing to Wear — Bike Hacks