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Beat the Heat

Beat the Heat

It’s getting hot out there! Really hot, as spring seems to have vanished before our very eyes in a matter of seconds and turned into the long, hot summer. But this doesn’t mean we can’t keep riding – and still enjoy the riding. Here are a few tips to help you beat the heat and ride all summer long…

Early or late. Try and ride early in the day or late in the day – for obvious reasons.


Hydrate! This is the key, and it starts the day and evening before. If you’re going for a morning ride, have an extra glass or two of water in the evening, and a little extra in the morning before you ride. If you’re riding later in the day, make sure to drink steadily throughout the day. Limit or eliminate your alcohol consumption the night before a ride.

Cold! I find it’s easier to drink more and a lot more refreshing when my water or sports drink is cold. A Camelback system is great, but I don’t have one and rely on water bottles. I have a couple insulated ones, and fill them to the brim with ice, and then top it off with sports drink. If you don’t have insulated water bottles, fill a water bottle or two halfway the night before – and put them in the freezer. Before you ride, add water or sports drink.

Drink. Drink constantly while you ride. I keep an eye on my computer and take a gulp or two every three miles.

Resupply. Bring two water bottles with you, which should be enough for a 25- or 30-mile ride, maybe 35. If you’re going much further, make sure there’s a convenience store or water fountain along your route so you can refill.

Bike shirts. Cotton T-shirts are sweat magnets and soon you’ll be dripping wet and feel icky and hot. Bike shirts magically wick away moisture and sweat and you really do feel cool, especially when you’re riding and creating wind.

I think this picture was taken on a really hot day, if not, I apologize

Distance. A sweltering, 90-degree day may not be the right time to ride 20 miles further than you’re ever ridden and take on giant hills. If it’s really hot – ride a distance you can easily handle at a pace you’re comfortable with.

Rest. If you start to feel flushed, faint or dizzy, find some shade, stop, rest and drink a lot – and then drink some more. Rest for a good 15 minutes or even longer, and if you’re still not feeling right, use the cell phone you always carry with you when you ride – and call someone to pick you up.

Ice cream! Any ride is an excuse for an ice cream break, and this goes triple on a hot day. Coffee? Not so much … caffeine in all its assorted forms dehydrates you.

Sunscreen. Actually, temperature doesn’t matter – always wear sunscreen.

Rehydrate. When you’re done, drink, drink, drink … and have a snack that’s high in carbs and low on protein, about a 3-to-1 ratio.

A cold shower. Nothing feels better after a long, hot ride than a shower – and a cool one can help lower your body temperature and bring it back to normal. But make sure to let the water rain down on you long enough – and cold enough – to stop you from sweating. Otherwise, after a quick, warm shower – you’ll just start sweating again, which is really annoying.


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  1. gooseneck - June 12, 2011

    Excellent advice! Thanks Steve!

  2. Amy - June 12, 2011

    Camelbacks are the way to go with hydration. You can carry lots of water that way and it stays really cool.

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