Stay hydrated! Dehydration is a big risk when biking in the heat so make sure to drink enough water to prevent this. Drink plenty of water before and after you ride and make sure to pack extra water along with you on your ride, stopping often to take breaks and hydrate. Drinks containing sodium and electrolytes are also helpful because they replace salt that is lost when you sweat.
Dress for the weather. Make sure to wear clothing made of lightweight and breathable materials so that sweat can evaporate easily and you can keep your body temperature cooler. Opt for lighter colors rather than dark colors like black, as black will absorb heat rather than reflect it. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen to protect from the sun, and as always, wear a properly fitted helmet when you ride!
Take breaks – as many as you need. Even if you don’t feel like you need a break, it is better to be safe than sorry. Stop often to replenish with water and electrolytes, cool down by splashing some water on yourself, and spend some time in the shade or indoors. Check out this map of Bike Easy Certified Organizations for some awesome places you can stop in and take a break from the heat and even score some deals as part of our Member Discount Program.
Know the signs of heat exhaustion. It is important to know the symptoms of heat exhaustion and watch out for them when riding in the heat. If you start to experience excessive sweating, an increased heart rate, feelings of fatigue and dizziness, pale and clammy skin, and/or muscle cramps, take a break immediately and try to cool off and hydrate. If not properly treated, heat exhaustion can progress to heat stroke and be very dangerous.
Time your rides around the heat. It is hottest outside from 12 pm to 5 pm, so if possible try to avoid riding in these hours. Riding earlier in the morning or in the evening can be more enjoyable in the summer weather and allow you to stay cooler. Just remember to use lights and wear reflective gear if you are biking in the dark.
And above all, know your limits. Don’t be ashamed to take as many breaks as necessary or shorten your distance if the heat becomes too much. There is no shame in listening to your body and knowing your limits. Summer biking should be fun and enjoyable, just make sure you are well equipped to handle the heat! Remember these tips so you can stay safe and healthy while enjoying your next summertime ride.