Summer is well and truly here in Europe, and with this year’s season of such unprecedented heat, it has never been more important to stay cool while out for a ride. Not only can cycling with a high body temperature be uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous as you risk overheating.
Here is a list of tips for keeping cool while you cycle, from staying hydrated to the best outfit to wear in summer.
1. Stay hydrated
Probably the most obvious tip we can give you is to ensure that you stay well hydrated throughout your ride. But while drinking water regularly during your trip is very important, it is also important to drink water before and after you cycle.
Experts suggest drinking around 500ml an hour for up to four hours before you go on a long bicycle ride, mixed with electrolytes if you have them for maximum water uptake.
During the ride keep your pace up with 500ml of water + electrolytes per hour, or more if you’re cycling on a particularly hot day.
Finally, after you cycle resist the urge to break with an ice-cold beer and opt for another 500ml of water. This will replace all the water lost during your ride and make sure that your body recovers well.
2. Take rests
Another top tip is to allow yourself time to rest, and to give yourself access to cold beverages when you do. This may mean planning a route that passes cafes or kiosks for a cold drink or an ice cream, or bringing a bottle that can keep your water cool.
3. Use sunscreen
This is particularly important if you have pale skin, but everyone who goes out for a long bicycle ride should be applying and reapplying sun cream throughout the journey. Make sure you buy a SPF 50+ or higher sun cream and apply it everywhere your skin is exposed to the sun, stopping every four hours to add more.
4. Wear clothing with UV protection
You’re going to want to wear the right clothing when going for a bicycle ride in the summer heat - something lightweight, light-coloured clothing that will allow your body to breathe.
These clothes would also ideally come with UV protection - for the maximum protection and comfort we would recommend that you choose something made of Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) 50, which will protect 98% of your skin from UV rays. Make sure you have a good pair of UV protected sunglasses too.
5. Choose a good time of day
Finally, you get to choose when you ride! Pick a time in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not so strong and the heat not so oppressive. Another benefit of cycling at these times is that the traffic is typically lighter and the roads, therefore, safer.
Enjoy your time in the sun on your bicycle - it’s summer, a beautiful time of year - but stay safe, and stay cool.