Rumor has it that temperatures will be higher than average this summer, and it is important to remember when heading out on your bike that safety comes first! There are several steps you can take to make sure you are good to your body when biking in the heat. We've come up with a list of guidelines to follow when biking in hot weather to be sure that your body and mind stay healthy and happy.
The Golden Rule: Stay Hydrated!
Electrolytes offer the essential minerals that your body needs to continue working hard. You naturally lose electrolytes when you perspire, so adding electrolytes to your water bottle will help you work harder and recover faster. We carry Clif Shot Electrolyte Hydration powder, GU Hydration Tablets, Skratch Labs Hydration Mix, and Generation UCAN Hydrate Electrolyte Powder. Always drink water before and during your ride to stay hydrated. To keep your water cold on a scorching day, we recommend the 23 ounce Purist Insulated water bottle from Specialized.
Listen to your Body
New technology can help you zero in on what your body is trying to tell you when you're riding in the heat. Certain Garmin watches, such as the Vivoactive, 520, and 1000, can monitor your heart rate and maximum exertion level. If your heart rate goes up significantly, or you start sweating harder, it's a surefire sign that you should slow down the pace a little bit. In addition, if you stop sweating completely, it might be a sign of heat exhaustion, and you should stop to rest up and drink water.
Adding Layers Can Cool You Down
You might not think to add extra layers in the heat, but adding a moisture-wicking base layer will help your skin stay cool and dry. These layers are like tank tops (wear them under your bib and your jersey), and are generally made of polyester that will pull moisture away from your skin so it can evaporate faster. We have sleeveless base layers from Pearl Izumi and Castelli. Castelli even makes a base layer called the Active Cooling Sleeveless that offers additional cooling properties, thanks to the ProSecco ICE fabric.
Shield your Eyes
Since high heat is often accompanied by bright sunlight, it's important to have a good pair of shades that will protect your eyes from the effects of the sun. Oakley has a brand new lineup of lenses called the Prizm that are made for specific sports and environments. There are two lenses for biking, the Prizm Road and the Prizm Trail. The Road enhances your vision in bright light and in shadows, so you'll be able to spot changes in the texture of the road. The Trail enhances reds and browns so you can notice roots, rocks, and other terrain whether in bright light or shadows. We carry several different frame choives for the Prizm Road and the Prizm Trail.
Eat Right for a Better Ride
Don't fill up on heavy foods prior to your ride; you can get all the fuel you need from a smaller meal that is high in nutrients, such as a protein shake and a bar. With lighter foods in your stomach, your body won't have to work as hard on digestion, and can focus more of its energy on staying cool. Try a Clif bar or a Generation UCAN SNACK bar, which contain a slow-releasing carbohydrate called SuperStarch that produces longer-lasting energy by releasing the carbs into your body slowly instead of all at once.
And remember, the earlier you leave for your ride, the cooler it will be and the less time you will spend riding in hot temperatures! Now get out there and enjoy the warm weather!