October 22, 2013

Bicycling in Hot Weather

With warm weather comes the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors in a whole new light. For many people, this involves taking out their bikes, filling their tires, and going for a nice ride. While bike riding is an amazing activity that offers a bounty of scenery, exercise, and great transportation, there are a few things that even the most seasoned biker ought to watch out for. With warmer weather comes the danger of dehydration and heat exhaustion.

The Iowa Bicycle Coalition had recently put out a survey called Beat the Heat in an effort to find out more about how our members deal with the warm weather. We wanted to find out what the recommendations are to keep cool during the dog days of summer. A variety of responses came back, but they all seemed to focus on hydration, rests, and sunscreen.

When asked the question “How do you deal with hot weather and bicycling” 71% of our members agreed that one should drink more water. It is always important to stay hydrated no matter what kind of exercise you partake in. When asked how often to drink water, most bikers suggested some every ten to fifteen to stave off the effects of dehydration. There were, however, various answers that gave more tips. One person went so far as to explain that they stopped to take a drink of water before every large hill, and at the top of them.

The next highest answer for how to deal with hot weather and biking involved biking early. One of the other responses took that answer and switched it around. Instead of biking early they biked late. During dawn and dusk the days’ temperatures are at their lowest, making it easier to bike in.

The last question on the survey was about what other things are very important when bike riding. A large majority of the answers, about 87%, said that next to water, sunscreen was one of the most important things to remember. It’s never any fun to go outside and ride with lobster red skin. It hurts, it peels, and it’s terribly itchy, especially when wet. Lip balm and bandanas were amongst the other things important to remember. Bandanas to wick off sweat and lip balm for those wind chafed lips!

Biking is a wonderful activity embraced by many. As the weather gets warmer and warmer it is important to remember a couple tips. First, drink a lot of water, as hydration is one of the most important things to stave off heat exhaustion. You might even consider drinking things with electrolytes or having small healthy snacks. Next, be sure to pack and put on that sunscreen! It is highly agreed that sunscreen is one of the most important things to use come the summer months. Also, one should keep to the shade and try to use things such as bandanas and breathable fabrics to make their rides more comfortable. Whether you’re biking for recreation or for exercise, keep these tips in mind and your ride will be an enjoyable success.