Keeping it cool! 5 summer cycling tips
8th June, 2022
You may be eager to get outside, make the most of the sun and start exploring on your tricycle, but summer cycling doesn’t come without it’s own set of challenges. We may have said goodbye to icy roads, snowy skies and bitterly cold conditions, but you now need to watch out for sticky tar on the roads, dehydration and sun damage to your skin!
So, as we gradually welcome in the warmer weather we wanted to share with you our 5 ways to stay safe when cycling this summer.
One of the biggest problems people face when cycling in hot weather is keeping themselves hydrated as your body will naturally try to cool itself down by sweating. It can be hard to grasp how much fluid you’re losing when it’s particularly hot outside as the sweat evaporates much quicker. It’s therefore important to not only drink when you’re thirsty, but to drink little and often to keep on top of your hydration. In doing so, you will steadily replenish your fluids and prevent yourself from getting dehydrated whilst cycling.
It’s also vital that in warmer weather you’re hydrating your body before and after exercise. Drinking water not only during your cycle, but before and after will help prevent fatigue and muscle cramping.
Don’t forget your sun cream
Slathering yourself in sun cream before setting off on a long cycle in the sunshine will not only avoid sporting a t-shirt tan all summer, but prevent sun damage.
The breeze you feel when cycling at speed can make it easy to underestimate the suns strength. Applying sun cream to points of your body which are directly exposed to the sun when cycling is particularly important, for example your neck, ears and shoulders.
Preparing your route
You don’t want to get lost or end up aimlessly cycling under the blazing sun, in temperatures that we aren’t quite used to over here in the UK! We’d encourage you to determine the route you’re going to take prior to setting off so you can plan when you’re going to stop to refuel and rehydrate. Even if you’re not cycling at speed or for a particularly long distance, it’s important to stay hydrated!
We’d also recommend familiarising yourself with the area that you’re off to explore and the surrounding routes. This means if you’re struggling in the heat, then you can figure out a way to cut your cycle short rather than pushing yourself too much in the heat.
Avoid cycling at midday
The middle of the day is when the sun is at its strongest. So, if you know you don’t do well in the heat but still want to enjoy the nicer weather, then we’d recommend cycling early in the morning or late at night. This way you still get to take advantage of the clear skies and bright sunshine, whilst avoiding the hottest period of the day. There’s also the benefit of quieter roads at these times!
In the height of summer, when the heat peaks around midday, tar on the roads can also become sticky and slippery, and can pose a risk to cyclists. This is another reason that we’d recommend you to avoid cycling at midday. Try to get out when the sun hasn’t quite risen or just as it’s setting!
Don’t push yourself!
Although keeping yourself hydrated, protected from the sun and avoiding the hottest periods of the day can help when cycling in the summer, you should also just take it easy! The hotter it is outside, the more stress your body will be put under when exercising. Some warnings signs that you’re over working your body in the heat include nausea, muscle cramps, weakness, headache and dizziness.
Click here for the NHS advice on heat exhaustion, heatstroke and other warning signs to watch out for.