Summer has arrived, and the balmy afternoons that come with it will make cycling enthusiasts very excited. However, it is important to take extra care to ensure that the hotter weather doesn’t wear you out on the roads or trails.
Here are five tips to keep cool while cycling this summer.
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
When the weather is warmer, hydration during a ride is more important than ever before, because we lose more fluids when we sweat more. Plan your ride, and fill up your hydration pack or water bottle accordingly. A good rule of thumb is to plan for about 500ml to a litre of water per hour. Remember to take small sips throughout your ride – you’ll already be dehydrated if you wait until you’re thirsty before drinking water.
2. Slap on some sunscreen
You should definitely always put on sunscreen if you’re going for a ride during the day, but the South African sun beats down especially harshly in summer. Take care to put a high-factor sunscreen on your cheeks, nose, ears, arms, legs, and any other part of your body where the skin is exposed. Don’t forget the back of your calves! Wear a buff under your helmet to prevent sunburn on your head.
3. Wear the right gear
Lightweight cycling kits with moisture-wicking properties are the ideal attire for a summer ride. Well-vented shoes and thin socks will keep your feet dry on your ride.
4. Put on shades
You’ll be sorry if you forget to put on sunglasses before your ride. Sunglasses with UV protection keep your eyes guarded against harsh UV rays, reflections and glare, and it’s just so much more comfortable to ride without having to squint the entire time.
5. Pace yourself
Avoid riding when the sun is at its brightest and hottest, and remember to keep your energy expenditure at a minimum to extend your ride. Keep a steady pace and take regular breaks in the shade.
If you adhere to these basic recommendations, your summer cycling season is set to be a sizzler – in the best possible way. Go on, grab life by the handlebars!