Summer is well and truly making its way to the British Isles, and after what feels like months of wind and rain, well, we’re here for it. Riding in the sunshine is one of life’s greatest feelings, but with warmer weather comes some different challenges compared to riding at other times of year. We’ve put together a few tips to help you ride safely and in comfort this summer.
Staying hydrated is important all year round, but in the heat it’s easier to lose more fluids and become dehydrated. Make sure you top up your bidons before you go for a ride and if you’re putting in some effort think about putting in some electrolytes in your bottles to help replace the sweat lost.
This might be easier said than done if you’re riding hard, but try and be smart with the type of material and kit you wear when the temperature rises. A thin sweat wicking sleeveless baselayer is a good option if you want a layer between your skin and your jersey. Otherwise, a thin, summer specific short sleeve jersey and shorts are your best bet.
Now is also the time to leave the winter socks at home. Thin summer socks are sweat wicking and will help to keep your feet cool.
Of course, dressing sensibly will depend on where you are - if you’re riding up the Alps, for example, then you will want to consider a lightweight jacket for when you reach the top or for descending as the air temperature is cooler than at sea level.
Wear chamois cream
We’re not just saying this because we’re biased, but hot weather = sweating, even downstairs. When you sweat in your nether regions it can at best lead to discomfort, but at worst lead to bacteria growth and unpleasantness. Wearing chamois cream can act as a barrier between your skin and your chamois pad so you can ride in comfort for longer.
Curious about chamois cream? Check ours out here.
Avoid the warmest parts of the day
If it’s possible, your new best times to ride will be early morning or in the evening once the sun has been at its highest. Riding in the hottest parts of the day will increase your risk of sunstroke and sunburn - if it’s during the working week and you work a 9-5 then this won’t be an issue, but for the rest of us it’s something to consider when planning our rides.
If you can’t avoid training or riding at these times of day then make sure you wear a cap, take plenty of liquids, and try to stick to shady areas as much as possible. Now isn’t the time to be breaking any PBs or grabbing any QOMs.
Wear sun cream
This one really goes without saying but sometimes it’s easy to forget that cyclists are susceptible to skin cancer and all the other horrible things that come with prolonged sun exposure. Make sure you apply sun cream and let it soak in before you leave the house. Not only will it help to prevent wrinkles and signs of ageing, but it’ll reduce your risk of skin cancer - so it’s worth the occasional sweat induced drip into your eye.
Have an ice lolly waiting for you in the freezer
If you’re like us and really struggle in the heat, make sure you have something like a nice cool ice lolly waiting for you in the freezer. It’s cooling, tasty and will help replace lost electrolytes (or at least that’s what we tell ourselves). Ice lollies are basically pro recovery food.
Recover with our Soothing Gel
Our Soothing Gel is a bit of a wondrous product. It’s great for recovery and massaging into sore muscles, but it’s also been used with success as after sun (thanks to the aloe vera). The cooling menthol is also great for post warm rides when you need a bit of relief from the heat. Want to learn more? We wrote a blog on some of the best uses for our Soothing Gel here.