It's official: Summer is here. The heat wave hit this week, and bike commuting in this extreme weather gets some of us down. Even a leisurely bike ride around town can inspire sweat in the most active of cyclists. In fact, it can be so tough, that this month begins the July 500, which is a challenge for cyclists to ride 500 miles this month! (Follow the #July500 action on Google Plus.)
1. Lather up.
We love the beach, but sun screen shouldn't be reserved only for sandy shores. If you're out biking to work in the sun, or just out for a leisure ride, be sure to apply. It's easy to forget, so throw a bottle in your bike bag or basket so you always have it on you!
With the wind in your hair, sometimes the sun doesn't feel quite as harsh while you ride--but beware--you're still getting hit by the suns rays!
2. Slow down, Lance.
Oh, we know you like to pretend you're in the Tour de France on your bike commute to work, but let's save that for another season. In the summer, it's a good idea to wake up a little earlier, and leave yourself a few extra minutes to get to work. Take it eaaasyy. If you ride slower, you'll sweat less, and get to work cooler and happier.
3. Drink lots of water
Seems like a no brainier, but just like sun screen, it's easy to forget to stay hydrated! Have a couple of glasses before you leave the house, and make sure to bring a bottle of water along with you for the ride...or maybe you should just throw it all over your face like our friend above.
BONUS TIP: If you want to stay cool, bring cold water--you can even put a half bottle of water in the freezer the night before, take it out, and fill it up all the way before you leave.
Nothing keeps you going more than a cold sip of ice water during a scorching ride!
4a. Bring a full change of clothes
With the humidity here on the east coast, even peering out of your window can produce beads of sweat. Even if you don't think you'll need it, always pack an extra change of clothes.
If you can, buy a set of clothes that you'll always ride in--shoot for something comfortable, breathable and light. Wear those just for your ride, and keep your work clothes in your bag and change when you get there. If you have the opportunity and need to shower, make sure to pack a towel as well!
4b. Keep your work clothes at work!
We already spoke about lightening your load, and it's a great idea! If you can afford the luxury of keeping your work clothes at work, do it! Check with the boss and see if it's OK to keep a change of clothes at the workplace. Why not?
Some people keep a whole weeks worth of clothes at work with their shower supplies too!
5. Utilize bike panniers, trunk bags, and baskets.
In the winter time, wearing a backpack or messenger bag can help to keep you warm and insulated, but during the summer it's good to shed some weight! Keep your things in a bike pannier or trunk bag and you won't have to worry about sweating against your back. The same goes for a basket, throw a basket on your rear rack or handlebars and you've got a great space for your things! Keep the bike bag off of your back and on your steed.
6. Let's talk about headgear, ba-by.
You know what they say: headgear is sexy. They do say that right? Anyway...wearing a hat, cap, or bandanna can help you stay cooler in the summer months. A hat can help keep the sun out of your eyes and off of your face, while a bandanna or headband can help keep the sweat out of your eyes on a hot bike ride.
BONUS TIP: On a sweltering hot day, soak a headband or bandanna in cold water before you leave. You'll stay cooler longer and it will feel great!
7. Keep your tire pressure up
Your tire pressure can make a big difference in the ease of your ride. When the temperatures are high, it's good not to put any more stress on your body than is necessary.
During icy, winter conditions a lower pressure can help you from slipping on the road, but since we no longer have to worry about that, do regular checks and make sure that your tire pressure is at the correct level.
What do you think?
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