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  1. #1
    Junior Member Goldor's Avatar
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    Heat is not the problem, Humidity is.

    So I started riding last month while I was down in Arizona visiting family and friends. Started off horrible only able to ride two miles or so but got up to 10 or so before I left to come back home to Texas, thinking that because the heat is about the same I could likely ride about what I could before I started off on monday as if it wasn't a big deal, about four miles in I'm already dead. The humidity here is horrible, and my usual trick of using a wet bandana does nothing. Any tips on dealing with the heat while it is 50%+ humidity at all times?

  2. #2
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    It's the combination of heat and humidity. Would it be possible to ride at night or the very early morning? In any case, you DO get used to it. Just as there was a ramp-up of your capabilities in Arizona, there'll be a ramp up in Texas.
    L'asino di Buridano...

  3. #3
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    The Only way that I can ride in it, is to pour Ice water on my head and neck about every 20 minutes.
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Humidity is more dangerous than one would initially think.

    The body cools itself by sweating, and then the act of the air evaporating the sweat cools you down. Unfortunately in humid air, since the air is so full of moisture already, sweat evaporates more slowly, and if the humidity is high enough, not at all.


    So on a really humid day, you could be perfectly hydrated and still dangerously overheat because sweating just doesn't work right in high humidity. So, be careful out there, and dial it down when it's high.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Goldor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony_merlino View Post
    It's the combination of heat and humidity. Would it be possible to ride at night or the very early morning? In any case, you DO get used to it. Just as there was a ramp-up of your capabilities in Arizona, there'll be a ramp up in Texas.
    My free time is generally from 11 am to 3-4pm, the only day i could ride if I restrict myself to night or early morning would be Sundays unfortunately. It just real disappointing to have to pretty much start over again.

    I'll start taking a camelback and a bottle of ice water then, that way I can use it to keep cooler by doing the same 10 Wheels, thanks!

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    I live in Houston, under the great gulf humidity bubble. You think Waco is bad? Try Houston.

    I am a 40 mile round trip commuter.

    The mornings are worse because there is no evaporation. My evening ride is a considerably more pleasant, and that's mid-90's (F) currently. It'll stay there until September.

    I carry two bandanas. For the trip home I start out wearing one. I change that one out about halfway into my commute. Take off the wet one, wring it out, tie it to the handlebar, put the new one on, continue on my way. The first one is dry by the time I get home.

    There's not much that I know you can do to combat it but keep yourself hydrated and keep on pushing.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    It's unseasonably warm and sunny right now, and we're dealing with 68 degrees F.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  8. #8
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    Granted it doesn't get as hot around here (95-100F) but it is very humid. Favoring the early/late hours for rides is the best option, but even begining early, it'll get toasty towards the end of the ride. Sun sleeves and a tank top base layer helped a lot dealing with heat/humidity here. Soaks up sweat away from the skin but keeps the moisture layer that cools off with air there. Noticeable difference IMO.
    Proper hydration becomes even more important when humidity increases.

  9. #9
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    The body cools itself by sweating, and then the act of the air evaporating the sweat cools you down. Unfortunately in humid air, since the air is so full of moisture already, sweat evaporates more slowly, and if the humidity is high enough, not at all.
    +1

    The term "relative humidity" is a measure of the "absolute humidity" (measured in milligrams water vapor/meter^3) divided by the absolute humidity at its fully saturated state at the current temperature and barometric pressure. It is measured using a device called a wet bulb thermometer. This thing is actually two thermometers. One has a dry bulb, the other has the bulb wrapped in gauze that is soaked in water. They are spun through the air for several seconds, then the two temperatures are read. At low humidity water evaporates off the wet bulb rapidly and the temperature difference to the dry bulb is large. At high humidity, there is little evaporation, because the air is too saturated to absorb more water, and the temperature difference is small.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Goldor's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice and info. I'm going to try and rearrange my schedule so I have more time to ride when it isn't the hottest part of the day, just have to hope I'm convincing enough as I really do need to stick with this.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DaninTexas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkippyX View Post
    I live in Houston, under the great gulf humidity bubble. You think Waco is bad? Try Houston.

    I am a 40 mile round trip commuter.

    The mornings are worse because there is no evaporation. My evening ride is a considerably more pleasant, and that's mid-90's (F) currently. It'll stay there until September.

    I carry two bandanas. For the trip home I start out wearing one. I change that one out about halfway into my commute. Take off the wet one, wring it out, tie it to the handlebar, put the new one on, continue on my way. The first one is dry by the time I get home.

    There's not much that I know you can do to combat it but keep yourself hydrated and keep on pushing.
    You commute 40 miles in Houston? You sir deserve a badge of honor. It also makes me wonder about doing the same.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Like WA, Pacific NW OR coast, summer the grey daylight is longer ,
    winter high , becomes the summer Low.. 80 is a scorcher..

    rain gear always in the pannier.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaninTexas View Post
    You commute 40 miles in Houston?
    Yep, I do 40 miles p/day.

    20 In. 20 Out.

    I live up around Little York & I-45, and I ride over to Westheimer & Kirkwood area. Mostly I'm on residential roads going through the Spring Branch area north of I-10.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaninTexas View Post
    It also makes me wonder about doing the same.
    It's really not as bad as one would think. You know Houston is flat as a table. The heat is the hardest part of it. Sometimes I just have to grit my teeth and keep sweating.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaninTexas View Post
    You sir deserve a badge of honor.
    Thank you, sir.

  14. #14
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    just keep hydrated really. Use a camelback if needed and put ice cubes in there. Yes it might be a little heavier but to be frank, it will do the hydration trick too!

  15. #15
    Senior Member CommuteCommando's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    just keep hydrated really. Use a camelback if needed and put ice cubes in there. Yes it might be a little heavier but to be frank, it will do the hydration trick too!
    Yes, hydration is important, but at near 100% humidity, hydration alone isn't going to be effective in preventing heat stroke. Ice is good, but cubes will melt more quickly. One strategy I have used is to fill a water bottle about 2/3 full then lay it on it's side in the freezer overnight. Leave enough room at the opening to add water. Fill your second bottle all the way up before freezing. During the ride the second bottle should be melted enough to drink from by the time you finish the first. Plan the ride so you have opportunities to duck into a convenience store if you feel the need for some AC. I haven't tried the "giant popsicle" thing with a Camelback, but it could be worth a try.

    If you start showing symptoms, applying cool water directly to the skin will work. 7-Eleven stores here in CA are now putting hand washing sinks at the coffee bars, and I suspect they may be doing it nationwide.
    As much as you paid for that Beemer [Mercedies, Audi, Escalade], I'm surprised it didn't come equipped with turn signals.

  16. #16
    Member Mark.from.Texas's Avatar
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    +1 on the icecubes,

    I fill my 24oz bottles halfway the night before I will be riding and freeze them and top them off just before I leave. The 1st one will be partly slushy when starting to drink it, the second one fully melted but still nice and cold.

    edit: should have read all the posts, I pretty much copied Commando's but hey, it works great.

    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    just keep hydrated really. Use a camelback if needed and put ice cubes in there. Yes it might be a little heavier but to be frank, it will do the hydration trick too!

  17. #17
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    I live in north central Florida so I feel your pain. I've found that riding early morning or at night is the best. Since you cant do that just take a ton of water. I rarely leave the house with under 70 ounces of water. I have a Hydrapak Big Sur that holds between 70 to 100 ounces of water depending on how the bladder is set up. I also have 2 cages on my bike that hold the 21 (I think) ounce insulated Camelbak bottles. There's been more than a few rides where I carry my full capacity of 142 ounces of water depending on the ride, heat, and humidity. Dont push your pace to hard either. Take a stop if its needed.

    One day I rode 52 miles of rail trail and residential streets and didnt finish all of my water, but it was overcast and lightly raining so I stayed cool. Sunday this week I did a 28 mile ride after tropical storm Debby (dumped a foot of rain on us) which was mostly mountain bike trails at 1 in the afternoon. I had to take a detour to refill my water. The heat and humidity from all of that rain cooking off in the afternoon was insane.

    That mountain bike ride was BRUTAL compared to the rail trail ride.

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    I can't ride well in the heat. I feel like I'm suffering too much. The last two rides I did were the first two that I actually went slower than previous rides. I just couldn't maintain the pace on the hard parts because I hated the heat so much.

  19. #19
    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    These posts have been useful for me - tomorrow is my first commute in 100 degree heat. I will take plenty of water and go easy when needed. Thanks for the helpful tips.

  20. #20
    Senior Member tergal's Avatar
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    I know when it gets really hot here, i add 15-20 mins to my trip. Then there is this spot about half way i get off my bike sit down on the grass in the shade and ***** about the heat to my self and the bike .

    It takes longer, but some days it is so hot you just need a break.
    Tact is for people who arenít witty enough to use sarcasm.

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  21. #21
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    On hot days a camelbak full of icecubes and cold water will help block the sun on my back with something wet and cool. I got an insulated cover for the drinking hose so I don't have tepid water or have to waste the water that heats up in the tube between sips.
    Humidity just kills me. I was just wilting on an early ride, temps in mid 80s but no breeze and high humidity. As it got hotter out, the humidity burned off and finally got a bit of a breeze. It really perked me up.
    If you can avoid riding with the sun overhead it will help.
    I am delaying my evening rides to start after 7pm if possible. Sunset is around 8:30 so I do need to bring lights.
    I am easing off the pace, my heart will get enough work just trying to keep me from overheating.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tony_merlino View Post
    It's the combination of heat and humidity. Would it be possible to ride at night or the very early morning? In any case, you DO get used to it. Just as there was a ramp-up of your capabilities in Arizona, there'll be a ramp up in Texas.
    Ride very early in the morning and get acclimated to it a little at a time. Never, ever get dehydrated! I rode in 105 degree heat today. As long as you keep moving, it's manageable. Stop and you wonder what the heck you're doing out there..... ; )
    "Only the knife knows what goes on in the heart of the pumpkin"

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roadfrog View Post
    Ride very early in the morning and get acclimated to it a little at a time. Never, ever get dehydrated! I rode in 105 degree heat today. As long as you keep moving, it's manageable. Stop and you wonder what the heck you're doing out there..... ; )
    lol. I would agree with this. Stopping at lights is a drag when it is so hot out.

  24. #24
    Junior Member Goldor's Avatar
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    I know it's been a long time, but an update is I never fully adjusted to it and still struggle with the humidity during the summer time. I've lost a good 40 pounds over the year or so and am still biking, I bike about 50-60 miles a week every week and am actually intending to ride my bike everywhere I go from here on out as everything I want is pretty much within about 10 miles.

  25. #25
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Good report Goldor......
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

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