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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-14-08, 07:00 PM   #1
Tri-FatBoy
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Heat Blisters

Outside of hydrating more often, and slowing down to keep cool, what all do you folks do to prevent heat related problems? I ask, as the return leg of my last commute the air temp was over 100F, no telling what was coming off the road, and I had to stop several times to refill and relax. (note: my commute is 20mi each direction, or about an hour in the heat).
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Old 05-14-08, 09:33 PM   #2
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I deal with the heat and humidity here in Georgia too. Many people don't realize how dangerous the heat can be... especially when you're out in the sun.

Here are the things that I do to help:
  • Hydrate! Drink all day long. Drink all night long. Staying hydrated is tough during the summer where it's so darn hot. I even lay off of the caffeine and other foods that have a diuretic effect.
  • Wear cooler clothing. During the hot months, I wear cycling jerseys or wicking T-shirts. Lycra shorts with chamois to handle the moisture helps.
  • Hydrate!
  • Brooks saddles. For me, plastic saddles suck in the heat. Leather saddles help with the sweat... and they are just more comfy to me.
  • Hydrate!
  • Use your common sense. Don't be afraid to stop and take refuge from the heat. Last summer, I used poor judgment and tried to ride as the heat index topped 118 degrees. I ended up camping out in a Wal-Mart for about an hour to cool down and recover so that I could get home.

Take care... know when to take it easy... and you'll be fine.
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Old 05-15-08, 07:21 AM   #3
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100+ degrees already? Good grief! Normally don't see those temps in Indiana, but do deal with humidity similar to Georgia.
Coffee/caffeine contributes to dehydration? Not according to recent scientific thought/research:
"But research has not confirmed that notion. Most studies have found that in moderate amounts, caffeine has only mild diuretic effects — much like water." NY Times 2008
"There is no evidence that caffeine in beverage form is dehydrating. Its diuretic effects are usually compensated for by the beverage's fluid content." Univ. of Illinois McKinley Health Center
Can I have a warm up, please? Drink up!
But don't drink too much, generally. Some folks do get into trouble by following advice to Drink! Drink! Drink! without regard for whether or not they need to. Hyponatremia is a real danger - doesn't happen often but is very dangerous when it does occur.
There should be a correlation between fluid intake and hydration level. Drink when you are thirsty, etc.
A 20 mile commute in 100+ temps? Probably can't drink too much.

Stopping riding or dialing down the exertion level in extreme heat is good advice.
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Old 05-15-08, 07:44 AM   #4
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100+ degrees already? Good grief! Normally don't see those temps in Indiana, but do deal with humidity similar to Georgia.
Coffee/caffeine contributes to dehydration? Not according to recent scientific thought/research:
"But research has not confirmed that notion. Most studies have found that in moderate amounts, caffeine has only mild diuretic effects much like water." NY Times 2008
"There is no evidence that caffeine in beverage form is dehydrating. Its diuretic effects are usually compensated for by the beverage's fluid content." Univ. of Illinois McKinley Health Center
Can I have a warm up, please? Drink up!
Hey... The OP asked what we do to help deal with heat issues. I didn't say that my strategy is based in 100% sound scientific principles! But it's what I do to help with the heat. Last year we had 12 consecutive days with a heat index over 105F (with 5 days over 115F heat index) and I managed to ride through it unscathed... so it works for me.

That said, the main reason that I avoid coffee and other high caffeine beverages in hot weather is simply because there are other things that I can drink that are better suited for helping my body recover quickly from high heat conditions.

And more than a little of it may be psychological. But whatever it is... it helps me.
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Old 05-15-08, 07:54 AM   #5
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Hey... The OP asked what we do to help deal with heat issues. I didn't say that my strategy is based in 100% sound scientific principles! But it's what I do to help with the heat. Last year we had 12 consecutive days with a heat index over 105F (with 5 days over 115F heat index) and I managed to ride through it unscathed... so it works for me.

That said, the main reason that I avoid coffee and other high caffeine beverages in hot weather is simply because there are other things that I can drink that are better suited for helping my body recover quickly from high heat conditions.

And more than a little of it may be psychological. But whatever it is... it helps me.
Figuring out what works for you and then doing it is the key to tolerating heat.
I spent 8 years in Atlanta as a 4-season commuter and well remember the heat/humidity you are dealing with. Kudzu loves that kind of weather.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:02 AM   #6
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Acclimatization is also key. That first real hot day you have to be a little conservative and take it easy -- you'll develop some tolerance as you go. Equally important is knowing the signs and symptoms of various heat-related illnesses: dehydration, heat exhaustion, heat stroke. Sunscreen helps, as does a headsweats or something similar (it's easy enough to make one of your own if you can get the material and are reasonably handy -- you need some tricot and some elastic and a bit of terry, and use of a sewing machine).
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Old 05-15-08, 08:08 AM   #7
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Acclimatization is also key.
Oh yeah... I forgot that!

I commute year 'round... so slowly getting used to the heat sort of takes care of itself. But Brown Bat is right... if you've spent the last few months in a carefully climate controlled environment, don't expect to go out in 95 degree heat and ride like it's 50F outside.
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Old 05-15-08, 11:06 AM   #8
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I was somewhat amazed at just how hot you get commuting in conditions like this. About half way home one night, I stopped at a traffic light and felt my internal body temperature rise quickly. After that, I only come to a complete stop when absolutely necessary.

Fill an insulated water bottle with ice cubes and water. You may not know what a rush it is to pour some ice water on your head when you are really hot.
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