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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 07-25-10, 04:03 PM   #1
CCrew
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Yikes... Be careful out there in the heat..

Heat suspected in Md. biker's death
A 20-year-old biking in Maryland has died after going into cardiac arrest and authorities suspect heat could be a factor.

Prince George's County Fire and Rescue officials say the man seemed to have gone unconscious while biking around 11:15 a.m. They say witnesses saw the man hit his head on a tree as he fell from his bike.

Paramedics found the man in cardiac arrest and displaying possible signs of heat-related illness. They took him to Fort Washington Hospital Center but he died shortly after arriving. Paramedics said in a press release that high temperatures and humidity “more than likely” played a role in the death. Area temperatures were in the 90s when the incident occurred.

There is a National Weather Service excessive heat warning for the D.C. area, including parts of Maryland and Virginia.
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Old 07-25-10, 04:07 PM   #2
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Too young, that's a travesty.
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Old 07-25-10, 04:41 PM   #3
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You do need to be careful. Someone posted somewhere on BF in the last few weeks about a collapse he suffered on a ride. Almost certainly heat related. I was on a ride last weekend and felt really thirsty as I got to the top of a hill so I stopped to take a rest and a drink. As soon as I got off the bike I felt light headed and had a hot, tingly feeling running up and down my arms. Yikes! I took a long rest which had to be in the sun and I emptied my water bottle. Shade was called for but there was none available. After I felt steady again I proceeded slowly for a couple more miles where the shady area of the path started and shortly after that a water pump was available. I filled my tank again and the well water was much cooler than I expected which helped (tasted awful though). I was about 2 miles from home at that point and was easily able to take it slowly home without any further trouble. You have to take any sign of heat distress very seriously whether in yourself or a companion.

Most of it, I think, is just staying properly hydrated. Simple overheating from exertion is something your body will naturally take care of by refusing to continue at the same pace. Dehydration is far more serious as the OP's report shows. I was at an outdoor event some years ago when a young man rode up on a bike. He had ridden 18 or so miles in some dreadfully hot conditions to get there and started complaining about symptoms similar to mine above and worse. As it happened one of the gentlemen in the group I was with is an ER doctor. He examined the young man and recommended calling an ambulance. The "patient" objected at first and then relented. We made sure his bike was secure for the night and when he showed up the next day to retrieve it he was thanking our doctor companion profusely because he did indeed need an emergency re-hydration in the ER and had a pretty close shave with more serious trouble.

If you are sweating your hydration level is not too bad but you could be flirting with disaster even then. Once you stop sweating you need to act fast and you never should wait that long in fact. The trouble is that in very humid climates your sweat evaporates slowly so you could feel wet for a long while after you stopped sweating. In very dry climates it evaporates so quickly you can't be sure you are sweating and you can't know when you stop sweating. So a better rule of thumb is to just drink, drink, drink. Drink so much that you have to urinate every hour or so. Then you should be ok.

Oh, and while it was a bit cooler this weekend I carried twice my normal water supply and made sure to drink it all. Trying to follow my own advice....

Ken
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Old 07-25-10, 05:06 PM   #4
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I was thinking a little about the heat today when I went riding (It has been a hotter than usual summer in the extreme southwest end of Virginia, where I live, also). BTW there is a recent thread on BF called something like "How do you beat the heat" with some good comments. This year I had my closest encounter with being overcome by the heat while mowing my yard a couple of months ago. I was doing the wrong things, not drinking water or taking breaks (I thought, hey, it's only going to take an hour). After mowing for about 45 minutes I could feel my heart racing like I had been running and I actually got chilled. I did eventually get inside and did recover. Now if it is 95+ degrees with high humidity I will time myself (around 20 minutes) and "force" myself to take a break.

Same on the bike, I've observed my bad riding habits in the heat (like trying to power my way up hills and getting that similar heart-racing delirious feeling). Now I try to listen to my body and take it relatively slower in the heat and look for opportunities to take breaks (and I try to take them BEFORE I actually need them). I'm not "training" for anything so I haven't had to make great adjustments. I think we as cyclist think that (because we are "out there" doing something while many adults are couch potatoes) that we have superhuman ability to take the heat. I'm 45 and I find myself feeling that way still (at twenty I thought I was immortal). We need to put aside our egos, learn to listen to our bodies, and accept that the human body (like any machine) will fail under certain circumstances.

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Old 07-25-10, 06:53 PM   #5
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this is a good read for me as i been riding 40 miles a day for the past few months. The heat the other day did make me feel extremely weak, im not sure if i ever got to the point of falling off. But usually i try to push myself, and last week i felt like i should just go slow, and im glad i did.

20 is awfully young to die like this. I think the drinking plenty of water is good advice, and advice i will take.
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Old 07-25-10, 07:26 PM   #6
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I've been living in the Pacific Northwest for a decade and we don't do heat here. I hear people complain about something they are calling heat, but it seems that they are just repeating what the T.V. weatherman said because it is just never hot here. Oh well, it is also never cold in the Willamette valley, so my only weather complaint is the fact that we have no weather to complain about.

If you do live with heat, the advise about hydration is solid. Also, avoid overly cooled buildings. If there is a temperature difference greater than ten degrees between indoors and outside you are playing with fire.
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Old 07-25-10, 08:26 PM   #7
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stay hydrated, dress appropriately, and stay safe. Even if I bet the tree he hit was "more than likely" the biggest issue.

ride safely guys!
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Old 07-25-10, 10:23 PM   #8
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Finally got a break in the heatwave here. Turned off the A/C in the house for the first time in weeks! I rode more that 2x as many kms today as I have on any other day since the heatwave began.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:50 AM   #9
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That's a shame about the kid. I have noticed that this summer (much more mild than last summer) even with proper hydration, if I get the slightest bit heat sick it tends to last into the next day, keeping me off my bike. This is a new phenomenon and I dont know if it's age related (47) or a result from last summer's 60+ days of 100 or higher. I did get dehydrated once last year. That is a helpless feeling.
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Old 07-26-10, 11:10 AM   #10
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I got cooked on a hot summer ride once on a long hill. Stopped at the top ... and threw up! Drank all the water, rested a bit and then eased on home. Fortunately, I was less than a mile away from the homestead.

Now, I always back it off during the heat ... I don't push it, and I drink plenty, both on the bike and hours before I head out. Makes a big difference.
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Old 07-26-10, 01:00 PM   #11
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Heat and hydration management is huge here in the desert. I've had one close call, when I got busy at work and hadn't consiously been hydrating before the ride home, when it was 116*. I added to that by running out of water a couple of miles from home. Doh! Should have stopped, but I kept riding. I had stopped sweating when I got home and was feeling really and truly messed up. A shower and fluids brought me back fairly quickly, but I learned a lesson that day. Stay ahead of the hydration curve. If you pass the tipping point, you can get in trouble fast.
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Old 07-26-10, 04:28 PM   #12
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Ouch. thank the lord for English summer weather
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Old 07-26-10, 05:35 PM   #13
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Heat is never something you want to play chicken with. I haven't had anything on the bike, but out playing club soccer a few years ago, the thermometer was pushing on 100. And after a full day of tournaments I'll tell you, I was just about done with that day. But long story short, some time during the second half my a blur showed up in my right eye, it got so bad that when I looked down I couldn't see the ball just a patch of blurry grass. That's when I knew it was time to get out. My vision got worse and worse through the rest of the game even sitting in the shade and drinking all the fluids I could. My toungue and fingers got numb and I kid you not, I thought something was wrong with me.

Now, I have a proper respect for exercising in the heat and make sure I drink plenty of water anytime heat starts playing a roll.
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Old 07-26-10, 06:30 PM   #14
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With me I try to stay out of the sun by either commuting before or after the peak hours between 11-3. Still be careful nonetheless.
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