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  1. #1
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    How hot is too hot?

    Okay, so I'm in the vague planning process for a 3 week vacation next May. One of the options on the table is Cuba, where we've been talking about doing a bike tour for a couple of years.

    The trouble is weather. May is what fits into our schedule, so that's when the trip is going to be, but by then the Caribbean has daytime highs of 30-33C (86-92F), and being "rainy season," it's a bit muggy. I've never really tried touring in hot weather...is this doable, or would I be better off picking a cooler destination, or just doing a backpacking trip instead. Flight prices are a factor - of places that are on our possibilities list, Cuba's the cheapest to get to by about $350 per person.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Well if the summer gets hot in AB, where you live, you may cope better..

    Friend from Fresno complains, 9 months of the year, out on the NW coast..

    but cant afford the duplication of winter and summer houses.

    Me I've adapted to locality, 80F gets to be a high end of comfortable range,
    but I'm OK at 40F, too.. usually 50/50.. winter high is the summer Low

  3. #3
    Senior Member saddlesores's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil View Post
    but by then the Caribbean has daytime highs of 30-33C (86-92F), and being "rainy season," it's a bit muggy. I've never really tried touring in hot weather...is this doable,
    it's doable. just depends on what you're acclimated to.

    i love riding in hot weather...death valley is awesome in july.
    humidity sucks, though.
    some like riding in the snow. i'm miserable below 50F.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
    it's doable. just depends on what you're acclimated to.
    Exactly, nobody can answer this but you neil.
    I'm another that loves hot weather, but many don't & I'd find their ideal temperature too cold, as I say only you can know by trying it.

  5. #5
    Garlic
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    92F is not an immediately dangerous temperature, but uncomfortable depending on humidity. You'll just have to decide if the discomfort is worth the other considerations. Take a little care about hydration and nutrition, and rest in the heat of the day (very easy to do in Hispanic countries!).

    US cross country tourists had to deal with sustained heat in the 100F+ range this year, with dewpoints in the 70s (very humid). There are plenty of long distance riders who deal with extreme heat in the summer. Most make it without injury, with a little preparation and experience.

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    For at least 6 months out of the year, most of my riding (North Florida) is done at temps over 95. The temperatures you describe are nice and pleasant by our standards. And the humidity in Cuba won't be that bad in May. It tends to be a little less humid in the afternoon, but the Caribbean sun in very bright so be certain to use sunscreen.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    For about a week coming up the Rhine we were cycling in temps well into the 30s, and there were a couple days there where my on-bike thermometer was showing temps in the 40s.

    We deal with it.

    One way we dealt with it was to ride shorter days and to take breaks about every 15 km in the shade. Drink lots, consume lots of electrolytes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
    For at least 6 months out of the year, most of my riding (North Florida) is done at temps over 95. The temperatures you describe are nice and pleasant by our standards. And the humidity in Cuba won't be that bad in May. It tends to be a little less humid in the afternoon, but the Caribbean sun in very bright so be certain to use sunscreen.
    Thanks, this has helped to convince me this is a viable option. A big concern for me has been humidity...Alberta gets hot enough in summer, and I do routinely ride in 30 weather, but it's semi-arid, so humidity is something of a foreign concept. I'm mostly familiar with humidity in the West Coast and British sense, where it's accompanied with consistently temperate weather.

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I hate hot weather but find it is possible to acclimate. I have ridden in weather with highs consistently well over 100F. The highest was probably 110F. That was dry weather though. I have also ridden in a humid 100F on tour. All of that was pretty miserable, but it was do able. It probably would be more pleasant if I wasn't a cold weather person.

    Bottom line... You can survive it, but no one but you can say if you will enjoy it.

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    You definitely sweat more and most people find the modern, wicking fabrics are nice to use. Although honestly I don't mind a soaking wet cotton tee shirt. After a stop, it makes it feel cool when you start up again.

    Sounds like a great adventure. I'd love to do it, but of course we in the US are not allowed to visit Cuba. From what I understand, the volume of traffic on Cuban roads is less than on other Caribbean islands, which would make it far better than other island alternatives. It's not the heat that keeps me from riding when I visit Jamaica, it's the crazy drivers.

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    Go for it!!
    I ride where its 100's right now (still) and its not as hot when you have breathable clothing on. Will you be using panniers?
    good ventilation, sunscreen, and keeping hydrated should keep you going good.
    For some reason to me, its never as hot when you're riding, compared to when you are just standing there.

    I cannot speak for the humidity...its pretty dry where I ride. I dont know how bad it is in Cuba.
    If its like Florida humid then sheesh...

  12. #12
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    This part of Mexico sees the same kind of temperatures in the summer as in Cuba... low to mid 30 C and humid. It is definitely doable. You simply need to ride between 6 AM and noon. Besides some of the gear mentioned above, sweat headbands (cycling-specific) are also a good idea. Relax for 2-3 hours mid-day. If you need to continue, get on the bikes again later in the afternoon till just before sunset. Be reminded that in tropical places, you almost always get rained in the afternoon/early evening. Another reason to get the riding out of the way in the morning.

  13. #13
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    I grew up in Puerto Rico. I now live in Montana & Wyoming.
    As a kid we used take the 10c bus to Old San Juan and beg money from the turistas.
    Our favorite marks were hot, sweaty gringos - the sweatier, the better.
    Then we'd spend all the money on candy.

    It's a different 90 degrees. It can rain - pour - instantaneously.
    And it has the weight of a couple of wet blankets - esp. for the uninitiated.
    I'm sure you can do it - but the issue is how much you enjoy the experience.

  14. #14
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    It's the Dew Point temperature first and foremost... Anything above 70 degrees Dew Point means a potential uncomfortable ride.

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    Senior Member Aushiker's Avatar
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    I have just completed 3,000 km riding here in Western Australia and the temperatures on the bike got to over 40 C some days when in the outback (read dirt sandy corrugated roads) but it is dry weather conditions here, not humid. It was okay but made worse for me as I had to watch how much water I drank. I was only carrying around 38 litres at times in this area.



    Andrew

  16. #16
    Insane cycling cook DwarvenChef's Avatar
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    Did 58 miles in 118F and that was to frigging hot Carried 5 liters and still dehydrated like a big dog... Know your tolorence for the heat and H2O needs, I'm a fish... I need LOTS of water, I didn't have enough and crashed hard after the ride...
    Slow is smooth, smooth is fast...

  17. #17
    Senior Member simplygib's Avatar
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    I lived in a place where 100+ summer days were commonplace (low humidity) so have little trouble up to 104 or so. But humidity is a game changer. Riding along the Riviera Maya (between Cancun and the Belize border) taught me my limits. Temps were only around 90, but dew point was 79. It felt like 110 degrees. I never sweated so much in my life. Puddles formed under me every time I stopped the bike. Soaked gloves. Saturated riding shorts, so much so that a steady drip off my shorts landed on the back of my calves with every pedal stroke. Couldn't drink enough to stay hydrated, ended up with dehydration sickness. This photo was from one of those days. It was one of the few shady spots we'd seen for miles. We had another 40km to go for the day and I was doubting being able to make it. My riding partner handled the heat and humidity much better than I did, but she was 20 years younger too. Mercifully, the weather got milder a few days after this for the duration of the trip to Panama.

    Beat.jpg
    Last edited by simplygib; 09-22-12 at 03:36 PM.

  18. #18
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    Hot and humid can really take it's toll on you if you are not accustomed to it. Shoot. I live with it every summer and it sitll kills me. You sweat and nothing evaporates. Evaporation is what helps cool your skin. I suffered through weeks of 90+ with high humidity crossing the country. Hated it. A couple of days in IN we started out in the dark to get in as many miles as possible before the sun burnt off the fog and the real hell started.

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