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Hot weather biking tips

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Hot weather biking tips

Old 06-21-21, 08:15 AM
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Hot weather biking tips

I'm sure this is a regular topic here but I haven't seen a thread recently so here goes..

I have done lots of suffering in hot weather and as I got older I found I would just bail instead of going out. But I'm trying to counter that with more planning. Here is my current list of things I am trying.
  • Biking early, and if that is not possible, biking at night. I'm not an early bird but I am working on getting up early for biking. Today I made it out the door at 8:30AM which is still a lot cooler than a couple hours later. But if I had gotten going at 6AM it would have been 5-10 degrees cooler still.
  • Using an insulated water bottle with ice. I just started doing this, it is surprising how nice it feels to take a drink of ice water!
  • Bring an extra bottle of ice water to squirt on yourself, in particular on the head. Thought about doing this but have not tried yet.
  • Pick routes with more shade and more valleys. Shade is at least 10F cooler than the sun, often more.
  • Super lightweight biking gear. I just got a jersey and shorts designed for very hot weather, it is almost see-through. I'm not sure this is really worth it though, it doesn't seem to make a large difference. Or maybe it is just hard to tell. Do be aware that thin jerseys on sunny rides may need sunscreen under them.
  • Easing up on heavy intervals in the sunny parts, saving them for more shady or cooler portions of the ride.
So far I have mostly managed to keep riding, but the hottest days are not here yet. Let's hear some tips!

EDIT: new tips I missed and ones from the comments below:
  • I left off one of the most important ones for me, staying hydrated! I really screwed up on this a few times, the body loses an immense amount of water in the heat. Now I can tell if I am dehydrating by looking at my heart rate, it is a notch higher than it should be when I am dehydrated. Of course the goal is to never get to that point.
  • Stay off of roads with lots of stop lights in the sun. You fry just sitting there with no convective cooling.
  • Long, steep uphills all in the sun are also not good for a similar reason.
  • Plan rest stops where you know there will be shade.
  • Water and/or ice around your neck: ice in a bandana, cold cloth around your neck, etc.
  • Wear your ice water so the ice will be cooling you: either put smaller bladders with frozen water in your back pockets, or freeze a Camelbak bladder.
  • Re-stock up on ice (and fluids) at convenience stores.. use the ice advantage for the whole ride, not just the first part.
  • Wear a well-ventilated helmet.
  • Use a heart-rate monitor, it will let you see if your heart is higher than normal given your power output. Too-high means you are over-heating, you are dehydrated, or both. Having a power meter makes this more accurate, when you are over-heating your mind is also over-heating and objective power perception isn't likely to happen.
  • Make sure there is electrolyte in your bottles, you will be sweating more and needing the replenishment more. I always put in electrolytes hot or cold.

Last edited by scottfsmith; 06-26-21 at 10:12 AM.
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Old 06-21-21, 08:18 AM
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yes! shade! last summer I chose the forest instead of the roads
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Old 06-21-21, 09:26 AM
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The hotter it gets the more I tend to ride routes where I don't get slowed down much. As long as I'm sweating and going fast, I'm being cooled more than adequately. If I have a lot of climbs that keep me slowed down to less than 10 mph and/or my average speed for the whole ride is less than 15 to 16 mph, then I start to feel the heat.

I do plan when ever I can to stop in shade. I drink enough fluids so that I don't lose too much weight from sweat. I seldom weigh less than a pound, maybe two at the most, from what I started my ride at no matter how hot a temp or how long I ride.

If I stop for longer than 2 or 3 minutes, then helmet is coming off to help with my cooling.
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Old 06-21-21, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The hotter it gets the more I tend to ride routes where I don't get slowed down much. As long as I'm sweating and going fast, I'm being cooled more than adequately. If I have a lot of climbs that keep me slowed down to less than 10 mph and/or my average speed for the whole ride is less than 15 to 16 mph, then I start to feel the heat.

I do plan when ever I can to stop in shade. I drink enough fluids so that I don't lose too much weight from sweat. I seldom weigh less than a pound, maybe two at the most, from what I started my ride at no matter how hot a temp or how long I ride.

If I stop for longer than 2 or 3 minutes, then helmet is coming off to help with my cooling.
Hot rides with lots of traffic lights suck. Standing at the light the heat builds up, I feel much better when moving. Long climbing rides are a lot harder in the heat, partly because it's hard to find water sources in the mountains.
I typically lose 5-6 pounds in a 60-70 mile ride in heat. I lost 11 pounds on a hot mountain ride and felt pretty bad. I need more water than a lot of other riders.
Saturday it wasn't super hot here, low 90s. I drank 2 full bottles in the last 25 miles (with some hills) and I would have liked to have another.
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Old 06-21-21, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Hot rides with lots of traffic lights suck. Standing at the light the heat builds up, I feel much better when moving.
Yep. The cooling effect from sweating plummets when there is no forced air convection.

Even riding at a slow 7 mph is enough to get a decent cooling effect.
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Old 06-21-21, 02:11 PM
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When it gets really hot I like to roll up ice in a bandana and tie it around my neck.
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Old 06-21-21, 03:15 PM
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A couple times when it's been really hot and I had to climb - which as mentioned above forces you to slow down and reduces convection cooling - I've taken a bottle and squirted water on my head, neck, and back. This is especially helpful when it's later in the ride, in the hotter part of the day, and I might be sweating less.

Make sure the bottle you use is just water, though! This is a good reason to refill your bottles after you've drunk them if you have the opportunity, even if you don't think you'll drink all of them.
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Old 06-21-21, 03:54 PM
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Thats a good tip on avoiding stop lights in the sun. I have some recent vivid memories of feeling like I was sitting in an oven when waiting at a few lights. Big intersections tend to be hotter as it is with four directions of pavement and cars spewing hot exhaust, then add on to that no breeze.
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Old 06-21-21, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith View Post
  • Super lightweight biking gear.
Careful with this one -- the more lightweight the material, the less sun protection it tends to provide. I once got a nasty sunburn on my back from wearing a jersey made of very lightweight fabric.

One of my tips -- consider wearing wool socks. Yes, wool. You may be amazed at how well a sock made primarily from good quality wool breathes in the heat. I like the Darn Tough brand, but there are several others.
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Old 06-21-21, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by road292 View Post
Careful with this one -- the more lightweight the material, the less sun protection it tends to provide. I once got a nasty sunburn on my back from wearing a jersey made of very lightweight fabric.
The jersey I have is rated SPF 15. So far it has been fine as I have had enough shade on the rides. If I get frequent shade breaks the sun doesn't affect me nearly as much. I expect some day I will probably overdo it though and do the lobster thing.

Re: wool socks, I have some DeFeet light wool socks which I like in mild weather. But I have to say I just can't put wool on on a hot day, given how toasty my wool long underwear keeps me in winter it seems like it would be doing that to my feet. During colder weather I love it, I wear Darn Tough pretty much all winter long both on and off the bike. I use DeFeet Aerator socks in the summer.
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Old 06-21-21, 05:04 PM
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Fat people feel heat more than thin people, as fat reduces the ability of the body to cool itself. So fat people can handle the heat better after losing weight.
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Old 06-21-21, 05:21 PM
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In Australia, I may take 2 large bottles of fruit juice, often diluted with 50% water, cold from the refrigerator. I put them on my carrier rack, and cover them with cardboard, so the sun does not heat them up quickly.

In S E Asia, there are many shops along roads (except when you go right out in farming areas). I look for shops with a cool place to sit, such as under a tree. I sometimes buy a frozen bottle of water and a cold drink. I pour a little of the drink into the bottle of ice. In the beginning, you can only add a little, but after a while, ice melts, and you can add drink, wait for it to cool, then drink. I sometimes buy a drink in a cup of ice. I drink the drink, and eat the ice.

I have mentioned elsewhere. When it is really hot, I sometimes wait for clouds before moving to the next cool place. This only works when you have large clouds.
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Old 06-21-21, 05:33 PM
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Start the ride (early morning) w/tyour water bottle(s) at least half ice. Stop @ convenience stores where you can get cup of ice. Wear a head band thing to prevent sweat from dripping into your eyes. Consider sun sleeves (white or light color). Be glad, knowing that wintertime is worse.
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Old 06-21-21, 06:20 PM
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When my family was young, I would go ride after everyone went to bed. Most days, that was 9 pm or after. Some days, as long as there was no lightning along with it, I would go out when I knew it was going to rain. On those days when I knew I would be out in the sun, I would put my bottles in the freezer filled about a 1/3rd of the way in bottle 1, and 3/4 in bottle 2, ensuring it would stay cold.
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Old 06-21-21, 06:59 PM
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Plan a cooling break under a tree canopy with cool water accessible.
Do not be bashful about dunking a couple of bottles of water on your head/neck.

I use a neck gaiter and wet it down a few times during a hot ride.

Once I was overheating and stood under a shower meant for surfers/swimmers at Seal Beach, CA. Instant relief!
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Old 06-21-21, 07:01 PM
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Bring an extra bottle of ice water to squirt on myself. Thought about doing this but have not tried yet.
It might surprise you just how effective even ambient temperature water is at cooling you, when dumped down your back. Ice water might be more effective if you drink it, so the cold is on the inside.

Also, have a couple bottles of something cold in the fridge for when you get home. Or, if you drove there, a cooler with a bottle or two on ice. For me, it's a near certainty that I won't have been able to drink enough on the ride to keep up with what I sweat off.
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Old 06-21-21, 08:53 PM
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Early and often...

953
sxus75 kvef 180029
rervef

record event report
national weather service las vegas, nv
529 pm pdt thu jun 17 2021

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The above information is preliminary and subject to a final review.
For final certified data, please contact noaa`s national centers for
environmental information (ncei) located in asheville, north
carolina.
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Old 06-22-21, 05:35 AM
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Pay attention to your feet. They're a lot closer to the hot pavement than the rest of you, so be ready to loosen your shoes if they start to feel tight, and be ready to stop and put your feet up if it gets really bad. There are a few things that can really make you suffer on a bike ride, and sore feet is right up there near the top of my list.
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Old 06-22-21, 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith View Post
  • Biking early, and if that is not possible, biking at night. I'm not an early bird but I am working on getting up early for biking. Today I made it out the door at 8:30AM which is still a lot cooler than a couple hours later. But if I had gotten going at 6AM it would have been 5-10 degrees cooler still.
Set your alarm.... At least where I am, in June it is light enough to ride at 5AM. I've never done it myself, but I almost always see someone riding that early. Maybe on the weekend....
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Old 06-22-21, 07:38 AM
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after seeing a pro squirt water thru his helmet vent holes, I tried it & it really works. like when it is super hot & you're on the verge of heat exhaustion

on another cpl rides, an old commute, there were long stretches exposed to the sun. it was 17 miles ea way & on super hot days exposed to the direct sun, there was a shady grassy spot I remember stopping in, to lay down. not quite a "nap" but the act of reclining in shade seemed to help quite a bit

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Old 06-22-21, 07:55 AM
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Dump water on your head from your water bottle, but make sure you have a special color bottle that you always use only for water!

Also, shave your legs. Seriously. This feelsabout 5 degrees cooler than cycling ‘natural’.
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Old 06-22-21, 08:08 AM
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Looking forward to summertime riding in South Florida. Pretty sticky, but fewer people and less traffic on A1A.

I follow all the above cooling strategies....frozen Polar water bottles...trying to time bridge openings to avoid slow roasting while waiting... knowing the shaded spots along the route...embracing rain riding...highly vented helmets...mesh shoes. I know this breaks the "rules", but I ride in loose fitting, sleeveless jerseys with sunscreen.

Still can't get on the road before 10:30a, so its embrace the suck of mid day riding for me.
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Old 06-22-21, 08:24 AM
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just saw this tragic heat related story (re: hiking a Grand Canyon)
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Old 06-22-21, 02:35 PM
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Thanks for all the great comments, I have been adding them to the top part as a summary. I am going to use some of them myself, in particular stopping at a convenience store to get more ice and fluids. I usually don't stop since I want to keep pushing things but in the heat the logic is different. Convenience stores also really like to crank their A/C
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Old 06-25-21, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by scottfsmith View Post
I am going to use some of them myself, in particular stopping at a convenience store to get more ice and fluids. I usually don't stop since I want to keep pushing things but in the heat the logic is different. Convenience stores also really like to crank their A/C
I used to stop at convenience stores almost every ride pre-pandemic, regardless of temperature, just to reward myself with an ice cold drink, back in the good old days when I only needed one bottle cage and one bottle.
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