Okay, the UK temperatures are somewhat under-whelming right now, but at the other end of the scale, European temperatures are at a record-breaking high.
While we wouldn’t advise you to jump on your bike in temperatures over 40 degrees, it’s likely that some of you will be enjoying cycling abroad this summer once the temperatures regulate to a respectable level.
As such, we’ve put some together some tips for staying cool while out riding this summer:
1. Choose your ride time wisely
We’re all aware of the phrase ‘Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun’, but we wouldn’t advise it! If you’re an early riser it would be beneficial to get out there as soon as the sun rises. Not only will it be cooler at this time, but it’s also likely to be quieter on the roads or coastal paths. Plus, you can feel smug that you have started out the day right and perhaps enjoy those lunchtime and evening refreshments just that little bit more!
If you’d rather not set the alarm clock while on holiday, an evening ride as the sun sets is just as pleasurable and is likely to afford you some stunning photo opportunities along the way.
2. Stay hydrated
Taking part in any vigorous exercise in the sun will make you sweat a lot and cycling is no exception.
It’s likely that you may be enjoying a few more tipples than usual while on your break, so you may already be feeling slightly dehydrated.
Make sure you take on plenty of fluids before, during and after your ride whether this is water, diluted squash, a fruit juice, or an isotonic drink. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to have a drink; take 2 to 3 gulps every 10 to 15 minutes right from the start if you can.
If your muscles start to cramp, or you begin to feel queasy or dizzy it’s likely that you are already showing the early signs of dehydration, so be always mindful.
3. Fuel up
If you’re planning a long ride, make sure you have plenty of snacks to refuel, you will likely be burning a lot of calories in the heat!
Choose food which won’t melt or go sticky in the heat, so that’s a no to chocolate and flapjack and a yes to fruit, glucose tablets or dry biscuits.
It’s also a good excuse to indulge in extra treats from the all-inclusive breakfast bar pre-ride!
4. Use sunscreen
Yep, we’ve all done it; jumped on the bike and headed out a few miles before feeling the sun’s rays taking effect on our exposed skin as we forgot to apply sun cream.
Always make it a priority to apply a sweat and water-resistant sunblock with a high SPF factor before you get on your bike and don’t forget your neck, ears, and hands!
Make sure you take the sunscreen with you and reapply every few hours.
5. Protect your eyes
Riding a bike when you can’t see properly is never advisable, plus, like your skin, your eyes need to be protected from the glare of the sun.
It’s advisable to invest in a good quality pair of sunglasses with 100% UV filtering lenses. You may remember that last year we did a competition with Panda Optics who offer a range of sports sunglasses and we can highly recommend their products.
Wearing sunglasses will also prevent dust and insects from getting in your eyes.
6. Wear insect repellent
As well as the issue of insects getting in your eyes, there is also the potential for them to land on your skin and make their mark!
Insects such as midges and mosquitoes love the warm weather and they love to feast on human blood.
Not only does this leave unsightly and itchy marks on your body, swatting away bugs while trying to concentrate on the road is dangerous and could lead to an accident.
By investing in and applying a good-quality insect repellent on any uncovered skin you are reducing your chances of being bitten by these pesky insects and saving yourself from days of itching!
7. Dress appropriately
Check the temperature for the time you’re going to ride and dress appropriately.
If it’s looking like a hot day, wear lightweight clothes that will keep you cool and comfortable in the heat.
If you don’t have technical gear with sweat wicking properties and UV protection, wear loose-fitting clothing instead. Hands and feet are likely to sweat the most, so you may wish to wear fingerless cycling gloves to prevent sweaty palms from slipping on the handlebars and thin socks and vented shoes to help keep your feet cool.
8. Plan ahead
We’d always advise that you plan ahead for rides in hot countries. The hottest day of your trip may not be the best day to plan your longest ride!
Make sure you have researched the route planned. Is it flat, or hilly? On a busy road or windy coastal path? Will there be a place to fill up water bottles or take a rest break?
The more prepared you are for your ride, the more you will enjoy the wind in your hair and the sun on your back!
If you have planned a cycling trip this summer and need a cycle rack to transport your bike, we have numerous solutions to meet all needs. Why not have a look?
Enjoy your summer cycling!